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Thread: Please help a newb with some questions.

  1. #1
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    Default Please help a newb with some questions.

    I would like to buy a cheep laser to use at small gigs and parties, what makes and models might be good for me?

    I am hoping to find someone who can provide some custom animation based on my logo for the laser to display. Where should I go to get this done? I know next to nothing about whats required to run a laser in terms of hardware or software etc, though I am pretty handy with 3D graphics and could probably animate the graphic ok, but I think I might rather go to a pro possible, but where can I find one?..

    I've seen good results with Utopia 3D but there's no support or even links to anywhere that I can find to purchase it, just a Demo download, so I don't even know what it would cost, I'm guessing it's cheaper than pangolin.

    Should I use this software (Utopia 3D) to actually run the laser? Could this be done with just a lap top or would I need a specific interface?

    Thanks in advance, any help would be most apreciated.

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    soforene is offline The Troll formerly known as Herbert Von Poople-Futtocks
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    There's no subsititute for reading, our kid.
    And whilst there's a plethora of pertinent info on this forum, a noob might be a bit overawed by the sheer complexity.
    You should fill in your profile so we know whereabouts in the country you are.
    A visit to the next UKLEM (assuming you are in the UK) in December might get you off to a good start too.

    Regarding your requirement to display customized graphics, you won't be buying a "cheap" laser to do this as most cheappies can only display the built in patterns.
    You'll need an ILDA compliant laser projector to display your own graphical creations and for an off the shelf jobby you are starting at around 600.

    The Utopia3D software is distributed by a German company and you could purchase it there.

    Oh and welcome to PL.
    Last edited by soforene; 10-15-2008 at 01:53. Reason: Added Utopia3D info

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    Hi soforene, many thanks for your advice, I Really have to concentrate on my music production quite intensivly at the moment so unfortunately I can't let myself get to obsessive about this (much as I'd like to) I'm already pushing myself with Video sampling and merchendising, websites and promotion etc. so I am really in need of an easy solution, perhaps I might have to resigne myself to letting the laser idea go for a while, it would be a shame though.


    Quote Originally Posted by soforene View Post
    Regarding your requirement to display customized graphics, you won't be buying a "cheap" laser to do this as most cheappies can only display the built in patterns.
    You'll need an ILDA compliant laser projector to display your own graphical creations and for an off the shelf jobby you are starting at around 600.

    OK, so I could be looking at a second hand model, or maybe hiering then I guess. I find this a little strange, I have an old Scopex Osciloscpe that cost penies and it will display XY audio signal in much the same way as a laser displays ILDA? The technologie involved here is not particually expencive to produce, I wonder why a ILDA Laser should cost so much.

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=DXpntn...eature=related

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=19l4P0...eature=related


    Quote Originally Posted by soforene View Post
    The Utopia3D software is distributed by a German company and you could purchase it there.

    Oh and welcome to PL.
    I can't even find a price on their own web site. I wonder what the Demo restrictions are?
    Last edited by ni-cad; 10-15-2008 at 03:28.

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    soforene's Avatar
    soforene is offline The Troll formerly known as Herbert Von Poople-Futtocks
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    I'd be very surprised if you could even find someone who would "dry hire" a laser due to all the H&S doobries, never mind the expense (and massive wonga deposit).
    Your first post stated that you wanted to display custom graphics and now you are talking about just displaying some lissajous curves.
    A cheapy laser projector for around 200 - 400 would produce these if it's just background stuff for a disco you are after.

    As you correctly surmised, Lasers are not a cheap hobby and you can't just jump in with a few hundred quid and expect to produce a top notch show.
    An old maxim comes to mind.
    "You can have it Fast, Cheap and Good but you can only choose two of those".

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    An oscilliscope steers an electron beam with electromagnets to "draw" an image on a phosphor screen. A laser projector has to physically move a set of mirrors back and fourth to "draw" an image on the wall. While they are both reproducing vector drawings, one of the two has a significant speed advantage. Scanners are one of the more expensive bits inside a laser projector, and even so they're several orders of magnitude slower than even the cheapest 'scope.

    The other side of the price equation is the lasers themselves. They're no where near as common as a cathode ray tube. Oscilloscopes are cheap because they benefit from decades of consumer television sales. CRT's are a commodity item, and are very cheap. Not so with lasers. They're expensive. (Especially for high power reds, and just about all blue lasers, because there is no mass-market for these devices.)

