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Thread: Review of the theater in Columbus, GA

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    Default Review of the theater in Columbus, GA

    Well I thought I'd write a little review of the two shows I saw at a theater in Columbus, GA. I can't really call it a planetarium as it lacks the main component required to call it one. Anyway, I was very excited to get a chance to check out this theater as they were suppose to have the new Digistar 3 Laser projector for full dome video (and stars) using laser as its light source. Sadly, upon arrival, it seems the Digistar 3 Laser is very sick with a laser output of 4-5Watts when it is suppose to be close to 9Watts. The biggest problem I'm told, is that the darkfield is any thing but dark, which is a huge problem in a "planetarium" type environment. So they reverted back to a 2 video projector layout for full dome video. I have to admit, the full dome video is quite impressive, though the 2 video projector system was certainly not without its bugs. In all I'd really like to give this part a second chance and will just have to return when they get the Digistar 3 Laser video projector working again as I hear it is quite amazing.

    The second show I saw was Pink Floyd Darkside show with the Omniscan. Hate to say it, but I got up and left half way through. For a theater with such amazing capabilities, the show was just aweful. For one, it seemed the omniscan has been very poorly maintained. As the images were flying around all over the dome, you could clearly see dirty spots on the lens. Also, it was clear that they were playing back from ADAT, geez! Would the last person using ADAT for laser shows please turn out the light when you're done.... Lets see, what else, tuning was off, no optical effects used and would it hurt to peak the pcaom once in a while? Shows like this are the reason people don't go to laser shows anymore....

    So there you have it, DZ's 2nd theater review... Who's next?

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    Hey David,

    Yeah, it's a shame when you lose human interaction with laser projected effects.
    Thats why I loved working with the LFI Rainbow system at Fels in philly. If you just
    ran the ADAT and didn't touch the control panel the show was real shit but, If you
    controlled everything like color mods, lumia, gratings, and chopping etc. it put
    real visual emotion into the music.

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    Quote"
    The second show I saw was Pink Floyd Darkside show with the Omniscan. Hate to say it, but I got up and left half way through. For a theater with such amazing capabilities, the show was just aweful. For one, it seemed the omniscan has been very poorly maintained. As the images were flying around all over the dome, you could clearly see dirty spots on the lens. Also, it was clear that they were playing back from ADAT, geez! Would the last person using ADAT for laser shows please turn out the light when you're done.... Lets see, what else, tuning was off, no optical effects used and would it hurt to peak the pcaom once in a while? Shows like this are the reason people don't go to laser shows anymore....
    "

    The Pittsburgh omniscan (a Lightspd licensed clone) was just as dissapointing, they did better with their E&S CRT projector. The show is still human ran, but the showops were told to slowly ramp the laser brightness over the course of the show, this meant with less then 2 watts of excitation fiber fed from a back room, split between two omni heads, you couldnt see &hit of laser intensity layered over the CRT, I almost offered to readjust their system on the spot for free, the same garbagy diffraction from the dirt on the lens, too They were told by their "laser asthetics" person who trained them, not to crank the laser till the last song. Also the analog console images were a fraction of full dome. Really weak laser, I was squinting to see the abstracts. THIS IS JUST SO PLAIN WRONG!

    Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts

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    come down to miami

    we still use adat for the laser show itself but we have a bunch of gobos all around the dome, all sorts of lighting and strobes everywhere (some DMX some manual switches) and we are working on a lot of new things all the time

    bring your laser projector tho, ours is pretty sickly lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by ImageLight View Post
    Hey David,

    Yeah, it's a shame when you lose human interaction with laser projected effects.
    Thats why I loved working with the LFI Rainbow system at Fels in philly. If you just
    ran the ADAT and didn't touch the control panel the show was real shit but, If you
    controlled everything like color mods, lumia, gratings, and chopping etc. it put
    real visual emotion into the music.
    Having the ability to liven up a show is a great benefit. When we had AVI's system in Jax back in the mid-90's, we had some manual control over the projector, so we had 1 guy running the laser console while the other manually ran lighting, star projector and effects projectors. Some theaters are so automated that the doors open and close by themselves and a really great show can be created, it's just rare it seems. It seems that the more automation there is in a theater, the less talent to produce a great show. Its just sad really...

