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Thread: I would like some opinions on my setup

  1. #1
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    Default I would like some opinions on my setup

    Greetings everyone. I probably should have posted this before I got so far into it, but here we are.

    For the nuts and bolts part, I am planning on an outdoor laser show for about 50 people at a time on a level fairly dark field. (Closest parking lot light is 250' away) It will use a Kvant ClubMAX 3400 into the back side of a 16' x 20' noseeum netting and terminate on a thick stand of trees behind the audience. The netting will be hung from a free standing frame system so that the bottom is 10' above the ground. There will be audio from speakers mounted on the frame.

    For the show development, I plan on using Quickshow (at least to start with). My daughter is an excellent artist and can sketch most anything I can think up. My son can do Blender animations if that is needed. The first show will be an Easter theme for our church and be a combination of animations to narration and effects to music.

    I have purchased most of the items (laser should be here in a couple of weeks), built most of the frame, and have gotten my accession number on the way to my variance.

    So now that I dove in headfirst, I would like to find out how deep the water is. My main question is what others with experience think of the laser/screen/layout? Anything I have overlooked or need to change?

    Thanks in advance,

    Tim

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    Since you said variance, that lets us know you're in the US. For outdoor shows, from my understanding, trees are not necessarily acceptable for termination. You did say thick though and, legality aside for a second, sometimes I personally think that there are instances where a thick grove of trees is actually safer than terminating on buildings, since there are often beams going into windows that may not always be as vacant as we're lead to believe. I'd love to say it's a grey area that "should" allow for some common sense but regrettably, the way the letter of the law reads is, trees are unacceptable. But... so is not coming to a full stop at a stop sign before turning right. Or a machine giving away more than 25 free games to a pinball player that keeps winning in the state of Arkansas. Or owning more than $600 worth of salamanders in the state of Illinois.

    But from the standpoint of putting on a show, using a Clubmax and Quickshow for a graphics/abstract show, rear screen projecting through scrim above people's heads and terminating on something that's safe behind them... you're spot on. :-)
    PM Sent...

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the response. On the tree issue - I have been waffling on that. I can terminate on the building, but in my mind that is actually less safe since I can't absolutely control the window coverings. My other option is a solid rear or front projection screen (Carlofet or something similar) which is the plan for testing at my house.

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    Default Scrim/ trees

    Ive done shows in the UK onto scrim. In this country, you have to have your laser projection zones at least 3m above the ground (or highest point a member of the audience can stand) so your 10 foot screen height would seem to be ok as long as you were projecting upwards onto it (i.e. the lowest point of your projection zone was at least level or above the output window height of the laser) and there was no crowed access between the laser and the scrim. Im not sue about quick show but in Beyond you can blank areas out so there is no laser projected where there are windows so maybe thats an option for the building. But this sounds like a graphical show so those blanked areas may be too noticeable.. Trees are risky, not just for the audience but also for aircraft if you are projecting upwards. Obviously you cant project into the audience at the wattage you mention.

  5. #5
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    Thumbs up Welcome new member!

    Hello Timmar; welcome to Photonlexicon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Timmar View Post
    I am planning on an outdoor laser show for about 50 people at a time on a level fairly dark field. (Closest parking lot light is 250' away) It will use a Kvant ClubMAX 3400 into the back side of a 16' x 20' noseeum netting and terminate on a thick stand of trees behind the audience.
    Sounds like you've got more than enough optical power to make this look good for the relatively small crowd of just 50 people. I think it will be fine. Where are you located?

    Regarding termination: if the stand of trees is *thick* (meaning you can't see anything through the gaps in the branches except more trees), then this is an acceptable termination point. Another good test is to lay on the ground and look up at roughly a 30 degree angle through the treeline to see if you can see any patches of sky. If not, then you should be OK.

    Note that in the USA, if you have a properly terminated outdoor show you are no longer required to file for an FAA letter of non-objection. Just make sure you aren't doing this within the laser free zone of an airport. (Technically you *can* perform a fully-terminated show even if you are within 2 nautical miles of an airport, but it's going to attract unwanted attention that you probably aren't prepared to deal with right now.)

    Side note for experienced LSOs: For anyone who might need to perform a terminated outdoor show within the laser free zone, I suggest reaching out to your local airport well in advance! Be prepared to educate them thoroughly, and also be prepared for them to ask you to file with the FAA even though it's not required.

    The netting will be hung from a free standing frame system so that the bottom is 10' above the ground. There will be audio from speakers mounted on the frame.
    A word of caution: even no-see-um netting (Skeeta-Scrim) will act like a sail in the wind. Make certain your free-standing frame is extra-sturdy. For the record, 1" diameter aluminum electrical conduit is not strong enough to support a 16 x 20 screen, even in mild winds, even with multiple guy-ropes, as I unfortunately found out years ago.

    I tried several times to erect the screen with the base just 10 ft off the ground, and each time as soon as a breeze picked up it folded the uprights in half! (That's 3 separate pieces of aluminum conduit, and they folded up like plastic drinking straws in a 5-8 mph breeze.) Ended up positioning the screen more or less at ground level and roping off an audience-exclusion zone around the screen and projector (and all the space in-between).

