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Thread: My Very First 'Commercial' Laser Show

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    Yorkshire, UK
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    Default My Very First 'Commercial' Laser Show

    Hi all

    Some of the members on PL were aware that I was doing my very first fully 'commercial' laser show last night at a College in York.

    There were approximately 200 students expected for a 'Valentines' Disco. I had mentioned this show to Rob (stanwax) and my pal Craig (Wiring Monkey), both of whom arranged to accompany me for the evening, and let me tell you, I was extremely grateful for their moral (and technical) support.

    I had put a lot of effort into preparing for this show, and this being my first show I wanted to do everything by the book. I had visited the venue and done a risk assessment, I had contacted York City Council's Health & Safety Department, I had carefully prepared all the necessary paperwork and ensured that the whole show met HSG95 guidelines, right down to having posters on the entrances stating that lasers would be used during the evening.

    We arrived early so there was plenty of time to expect the unexpected, However, everything seemed to go pretty well and we got set up without hitches well before the 8:00pm start. Rob brought with him his small RGB unit which we set up pointing towards (and above) the stage area. We decided to use this for projecting text (more about this later). My projector was set up towards one side of the stage pointing out into the room.

    The Disco was being provided by a guy called Tim Whitworth (from Ripon, Nth. Yorks.)... And let me tell you, this guy had one hell of a setup. I can honestly say it's the best mobile disco i've ever seen in my life - unbelievable! The guy had literally tons of top quality gear, the sound and lighting was superb and he was an extremely professional DJ.

    So, back to the lasers... We spent a bit of time setting up all the projection zones in LivePRO (thanks to Kevin Todd and Mark 'insanity' for their tuition) and made sure everything was safe so no beams could stray into the audience (I decided not to do any audience scanning on this occasion). We fired up the lasers so they could warm up and at the same time the DJ switched on his lighting... where did my lasers go??? His lighting was so bright it totally drowned out the lasers Anyway, we had a chat with him and agreed that he would reduce/switch off his lights for approx 10 minutes every half hour, this allowed the lasers to get the maximum effect. I had set up a microphone so I could get the DJ's audio into LivepRO via the line input option on Winamp, this worked superbly well.

    I have to say that i'm amazed how much laser power is needed to get good effects. My laser is a total of 1 watt and it was just about o.k. for the venue, any less and I would have struggled to make any sort of impact. I reckon 3 watts of total power would have been nearer the mark in order to make a really dramatic impact though.

    Rob (bless him ), was projecting text onto an area above the stage. I didn't have two Pangolin QM2000.Net boards so I couldn't set up my SMStoLaser software to handle this automatically. So Rob decided to do it manually by asking for 'requests'. He got the students to write these onto bits of paper and then he typed these into his laptop ready for projection. I think after the first 100 messages he was becoming slightly stressed, the only thing that was keeping him sane was when the nice young ladies bent over in front of him to write their requests down

    Craig was busy with his camera and took on the roll of official photographer, as well as being a roadie and moral support for the evening, hopefully he's got some good shots of the laser amongst all those of the crowd

    The disco finished at 1:00am and it all passed off without incident. I was pretty calm and relaxed throughout the evening knowing that I had expert technical backup (in the form of Rob and Craig) that was second to none.

    I have to confess that I forgot to use some of my new found skills that I had been taught on the Sunday. However, it was a decent show and i've had some excellent feedback today from one of the college tutors who was there. So, all in all it was a great 'do'. We used LivePRO throughout the night and had great fun randomly pressing cues on the touchscreen and messing with the sliders on the Novation MIDI controller.

    Whether i'll do any more commercial shows remains to be seen. I've certainly got the 'bug', but i'm afraid that I can't stand the pace like I used to, i've been knackered today I just wish i'd had the money to afford lasers in the seventies when I was running mobile discos myself !

    Finally, thanks to all those who sent me messages of good luck, it was really appreciated

    Cheers

    Jem
    Quote: "There is a theory which states that if ever, for any reason, anyone discovers what exactly the Universe is for and why it is here it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another that states that this has already happened.... Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

  2. #2
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    Smile

    Well done, Jem! Congratulations on your first show. It sounds like the text on the wall was a big hit!

    I understand where you're coming from re: having enough power. If the room is dark you can get away with a lot less, but if the venue has an awesome light show to begin with (or if they just like to keep the place nice and bright), then you need lots more power to have the same impact.

    Extra fog can help a little, but there's really no substitute for raw power.

    Cool that Rob was willing to lend a hand. Between his help and your buddy (Wiring Monkey), it sounds like you had all your bases covered. I'll bet it was a fun night for all 3 of you.

    So again, congratulations. When can we see some pics?

    Adam

  3. #3
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    Default Nice one

    Hey Jem,

    Glad to hear it all went well. I never doubted that it would to be honest...

    There is nothing quite like the feeling you get when the crowd see the laser for the first time, a real good buzz..

    Anyway, now that you have sufficiently teased us all, lets see some pictures.. Preferably of the girls bending over, but some of the laser will do

    Mark

  4. #4
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    Default

    Just to show willing, here is a pic of mine unfortunately taken on a mobile..

    me on the left (note laser hazzard signs on the monitors) and the gorgeous Lisa Pin Up on the decks..
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  5. #5
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Insanity View Post
    Anyway, now that you have sufficiently teased us all, lets see some pictures.. Preferably of the girls bending over, but some of the laser will do

    Mark
    Hopefully Craig A.K.A. Wiring Monkey will be along shortly to post a few piccies

    I WANT SOME MORE POWER....

    Cheers

    Jem
    Quote: "There is a theory which states that if ever, for any reason, anyone discovers what exactly the Universe is for and why it is here it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another that states that this has already happened.... Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    Around the corner from Jem
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    Default

    Well my policy of "if I take enough then I'll get some good ones" seems to be paying off :-)
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    Around the corner from Jem
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    Default

    And there's more
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    Last edited by Wiring Monkey; 02-06-2008 at 12:37.

  8. #8
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    Jul 2007
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    Around the corner from Jem
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    Default

    And finally, I didn't want to do this but Insanity seems like such a nice guy ;-)
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    Last edited by Wiring Monkey; 02-06-2008 at 12:38.

  9. #9
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    Default

    Great Pix Craig - the last one made me laugh. And Jem - I wish I'd had a bloody moment to ogle even the slightest cleavage!

    Just for the record I did make a few mistakes - that were hopefully taken in good faith - 3 girls who were in the slave auction were advertised on the laser as being up for ACTION!!! Which Im sure was also true. It didnt help that drunks were writing (or more accurately scrawling - I hope they can write when sober...) on A4 sheets in the dark and I was in constant barrage - thats my excuse anyway.....it wasnt the low tops and short skirts.....honest.

    Top night and I'm bloody glad I went it was a real buzz - Thank you so much for inviting me.

    I would help out for ya anytime.

    Rob
    If you need to ask the question 'whats so good about a laser' - you won't understand the answer.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Laserists do it by the nanometre.

    Stanwax Laser is a Corporate Member of Ilda

    Stanwax Laser main distributor of First Contact in UK - like us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/FirstContactPolymerCleaner
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  10. #10
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    Default

    great job jem!!

    laser looks great. i have a question though...

    in that last pic posted by "wiring monkey" how do i get *MY* laser to do *THAT!?!?!?!?* LOL....
    (the nice tushy)

    show seemed like it went well though! congrats!

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