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    Thanks Soforene and buffo for sharing you knowledge, you've both given me a lot of insite. I don't think I'm going to be to detured with regards to the costs but definately inconvienienced to some degree.

    There are venues that have good lasers already installed with good in house technicians to whom we might be able to provide our own laser Graphics, I know each venue wil have different system, but for future reference what software and format could we work in to designe our animations, please note we really can't afford pangollin?

    Could anyone go in to a little deatail about what interfaces/stages are necissary between the Graphics design - software and the laser?

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    I think a little bit more about the type of laser you're wanting to purchase would help.

    Do you want green, RGY (red, green, yellow) or full colour? (Each one is more expensive than the last).

    Where are you projecting, inside / outside?

    What kind of ligthing brightness wise will also be in the room / near the projection surface?

    Will you want to do beams or will it always be graphics?

    Are you aware of the saefty issues regarding lasers and the crowd?

    How complex / smooth do you want the graphics to be?

    Lots of questions I know, but the more you answer, the easier it will be for people to assist you.

    Also, on the subject of Pangolin, I don't know which package you looked at but the FB3 / LA Studio Package is a few hundred instead of over the thousand for the LD2000 package. It might give you a way in to soemthing powerful for a reasonable outlay.

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    Hi RGB, thanks for time helping me out, I'm happy to hear there's a cheeper version of pangollin.

    Quote Originally Posted by RGBLaserFan View Post
    I think a little bit more about the type of laser you're wanting to purchase would help.

    Do you want green, RGY (red, green, yellow) or full colour? (Each one is more expensive than the last).
    Green's fine, I'd really like blue but if it's ogonna cost a lot more, then I'll go for just green, as a single colour.

    Quote Originally Posted by RGBLaserFan View Post
    Where are you projecting, inside / outside?
    Inside small venues, around 200 capacity

    Quote Originally Posted by RGBLaserFan View Post
    What kind of ligthing brightness wise will also be in the room / near the projection surface?
    I'd probably place it up high in a dimly lit area of an average low lite venue, but there would be a few brite screens in there also, I'd say the equivelent of a dim room?

    Quote Originally Posted by RGBLaserFan View Post
    Will you want to do beams or will it always be graphics?
    Solely graphics, no beams, quite thin wire frame style graphics.

    Quote Originally Posted by RGBLaserFan View Post
    Are you aware of the saefty issues regarding lasers and the crowd?
    I'm aware that Green has a hi infrared content and this can be filtered somehow (not sure how though) I would never point a laser on to or at a crowd or anywhere people could be struck by it. I'll read up on the safety issues concearning lasers to make sure I'm fully informed beffore I even turn it on.

    Quote Originally Posted by RGBLaserFan View Post
    How complex / smooth do you want the graphics to be?
    I'm not too concearned about smoothness, I am quite a fan of Lo-Fi technology but some degree of complexity, as much as I would need to display some large beveled text something like digital watch readout and a wire frame style animation of some walking figures.

    Quote Originally Posted by RGBLaserFan View Post
    Lots of questions I know, but the more you answer, the easier it will be for people to assist you.

    Also, on the subject of Pangolin, I don't know which package you looked at but the FB3 / LA Studio Package is a few hundred instead of over the thousand for the LD2000 package. It might give you a way in to soemthing powerful for a reasonable outlay.
    No problem, I'm more than happy to clarify thing's. I can understand how frustraiting it is when newb's blunder in to laser technology thinking it's all a piece of cake, I don't mean to undervalue your trade at all, as a sound tech I get the same on other forums . . . Stuff like "What is sampling?" meh .
    Last edited by ni-cad; 10-15-2008 at 20:19.

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    Do you have soldering abilities/ electronics design capabilities, or do you need a 'plug-and-play' system?
    Last edited by steve-o; 10-15-2008 at 19:48.

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    Hey Steve.

    Quote Originally Posted by steve-o View Post
    Do you have soldering abilities/ electronics design capabilities, or do you need a 'plug-and-play' system?
    My electrical skills are limited, I've soldered the odd potentioeter in place thats about it I'm afraid. I Could probably asemble a kit if it was documented well enough.

    If I could really save a lot of doe I'd give it a shot, but I can't design electronics. I'd happilly buy a laser that was in need of repair, as long as it wasn't going to cost the earth to get it fixed.

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