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Thread: The history of Laser show controllers and software, post your contributions here.

  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Photonbeam View Post
    You are right - It was the Laser Media "Imagen" running ZAP. What was the Laser Images graphics system called?
    Coreographics...
    "There are painters who transform the sun into a yellow spot, but there are others who, with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun." Pablo Picasso

  2. #42
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    Yes!............

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by CountFunkula View Post
    ...page out of a ZAP manual.

    PRESS W FOR SNEAKY ELF!

    Attachment 40812
    Thank you guys for posting about Zap! I remember seeing that name [I think Zap Animation] on the top of a computer screen at my very first laser show in the early '90s; I'll never forget it. West Lafayette, Indiana - A Pink Floyd laser show. Being the curious type had to check out the equipment and I still recall seeing zap. Also at the very beginning of the show they projected "Are you ready for a laser show?" front and center, then the beams began.... That writeup link you shared about the equipment being Z80 processor based with the card cages and everything on EPROM was an excellent read.

    Looking back remembering the show it was really cool to read about the man and equipment used!

    Was the scrolling text "Are you ready for a laser show?" one of the canned cues in this equipment ?

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    Credit goes to Photonbeam for these!
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ID:	41131 BBS PL!

    -Adam
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  5. #45
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    Re Zap:

    Was the scrolling text "Are you ready for a laser show?" one of the canned cues in this equipment ?[/QUOTE]

    That would be a subprogram called "Wordfire", and the text was typed in the dumb terminal running the system.


    Steve
    Qui habet Christos, habet Vitam!
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    When I still could have...

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by buffo View Post
    Can't believe the Alphalite hasn't been mentioned yet...

    And then there's LA Studio too...

    Adam
    YES! I LOVE LA Studio! I thought It was kind of cool how oscillator banks in Abstraction (the LA Studio abstract generator) were called "rollups". Is there any historical [laser, not fruit-related] significance to the term "rollup?"

    ...gonna have to fire up the machine with the QM2K in it so I can rock out with the rollups!

  7. #47
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    Hi,
    Just seen your post about Magnum & Maestro Laser Controllers.

    I used to work for the company who made them - Laser Systems of Llantarnam Park Industrial Estate, Cwmbran in Gwent, Wales in the UK. This was 1987, but the firm had been running for years before.

    The Magnum was a podium type hardware controller, with a white case. It used those little clicky keyboard switches with built-in LEDs that are so retro they are cool again!

    The company 'Laser Systems' was run by a Geoff Jones (Sales) & a Tony Gibb. Field Service was a Gerry Stevens.

    Not sure what happened to them. I think they became 'The Laser Studio' but am not sure as I had returned to defence electronics by then.

    Their controllers were proper computer hardware based - Z80 CPU running at a lofty 4MHz. All the software was written in-house in Z80 assembler.

    I have some of the circuit diagrams somewhere.

    I think I will contribute a post in this thread, as Laser Systems were one of the big 3 (in fact the only 3) laser display firms in the UK back in the 80s!

    Thanks,

    Simon B.

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    Quote Originally Posted by laserist View Post
    Coreographics...
    *ahem*.. Choreo... But I think the first was 'SAGE', no? Don't remember if there was any 'UI', really, tho.. Those 'diode-bridge' boards, or something like that? Long before my time..

    ..but, ya.. 'ZAP', omg.. that was hardcore.. very-aptly named 'program'...

    j
    ....and armed only with his trusty 21 Zorgawatt KTiOPO4...

  9. #49
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    Do you still have the IMSAI 8080?
    Quote Originally Posted by Photonbeam View Post
    My first laser graphics computer system (1977) was an IMSAI 8080, S100 bus, Cromemco 7ch DA card, 16K ram, programmed through the front panel switches using XY coordinates on graph paper with storage on cassette tape. Wrote my own software in machine language. Later added ADM3A dumb terminal, Micropolis floppies and Summa tablet. Next was Apple IIe (1979) with homemade wirewrapped dac card, Apple tablet. We used this for a long time, even on tours. I showed it to Woz when we did Michael Jackson at Dodger Stadium (1984). During this time LaserMedia was using ZAP. Then I think early '90's, I had to decide between LaserMax from Bob Ash or Patrick Murphy's new LSD on Amiga. LSD didn't support blanking so went with LaserMax on IBM PC XT, then 286, 386. Next up was X29 and FullAuto from Bob Ash / New Method Lasers. Then I traded my graphics library, mostly generated with LaserMax (then sold by Laser Productions Network) to Pangolin for Pro and Intro QM32. I think that library is still included with Pangolin. Eventually upgraded to LD2000. I still have a LD2000 Pro and X29-2 / FullAuto. I'm done.
    This space for rent.

  10. #50
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    As usual I found something I was not looking for but it stimulated my interest!! I was the Production Manager then Chief Engineer for Laserpoint from 1986 to 1991 and was responsible for the Aquarius Laser controller. Jean Michel den Hartog was on contract to the company during that period and was a very capable hardware and software engineer working in our small development team of JM, me and Lee Hearnden. Overall concept was mine as I wanted to use standard industrial bus system so we could use off the shelf parts. The first laser controller the company produced was the Scorpion followed by the Aries. The Aries used a BBC micro platform implemented as a Cube Universal industrial bus and multiplying DAC boards so the the methodology was the same. Front end of the Aquarius was an STE bus XT computer with the processing for the display being done by 64180 custom built processor boards - up to eight were possible with the STE bus backplane. Processing shortcomings of the XT meant we had to design another custom board, again 64180, to handle keyboard and digitiser input. GM120 scanners were driven by an OEM drive card fed from the analogue output of the 64180 image processing boards. XT front end allowed software to be developed on a standard platform. 64180 (extended address bus Z80!!) was cross assembled from C+ then I brought in an assembly language programmer to speed it up. The same multiplying DAC principle was used however the increased processing power allowed some virtual DAC's to be introduced giving a greater depth of modulation. I have kept in touch with JM and he has his own company in Affolten, Switzerland, designing high end LED lighting effects systems. It was a fun job with tremendous pressure and fond memories. Also see Ram Malocca, our former road crew manager, at Creative Media Techniques Ltd.

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