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Thread: Ask PL: At what point did you realize that you wanted to get involved with laasers?

  1. #1
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    Default Ask PL: At what point did you realize that you wanted to get involved with laasers?

    I'm just curious of everyones story
    Freelance Laser Operator in L.A.
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  2. #2
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    8th grade as a result of the helium neon laser in "The Scientific American, Amateur Scientist."

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    After seeing them described and for sale in 1969, in the Edmund Scientific catalog #701. I was in the 7th grade, just turning on to science (mostly chemistry). Fascinated when I saw them being played with by physics students while in high school, but never got around to it myself then. Went to planetarium shows in the late '70s, but other things were important to me then. Saw holograms in '79 and was hooked! Working with lasers all the time since. Still have that catalog. Finally bought the laser a few years ago.
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  4. #4
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    Was a DJ and own a promotional company that threw parties.

    I liked lasers so I hired local laserists for my "raves".

    Then my house got robbed and they stole half of my equipment (ALOT of $$$ down the shitter)

    Got like 1/4 of the money back from insurance claim...

    Bought lasers instead of the old gear again.. and here I am haha
    "This is not "work". It's a disease, addiction and passion. Only slightly cheaper than cocaine, but similar effects."
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    Ouch! Im sorry to hear that man!
    Freelance Laser Operator in L.A.
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  6. #6
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    This topic might be floating around in here somewhere already but, nothing wrong with starting a new one.

    The story doesn't start with lasers... When I was a kid - say about 11-13 years old, (so this would be around 1975-78), I started getting interested in blacklights, strobe lights and the other party lights they sold at Spencers Gifts. The room walls were adorned with not just Farrah Fawcett and Cheryl Teages but some flourescent posters as well. I had an 18" tube model that was mounted above my bed and lit up the poster below it. My grandmother, God bless her, around that time gave me the Cadillac of lava lamps. I got those little plasma type bubs and flickering filiment bulbs that screwed into a lamp made from a 7-Up can. My dad who worked for Dupont, had access to a big spool of Crofon - basically fiber optic strands so, I made lights with them.

    When my parents would have company, usually after dinner, they would be invited up to my bedroom to see my little "light show" playing to a cranked up version of some music from Star Wars by Meco or one of those companies that re-did music and sold the records on UHF television during Adam-12 commercials. I had a couple of snakes as well so, if they were lucky, following the show, they got to watch one eat a mouse as well. Hey... I was a wierd kid.

    That was all somewhat short lived because, interestingly enough, after discovering pot, (and girls) I lost interest in the lights - go figure!

    I think I "might" have seen a laser in a planterium at some point. When I got a little older, once again at Spencers, they sold this "laser effect light" that really was just some sort of colored filiment reflecting off a mirror that was attached to some rubber band things. I bought one and was rather frustrated with it. Pretty lame actually and I might even still have it buried in a storage bin because, damnit... I paid $99 for the thing! I can't just throw it out.

    Fast forward 20 years and I know I saw Laserium in London. As well as lasers at a few Rush concerts.

    Fast forward nearly another 20 and I landed here managing the banquet and conference center. Very early on, I knew I wanted to host a concert event for a band I know and, knew I needed to hire someone for lights. I got a DJ friend of mine to set something up and, when I saw what he brought (truss, par cans with gels and a DMX controller) for what I paid him, I figured I might as well go ahead and buy some since chances are, I'd need to use them again. So, I got 8 par 56's cans, some stands from Guitar Center and a DMX controller and dimmer packs. It was during this snooping around on eBay that I discovered a little Chauvet spirograph 4.95mW laser that I won for $65. It arrived... I plugged it in and all the discontent with the Spencer laser thingy slipped away because THIS was the real thing! I had plenty of disposable cash and no bills so next was a $600 eBay purchase of a 220mW RGB Meierlight along with Moncha 2.1 from a guy in the midewest. Things very rapidly went downhill from there and since spring of 2010, I know I've blown 6 figures on this shit. That's with 5 zeros. Lights, lasers, sound, trussing, mixers, road cases, miles of cables, and bits of glass and circut boards that I know nothing about.

    I've learned an awful lot the past few years and I've met some very, very, incredible people. I sometimes feel awkward when people look up to me and what I've accomplished or, ask me for my opinions on things because I'm also educated enough to know just how little I really know about all this stuff. I go through laser burnout and laser excitement on a near daily basis. Sell it all! But, buy this first! LOL

    That's my story...

  7. #7
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    My goodness that was a great story to read keep on keeping on!
    Freelance Laser Operator in L.A.
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    I've been mucking around building, using sound and light gear since i started up a mobile roadshow / disco at the age of 12 with some school mates. We were all 12 when we did our first paid gig. By the time i had finished my degree it had grown to a small business doing a decent trade hiring out lighting and sound rigs. Eventually that got bought out by a bigger company, who i worked for for a number of years. During those years, when ever we needed lasers, we brought them in from specialists as it was still a bit of a black art with gas / ion systems etc.
    i sold my share in that company around 10 years ago and went out on my own again, and as soon as i thought it was financially viable to start getting into lasers to do a "proper" job i took the plunge, started reading up etc. That was only 18 months ago. I built my first two proper projectors around this time last year which were 3W RGB, and I've now got 3 x 7W RGB projectors on top of that now.
    Lasers are not a big part of my business, but being in vogue at the moment it comes as a handy sweetener that i can offer clients along with the audio / lighting / rigging side of things, and i have to say there is nothing quite like coherent light.

  9. #9
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    When I heard they can pop a balloon.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bradfo69 View Post
    When I was a kid - say about 11-13 years old, (so this would be around 1975-78), I started getting interested in blacklights, strobe lights and the other party lights they sold at Spencers Gifts. The room walls were adorned with not just Farrah Fawcett and Cheryl Teages but some flourescent posters as well. I had an 18" tube model that was mounted above my bed and lit up the poster below it.
    Almost exact story here, but it didnt happen till after I saw my first Pink Floyd laser light show in a planetarium when I was ~16 in '83.

    I'd wire colored LED's to the end of a 8 foot surf caster fishing poll, and it whip around in the dark to music. I had the wires run down the pole, then into a plastic pill bottle which I placed push buttons, and batteries. So I could use the pole in one hand while pushing buttons to change colors in the other. It made great giant 3D mid air oscillation type shapes. I had ~1,000 glow in the dark stars hanging from the ceiling from small pieces of thread, and I painted large galaxies on the wall with glow in the dark paint. When you turned the fan on the whole room would move, and we'd do our little fishing pole light show. I scared a few people because they didnt know how I was whipping a dot of light near them while standing 8 feet away, LOL. Trouble was at that time you could not buy a key chain laser yet, (at least I couldnt find one) so my interest faded.

    After that life got in the way (work, women, party) so I didnt come back to lasers till about 6 years ago when I discovered DX, and saw you could buy lasers fairly cheap. Found LPF and more colors, then PL to play with the big boys.
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