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Thread: Exporting completed laser shows to other software - PROBLEM!

  1. #51
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    lol, yep I'm alive... sleep-deprived, but alive

  2. #52
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    Hi Buffo,

    I have not checked out PL lately. While perusing the various messages, I came across a few you wrote, in particular one you wrote on Mon Sep 18, 2006.

    If I understand your position, you believe I was somehow cutting down, or otherwise diminishing Yadda or his technical abilities. This is certainly not the case! If I haven't already said it in another post, it is clear that Yadda is a very bright guy. No question about it.

    I view the round of message exchanges we had as more of a public technical debate. And as is typically the case with such a debate, there is no winner or loser. That's not the point. I only wanted to provide my own views on a few things that Yadda himself mentioned in his previous posts about Pangolin, which he made months before I even knew about PL.

    Yadda, and a few others sometimes might misconstrue something about Pangolin or our products. That's easy to do since Pangolin and our products are complex and pretty deep, so it is not possible to know everything about these topics. Heck, even I forget about some of the capabilities of our software! So my personal feeling is that it is entirely appropriate to try to bring some clarity to these subjects, to prevent misunderstandings by other readers. I am sorry that you took offense to the comments I made in the exchange between Yadda and myself. My impression is that Yadda himself did not take offense...

    Even though we currently have eight full-time developers at Pangolin, we really don't have time to explore every single possible application or method of controlling a laser. And I am always happy to see new ideas and developments by others. (The abstract and game developments of Yadda do look interesting.) But even though we don't have time to explore every single possibility, WE DO EXPLORE A LOT OF THEM!! Much of our developments never becomes public knowledge, or they do not get released for some time. So when there are areas where we have already explored which eventually led to what we believed was an unproductive end, or where we believe we have come up with a better plan, I only mean to provide some enlightenment as to why we do the things we do, or why we abandoned an alternate path. And as I believe I said, I would be happy to demonstrate all of these things at the next PL get-together. Likewise, I think it will be interesting for all to see the developments of others. The proof of the pudding is in the eating!

    As Carey and others have said, we do try to be open to new ideas at Pangolin, and we do contribute tremendously to this industry as a whole, even when many of the contributions do not directly add to our bottom line. But as I said, we can't do everything ourselves. No one company can... (That's one reason why we offer our Software Development Kit for free.)

    As a rule, we tend to concentrate our developments on things that will help the greatest number of people in the industry. This has been successful for the industry as a whole, but there are times when this means we can't take on developments that will help only one individual or a small group of people, to the exclusion of the whole industry. There are some exceptions to this rule, whereby we will take on a development project just because we think it is interesting, or just plain cool.

    Only one more overall point. I have read a few posts by individuals who have the impression that Pangolin systems are expensive, or even perhaps "over-priced". I honestly don't think either of these is true. As far as I can tell, our LD2000 Intro system is about the same cost, or possibly even less expensive (with the current value of the dollar to the Euro) than LDS/Phoenix, and our system comes with a whole lot more! It is certainly not as cheap as MAMBA, but at the price you are paying for MAMBA, they can't really afford to do all of the things that we do at Pangolin in terms of development, nor all of the things we do for the industry as a whole. Currently, aside from the Flashback 3 platform, we don't really have anything that is priced for hobbyists. But let not your heart be troubled. We have been known to offer special deals here and there It never hurts to contact us and let us know your thoughts and ideas... and budget!

    Best regards,

    William Benner

    PS: Welcome Back Yadda!

  3. #53
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    Bill .... did you call Mamba CHEAP ..... can i quote you on that at the next ILDA conference

    But seriously ..... I met Bill at the last ILDA meet in Rimini where he demo'd the pangolin software and it is amazing ...... a good friend of mine ( kev fron s2v ) has been using it for some time and swears he canot go back to anything else ... I am only using the Cheap Mamba software but its great value but the biggest problem that i have come across is the lack of ready made shows for it and a few other people have said the same here, and i dont have the time to write my own, i have seen some sites offering shows but the previews dont seem too good and they are priced 200+ euros each a lot of money for a 3 minute show, now this is where pangolin starts to look extremely good value as it comes with a CD packed with 100s of shows and 1000s of frames all ready to use ..... Bill did mention before that if you were to buy the shows and frames individually they could cost over $100,000 ( i think thats what you said ? )

    that in its self makes it F*cki*g good value!

    Hopefully one day i will be able to upgrade to Pangy but in the meantime
    i will stick to my cheapy.


    All the best ...... Karl Dawson

  4. #54
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    Default Buffo's Mea Culpa

    Bill;

    Actually, after re-reading some of the old posts, I saw that it was another PL member - not Yadda - that you had replied to that seemed overly harsh to me. (The topic was scanner safety boards, if I recall correctly, and I corrected myself in another post further down from the one on the 18th which you referenced above.)

    Nevertheless, I did feel that your earlier answers to Yadda didn't fully address his work, but rather seemed to skirt the issues that he was trying to improve. (Particularly with regard to the blanking issue; it's clear that there is still *no* standard among laser manufacturers, so rather than wait for one to emerge, Yadda suggested a simple change to allow the controller to adapt.) It also seemed that you were questioning his familiarity with the system, despite the fact that he'd been using it for a *long* time. Considering that Yadda was a long standing member, and clearly quite knowledgeable, it bothered me that you seemed to be so confrontational. This did seem to be at odds with Pangolin's professed openness to new ideas.

