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Thread: A good day for LaserBoy!

  1. #1
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    Talking A good day for LaserBoy!

    WOW!
    What a day!

    Last night I transcribed my ADAT taped laser show to waves on my hard drive.

    Today rMud joined us here at PL...

    AND

    Now I got neat looking art flying all over my screen in LaserBoy from my ADAT recordings!

    I still need to tweak it up. I have to get the colors adjusted for maximum gain and I need to realign the color samples with the position samples, but I know how to do all that!

    It's just a matter of coming up with the right magic.

    It's also neat to look at LaserBoy generated waves right up next to waves from the ADAT tape (mixedgas' slightly fried ISA QM-32 recorded from the analog inputs of my modified ADAT)

    Since LaserBoy waves are created entirely in the digital domain, they are fully normalized and can be reversed back into vector data, accurate down to the bit. But they are also much more saturated. There is a lot more energy making it to the screen per second than there is in the QM-32 waves.

    So now, from the same Echo Layla 24/96, I can play LaserBoy waves. I can pass ADAT LightPipe from the ADAT machine through the Layla or I can play ADAT waves already recorded onto my hard drive!

    Soon I will be able to get all of the 2D vector data in true color and perfect time alignment from the ADAT waves and revamp that data into fresh LaserBoy waves!

    James.
    Last edited by James Lehman; 05-08-2008 at 10:14.

  2. #2
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    Thumbs up

    That's awesome man! I am not sure what you are talking about... I grasp the concept, but that's about it. I am at the level where there is still a 15% chance I will kill something everytime I open my projector.
    Love, peace, and grease,

    allthat... aka: aaron@pangolin

  3. #3
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    Talking

    ADAT is Alesis Digital Audio Tape. It is an 8 track digital audio recording machine that uses Super VHS tape. The first version to come out did 48KHz at 16 bits. They now do 96KHz at 24 bits and they are backward compatible.

    In much the same way a sound card can be modified, an ADAT machine can have all of its analog inputs and outputs modified to restore the DC coupling. This makes it possible to record and play back laser signals. So a modified ADAT is a laser show VCR!

    You don't need anything but an ADAT and a laser projector to do shows. Lots of shows are sold in ADAT format.

    When I produced my one-and-only public show, "First Night Akron 2004", I had never worked with any laser technology before. I used mixedgas' Pangolin QM-32, the software that came with it, and Anarchy.

    It took me about 5 minutes to figure out that there were a lot of things I wanted to do with laser art that these tools were not letting me do! That was when I started on the core of LaserBoy.

    At first all LaserBoy could do was read, manipulate and write ILDA. I drew frames in Anarchy and created animation effects in LaserBoy; saved that as ILDA and loaded that ILDA into the frame buffer of the QM-32. From there, I used the Pangolin software to create the various scenes and string them together into a 44 minute show (a full ADAT tape).

    At that time, my only interest was getting it done before 12/31/2003! But, I knew I could make all of this stuff better. I was looking at a system that was proof of a concept. That is: Everything that I was doing with all of this hardware could be done entirely in software!

    An ADAT tape is nothing more than a physical representation of an 8 channel, 16 bit, 48KHz wave file.

    The QM-32 was outputting what amounts to an analog signal. Yes, it has a points-per-second clock, but all of that is lost in the transition from ILDA data --> QM-32 analog out --> ADAT analog in --> ADAT DAC sampling at 48KHz / 16 bits (wave).

    My job was laid out for me. All I had to do was eliminate all of the expensive proprietary hardware and just go ILDA --> wave (entirely in the digital software domain) !

    LaserBoy might seem like it stands alone as a non-standard way of doing things, but it's not. It is MORE standard than anything else!

    The Echo Layla 24/96 is basically a PCI card and a 19" rack mount box that, together, make a computer sound card / hard drive based ADAT machine.

    One of the nice features of the ADAT format is a digital fiber optic protocol called LightPipe. It is a pure digital stream of all 8 tracks of data in and out. ADATs have it and so does the Layla. This is how I transcribed the taped show from my ADAT to my Layla and onto my hard drive.

    It is also possible to just pass through the LightPipe signal from the ADAT to the analog outputs of the Layla. So I can show ADAT tapes or LaserBoy waves from the same device with no re-wiring! I can also play the hard drive recording of the ADAT with no ADAT machine required.

    AND very soon, I will be able to perfectly recover all of the 2D vector and color information from those ADAT waves and turn that back into point stripped ILDA vector art.

    James.
    Last edited by James Lehman; 05-08-2008 at 10:32.

  4. #4
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    There was a guy on here who used to go by the name The Doctor who talked about using Layla and WAV files. It's a shame he isn't around anymore. I think he would be really interested in what you are doing.

  5. #5
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    Lostgallifreyan still posts on alt.lasers.

    He's the one who gave me a clue about the Layla!

    James.

  6. #6
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    I have a CM106 based 8-channel USB sound card 16 bit, 44.1/48kHz. With some hardware modification (DC coupling, etc) would this be adequate for LaserBoy display? Looking forward to trying it out!

  7. #7
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    Sounds like it!

    You might want to get Audacity. It's a free, open source multiplatform application; much like LaserBoy!

    http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

    It's great! It's for pro audio editing. You can open LaserBoy waves in it and do things like invert all the signals (in case your DAC is upside-down)....

    On second thought... You probably can't save it again as a single 6 channel wave. Hmmmm.

    C-Media DACs are inverters. BTW When I recorded the LightPipe from the ADAT into the Layla, it was inverted.

    You might also find that in the driver for your device there are settable time delays between the channels for surround sound effects. You can use these to align the color to the position.

    LaserBoy has a system to impose sample shifts into the wave data, but it is not fully implemented in the Multiplatform version yet.

    I guess I should do that, huh!

    James.
    Last edited by James Lehman; 05-08-2008 at 16:14.

  8. #8
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    great! FYI, the Turtle beach manufactured 'Audio Advantage SRM' might be a nice little box to hack for this. There aren't that many cheap 6 or 8 channel USB boxes out there. Another super-cheap alternative that might be worth hacking: chinese no-brand units such as ebay item 160236746448.

  9. #9
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    Cool It looks wierd, but very cool!

    The only way to see this file is with LaserBoy!

    *get adat_blimp.zip ... see next post*
    (25MB!)

    Unzip it into the frames directory and open it in LaserBoy.
    It's 53MB unzipped. It might take a while to open.

    Tap the ` key to start the show.

    You can show it with or without verticies and blanking.

    This is an early success (yesterday's code) of an ADAT capture of the 2004 show.

    As you can see, the colors and blanking are totally screwy, but the vectors are all there!

    You can also see that most of the frames have their own palette and many of them are true color (more than 255 colors in frame).

    This is why only LaserBoy can show you this file.

    This is at the root of the much contested and still unresolved 24 bit ILDA file standard.

    James.
    Last edited by James Lehman; 05-09-2008 at 01:32.

  10. #10
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    drlava was kind enough to grant me some high bandwidth space at the Case!

    http://hacylon.case.edu/laser/LaserBoy/

    So download like a maniac, man!

    Thanks!

    PS. akrobiz isn't exactly a whimpy server, but it has plenty of other things to do.

    James.

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