    Consider using 12" box truss or a *pair* of steel shelving uprights (basically 2" x 4" box steel tube) for *each* side upright. Scaffolding is another solution I've used with good results. If you need anchors for your guy-ropes you can either purchase some auger-tipped dog-chain stakes and screw them into the ground, or purchase several large trash cans and fill them with water. (A 42 gallon trash can full of water sitting on a square of 3/4" plywood with a few eyelets screwed into the wood makes for a very sturdy anchor!)

    For the show development, I plan on using Quickshow (at least to start with). My daughter is an excellent artist and can sketch most anything I can think up. My son can do Blender animations if that is needed. The first show will be an Easter theme for our church and be a combination of animations to narration and effects to music.
    You may wish to contact Chris Tate (Lazerjock) and see if he'll put you in touch with his father, Bob. Bob does a great deal of laser work with his church and might be willing to assist you. He also uses Quickshow, but I think he might have recently upgraded to Beyond. He used to have an account here on PL (Rvto3), but he hasn't been active in quite some time. (He still comes to SELEM on a regular basis, however!)

    Adam

  6. #6
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    Adam, thanks for the detailed reply.

    Quote Originally Posted by buffo View Post
    Where are you located?
    Suburb of Atlanta, GA

    Quote Originally Posted by buffo View Post
    Regarding termination: if the stand of trees is *thick* (meaning you can't see anything through the gaps in the branches except more trees), then this is an acceptable termination point. Another good test is to lay on the ground and look up at roughly a 30 degree angle through the treeline to see if you can see any patches of sky. If not, then you should be OK.

    Note that in the USA, if you have a properly terminated outdoor show you are no longer required to file for an FAA letter of non-objection. Just make sure you aren't doing this within the laser free zone of an airport. (Technically you *can* perform a fully-terminated show even if you are within 2 nautical miles of an airport, but it's going to attract unwanted attention that you probably aren't prepared to deal with right now.)
    Thick trees are what I have to work with. Pine (so they don't change in the winter), and hundreds of feet of them before the next clearing. Not a speck of sky visible through them. The show location is 10+ miles from any airport, and about 15 from the Atlanta airport.

    Quote Originally Posted by buffo View Post
    A word of caution: even no-see-um netting (Skeeta-Scrim) will act like a sail in the wind.
    Fortunately this is where I really am an expert. I am a mechanical engineer with my professional license. The frame and anchoring has been designed to handle a 30 mph wind on a solid screen and then break the bottom of the screen loose so the frame stays intact. It is built with aluminum pipe with pinned/bolted mechanical fittings. The entire thing breaks down to 7' lengths that can be moved easily. And I bought the scrim from Skeeta.

    Quote Originally Posted by buffo View Post
    You may wish to contact Chris Tate (Lazerjock) and see if he'll put you in touch with his father, Bob.
    Fantastic advice. Thanks again for it all.

    Tim

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    Quote Originally Posted by coherentgeek View Post
    Ive done shows in the UK onto scrim. In this country, you have to have your laser projection zones at least 3m above the ground (or highest point a member of the audience can stand) so your 10 foot screen height would seem to be ok as long as you were projecting upwards onto it (i.e. the lowest point of your projection zone was at least level or above the output window height of the laser) and there was no crowed access between the laser and the scrim. Im not sue about quick show but in Beyond you can blank areas out so there is no laser projected where there are windows so maybe thats an option for the building. But this sounds like a graphical show so those blanked areas may be too noticeable.. Trees are risky, not just for the audience but also for aircraft if you are projecting upwards. Obviously you cant project into the audience at the wattage you mention.
    Yes, I am projecting slightly upwards, so the 10' is the minimum height over the audience. I really do appreciate the feedback and your other comments.

    I have done most of the FAA worksheet once to see what laser power attenuation looks like if everything went bad at once (solid beam, no termination, etc) and I want to make sure even that scenario does not cause any issues.

    Tim

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    I'm personally a big fan of rear projection through scrim and glad to hear you're presenting shows for people in that fashion. Kudos!
    PM Sent...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timmar View Post
    Suburb of Atlanta, GA
    Cool! You're about 5 hrs from my location in Charleston, SC.

    There are a few experienced laserists in Atlanta. Jonathan Vigrass runs Atlanta Laser and Light, and Tim Martin runs Peachtree Lasers. Both are good operators; if you get a chance to meet with them I'd definitely do it.

    Thick trees are what I have to work with. Pine (so they don't change in the winter), and hundreds of feet of them before the next clearing. Not a speck of sky visible through them. The show location is 10+ miles from any airport, and about 15 from the Atlanta airport.
    Perfect! No issues with termination then. Very good.

    I am a mechanical engineer with my professional license. The frame and anchoring has been designed to handle a 30 mph wind on a solid screen and then break the bottom of the screen loose so the frame stays intact.
    Attaboy! OK, any misgivings about the screen are hereby retracted.

    When you get some free time, peruse the threads in the "Meet and Greet" sub-forum here. In particular, I think you'll be interested in a little event we call "SELEM", aka the "South Eastern Laser Enthusiast's Meeting". I'm thinking you'll want to attend next August.

    Adam

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    Timmar,
    PM sent.
    I talked to my dad and he will be contacting you.

    Chris

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