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Thread: Laser projector combined with video projector image??

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    Default Laser projector combined with video projector image??

    Greetings Photonlexicon– hoping this is the right place to pose such a dumb question... can anyone offer some advice/experience/links/threads to the notion of combining a laser projector (RGB, ILDA controlled) image with a video projector (3000+ lumens, vga/hdmi)??

    Slowly searching eBay for the right RGB laser projector offering, plan to get an EtherDream DAC and control it via own programming (w/ help of great libraries). Furthermore, I'm really interested to see what's possible when combining a video projected image with laser highlights 1:1 over it.. ie, solid shapes are rendered on the video projector and strokes/edges/highlights are done via laser for contrast/pop effect.

    I've tried googling such random phrases as 'laser projector combined with video projector image' and a handful of other keywords, but constantly run into one camp of tech or the other.. not to mention the growing line of home projectors with laser tech. Is there an obvious word I'm missing for what this might be called or how to really isolate the two techs, yet together? Any tips you've got would be most welcome, thanks!

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    I've never heard of a term for what you are describing nor have I seen it done although it is something that I have thought about from time to time. I'd like to see how it works out for you. Seems like alignment would be a pain in the butt for something that isn't used very much, though.

    Regarding the Etherdream DAC, I had a really bad experience trying to integrate it with my own software. I'll leave it at that but feel free to contact me if you want details.

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    Hi , I did something similar very many years ago in a Cathedral in Spain, but with a video wall (not a projector).
    The whole thing was setup using SMPT code so it could run "automatically" about 8 times a day and consisted in projecting laser "frames" the entire length of the Cathedral around some fabulous old oil painted panels, at the other (dark) end, whilst the video wall showed the incredible detail of the panels in close-up. This enabled viewers to see at a glance which panel at the opposite end was being shown in the close up on the video wall.
    The laser projection head (fed via fibre) and diluted haze output, was hidden behind a hologram of an old film projector attached to a stone column, in such a way that the output to the video wall seemed to come from the non existent antique film projector embedded in the stone column near the video wall. Alignment at this end, was NOT a big problem at all, and since the split Argon laser beam was pretty powerful it was readily visible both in the air (hazed) and on the video wall despite the monitor glare from the video wall.
    I think the project is well worth looking into, especially since one can also achieve a 3D "action and result" scenario impossible to arrange with just video or just laser.

    Like John, I have thought about following this up from time to time, but the "TIME" bit always seem to drift away into the middle distance .... and I already have about 300years of projects to get on with and somewhere down the line I got OLD.

    Please post pics of results if you decide to go ahead with this.
    Cheers
    Last edited by catalanjo; 02-02-2016 at 03:45. Reason: commas etc.

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    I've done this thrice. Once for a Pink Floyd tribute show, and once over a theatrical B&W movie. In the first case we used manual sync, the 321-Click method, which can work very well with practice. In the second case I used SMPTE time code recorded on a audio track. Its not widely used, but there are many features in the Pangolin commercial software for doing this, and Pangolin sells a SMPTE reader module in hardware.


    Do I have any guidelines for Laser total power vs Lumens, no.. But I will tell you to get a very small beam diameter in whatever you buy if your "rotoscoping" over film/video. Rotoscoping is the trade name for tracing a animation by hand into laser graphics, by placing a cartoon cell or video frame in the background of your laser editor and tracing the outline by hand. Most commercial laser show software has autrotrace of some form, but the best work is still done by hand.

    Dr.Lava the creator of LSX has his own module you can buy as well, that autotraces video.

    Steve
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    When I still could have...

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    Quote Originally Posted by mixedgas View Post
    .........But I will tell you to get a very small beam diameter .......Steve
    Totally agree ....I was using 10W of Argon split into two (one beam for each projector)!
    Also if using SMPT make sure any connected gear runs quickly through from zero time to ensure that it is in the correct state (house lighting, hazers etc,) when starting to edit a specific section or event.
    Cheers

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    Thanks for the quick responses thus far! All projects listed above sound awesome and unfortunately far beyond the scope of what my meager idea is.. any chance you have documentation of the projects to share for an idea of this overlay? Particularly interested in seeing the effect of laser over b/w movie.

    Great tips so far, especially the notion of getting a small diameter beam (I'm only used to video projector = that limited XGA, WXGA...)– but I slowly realize that a laser projector can get WIDE. My plan is once mounted, I would set the 4 pinpoints of that windowsize and map/scale all incoming values of the laser to the same range as the video projector. In this case, SMTP and other syncing modules shouldn't be necessary, since both contents will be generated on the fly = just passing the parts to one machine vs the other live. Happy to hear about issues with EtherDream and programming.. so I'll write you (JohnYayas) directly.

    Just did a check within the various institutes of our art/design academy and sadly no one's had disco parties in the past = no lasers on hand to try before buying. You will all surely scold me for even contemplating the 300-700Euro range of eBay offerings.. but again this is for a very amateur experiment with students as I try to excite them in the wild realm of creative coding (naturally lasers = sexy!). Of course safety is a key issue.. so lower mW = better.. but enough to make it glow on the screen.

    Here's a quick sketch of what I have in mind..


    Happy for all further tips and especially documentation people can share from previous projects.. especially curious to see just what it even looks like when combined.

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    I suspect Beyond would best fit your needs here, but is also beyond your budget, unless you could hire / borrow a controller / software.

    The reason I say that is you can drop video as well as laser cues onto the time line making syncing easier, enabling you to create a combined video / laser show, and leaving only geometric correction to do by hand on the day. I'm not sure if LSX can run video & laser simultaneousness from the same timeline. Apologies if it can, I'm not very familiar with LSX, however I've never heard the feature mentioned.

    For the cue itself, I think I'd tend towards a video trace as suggested several posts above of the spinning cube simply because to try to recreate the exact speed and movement of the cube on simultaneous axis, is going to very difficult if you try to create a cue from scratch. If you could get a trace using a video to laser cue tracer, then you'd have an exact replica cue of the video cue. If it won't trace, you could produce a duplicate video output from your 3D rendering program and adjust the colour or boundary lines into something with greater contrast so it will trace. My instinct says a wire frame as in the 2nd of your demo clips, is going to trace the best as there's no danger of the tracer picking up any of the solid surfaces found in the solid shape. The only thing I would do is turn on masking if available as otherwise you're tracing the back (rear side) lines of the cube into the laser cue, when in reality, you can't see them through the walls of the solid shape.
    Last edited by White-Light; 02-03-2016 at 00:31. Reason: added extra detail

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    When I looked the spinning cube the first thought that came to mind was to use something like Unity3d game engine to create the video portion and use the built in scripting within the game engine to control the laser projector. I considered that awhile back but forgot all about it.

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    Thanks for latest tips and ideas. Just to clarify, it's already set that I'll be programming the outputs (no laser control software involved)– since the main goal is showing students how to program generative designs within Processing. Very true that in this example, there should be masking involved for hiding the lines behind the shape.. this was just a quick random demo to show separate contents- no telling what students will come up with and how well it works. Unity idea sounds great, but sadly I'm not (yet) into that territory...

    Still hoping to find some images/video of such an experiment in action to imagine what the effect would be like.

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    this software does what you are trying to do sorta i have never used it but the video demo should give you some ideas

    http://www.vlp-3d.de/index.html

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