    The Pittsburgh omniscan (a Lightspd licensed clone) was just as dissapointing, they did better with their E&S CRT projector. The show is still human ran, but the showops were told to slowly ramp the laser brightness over the course of the show, this meant with less then 2 watts of excitation fiber fed from a back room, split between two omni heads, you couldnt see &hit of laser intensity layered over the CRT, I almost offered to readjust their system on the spot for free, the same garbagy diffraction from the dirt on the lens, too They were told by their "laser asthetics" person who trained them, not to crank the laser till the last song. Also the analog console images were a fraction of full dome. Really weak laser, I was squinting to see the abstracts. THIS IS JUST SO PLAIN WRONG!
    That is wrong! I went to a theater about 2 years ago that had very little red emitting from thier projector, I asked if I could see it and discovered a beam splitter before the pcaom dumping half the beam to a beam stop! No clue as to why it was there wasting half the power. So they let me remove it and replace it with an MM-1 and bingo, double the output. Peaked the pcaom and the shows looked great again! There are not many theaters out there that will let a stranger touch thier equipment, I'm glad they let me and they were greatful that they did. Still to this day, the absolute best show I've seen was at the Forum der Technik in Munich. They just plain had thier stuff together. A perfect balance of laser graphics, beams, lighting, effects and sound. One of the coolest effects, not even laser related, was with the Universarium, which has the capability to make the stars brighter than they are suppose to be. So imagine, if you will, a star projector producing stars 2-3 times brighter than normal in a pitch black room with fog, simply amazing... Sadly, the theater has been close for a while now, aparently went bankrupt shortly after the addition of an IMAX theater.... If only I had an endless supply of capital and a plot of land to build a theater....

    come down to miami

    we still use adat for the laser show itself but we have a bunch of gobos all around the dome, all sorts of lighting and strobes everywhere (some DMX some manual switches) and we are working on a lot of new things all the time

    bring your laser projector tho, ours is pretty sickly lol
    Flecom, are you sure you want me to swing by for a few shows? I tend to be a rather harsh critic of planetariums! Are you guys currently running laser shows? I'd really like to schedule a trip down there and if you can arrange a time when I could bring my projector to see how it would look, that would be a huge bonus. Are weekends any good?
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    Quote Originally Posted by DZ View Post
    Flecom, are you sure you want me to swing by for a few shows? I tend to be a rather harsh critic of planetariums! Are you guys currently running laser shows? I'd really like to schedule a trip down there and if you can arrange a time when I could bring my projector to see how it would look, that would be a huge bonus. Are weekends any good?
    I am sure our shows probably wouldent compare to your expierence in germany (I guess conan was right?) but we definately dont just "hit play" on the ADAT

    we run shows every first friday of the month... i would have to see on the particular weekend but usually they are ok... or a friday we are not doing shows

    a friend of mine works there and we have both proven ourselves to the assistant director, which is why we are allowed to touch stuff (plus hes an old school laser guy, knows bill etc... they still have their giant dual concert laser board... the old laser had 4 sets of G120's one for each blue, red, green and yellow most of it dosent work properly but it still kind of works) ...

    anyhow they are super super cautious about letting people touch anything becuase every few years they get someone that knows all about XYZ and then they touch it and it explodes, then said person dissapears and thats the end of XYZ (they are consistantly broke) the irony is the planetarium is the only part of the meuseum consistantly making money!

    but boy was he excited when he found out i got a new pangolin system (they still have a working QM16 in an amiga!)

    i would love to see your projector in a 65' dome, they would really like to see it, but they told me to tell you while they would love to see a demo of your projector they really cant promise to buy anything right now so take that for whatever its worth..

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    A couple of years ago we had the chance to see a good PF show here in Winston. They had just purchased a Coherent 10 watt white light setup......even got the .05 tour upstairs and seen the giant water cooled beast. It is a nice place to catch a show on the cheap......system has maybe like 275 slide projectors for each group of frames to be displayed. Only $6 for all the Floyd and Zep you can stand.


    http://www.sciworks.org/PRLaserShows.pdf
    You are the only one that can make your dreams come true....and the only one that can stop them...A.M. Dietrich

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    Quote Originally Posted by MechEng3 View Post
    A couple of years ago we had the chance to see a good PF show here in Winston. They had just purchased a Coherent 10 watt white light setup......even got the .05 tour upstairs and seen the giant water cooled beast. It is a nice place to catch a show on the cheap......system has maybe like 275 slide projectors for each group of frames to be displayed. Only $6 for all the Floyd and Zep you can stand.


    http://www.sciworks.org/PRLaserShows.pdf
    wow 10 watts!!

    we have a Lexel 95 that maybe does 200mW on a good day lol

    its been in use for many years and is definately at deaths door

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    lexel 95 with 200mw. That thing is on its last leg. My worst gives 2.5 watts. Best around 7 watts now a days

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    Quote Originally Posted by dream beamz View Post
    lexel 95 with 200mw. That thing is on its last leg. My worst gives 2.5 watts. Best around 7 watts now a days
    ya no im amazed it still turns on quite frankly

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