    Now, in fairness, it is your company and your product, and you certainly have a right to defend it against criticism. Furthermore, you have a point about how some avenues of development just aren't practical considering the large user baser you have. Perhaps I was in a bad mood when I responded in that earlier thread. It's also possible that I may have mis-read your intent. If I did, and have thus offended you, then I apologize. I have been known to be an ass from time to time... ops:

    Furthermore, no one has appointed me to be the police force of the forums, so I suppose you could say that I didn't have any right to stick my nose in your business in the first place. That's also my forte.. Getting into other people's business when I don't need to. (It's a character flaw that lots of us Americans suffer from, or so I'm often told by my European friends...)

    My main concern (like Spec's) is the free flow of information between the folks that are doing laser shows for a living and the hobbyist community. Before I found PL, I had no one to give me advice - which is why after over a decade of owning several lasers (and lots of other hardware) I hadn't put together a single projector, despite owning several open loop galvo pairs.

    Now I've got a monochrome system with 40kpps closed loop scanners, and I'm seriously contemplating an RGB system and an upgraded DAC/Software solution. (The Alphalite system is *seriously* restricting my creativity.) I credit the many people here at PL with my newfound interest and determination in lasers and laser shows. This is why I'm so fiercely protective of this forum. But, admittedly, it's not my job to be a cop. And in any event, I'm not a very good one, so I suppose I ought to keep more of my opinions to myself.

    I do recognise that Pangolin offers more than any other product on the market, and I also recognise that you need to charge enough to keep your company alive. Admittedly, some of my rants probably ring of sour grapes simply because your system is priced beyond my means. :cry:

    As I've posted before, I was a *HUGE* fan of Pangolin back in the early 90's when it ran on the Amiga. (I was president of the Charleston Area Amiga Users Group for just over 3 years, and I still own two working Amigas, though to be truthfull I use PC's these days.) And while the Amiga is now dead, it's great to see that your company has survived. (Outside of NewTek, I can't think of many other former Amiga companies that are still around...)

    In any event, since both you and Yadda have returned to the forums here at PL, I suggest that it's water under the bridge at this point. I would very much like to see you at SELEM, assuming we can pull it together for next year. And I do hope that you will find time to check in here from time to time.

    And finally - I promise to count to ten before I reply from now on! :lol: Fair enough?

    Adam

    <Edited to fix paragraph spacing problem and a typo.>

  5. #55
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    Hi Adam,

    Thanks for your thoughtful reply. Sure, fair enough. I certainly have been known myself for not counting to ten often enough

    I can certainly appreciate what you are saying about the free flow of information. Many years ago, laserists were very secretive and did not share information for fear of competitive fallout. For the last 20 years, we have worked to help open this up, supplying information in our help files, and helping L. Michael Roberts get off the ground. Indeed, both Patrick and I were proofreaders of his book -- the only book about the laser light show industry. Aside from LaserFX, PL and Laserfreak.net are great resources. Although it is not quite as comprehensive as LaserFX, the Laser Resources section of the Pangolin site also offers some good insight.

    Regarding Yadda stepping up to solve what he perceived was a problem with projector standards, I certainly appreciate that *somebody* is doing *something*... Far too often people just sit around and bitch about things... However, as far as I understand it, Yadda's answer will not solve the greater problem within projectors themselves, and also (as far as I know) it does not implement the non-linearity which must be done AFTER the delay in order to fully solve the problem seen with lasers. Also, of course, Yadda's answer only works for people who are using his hardware (which may be only one or two as far as I know). Although it was not very well known until recently, we came up with a simple and inexpensive circuit which could easily be integrated directly into laser projectors, and solve the problem for everyone, regardless of the software or hardware they are using. Currently a number of RGB laser manufacturers are not integrating this circuit, and the schematic and theory of operation are freely available to anyone else who wants to retrofit their projectors.

    Regarding scanner safety boards, I too am not the cop of the universe. However, I do believe my opinion should count more heavily than many others... The reason is because I have written a number of audience scanning articles for ILDA (some of which are freely available on our web site) and I have jointly given papers on this topic at International Laser Safety Conferences and currently participate in two separate laser safety standards. And, perhaps most importantly, my own work in this area has recently earned us along with one other company a US CDRH Variance for Audience Scanning -- as far as I know, the first in history for what might be called "general audience scanning". (Variances have been granted in the long-ago past, for specific effects projected over an audience for a specific time period, but none for essentially any effect and for any time period.) When I see someone espousing views which are contrary to the reality we faced in getting that variance, or the reality of the work we do either within ILDA or within the safety standards bodies, I only mean to point out the most-accepted ways of doing things. Perhaps my way of pointing these things out seems abrasive, and I can certainly learn to tone it down a bit...

    Bill

  6. #56
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    Hi Bill;

    I appreciate your taking time to respond here; I know you get lots of e-mail, so it means a lot when you're willing to participate here as well.
    Quote Originally Posted by Pangolin
    I can certainly appreciate what you are saying about the free flow of information. Many years ago, laserists were very secretive and did not share information for fear of competitive fallout.
    Yes! Exactly... And I'm glad that you agree that this behavior was hurting everyone in the process. With any luck, however, that will change now that more people are talking about the technology.
    For the last 20 years, we have worked to help open this up, supplying information in our help files, and helping L. Michael Roberts get off the ground.
    I didn't know about your involvement with his book! Very cool... And I agree that your website has a good deal of information that is very useful, especially to the hobbyist.
    Yadda's answer only works for people who are using his hardware (which may be only one or two as far as I know).
    This is true. Yadda has stated several times that he never intended to sell his design. (Though some of us here on PL were secretly hoping for a limited production run of a dozen or so boards for us!) Alas, that probably won't happen, and in any event we'd all still need regular software to design the show in the first place. (As I understood it, the software Yadda used to talk to his DAC was strictly playback only.)
    Although it was not very well known until recently, we came up with a simple and inexpensive circuit which could easily be integrated directly into laser projectors, and solve the problem for everyone, regardless of the software or hardware they are using.
    Why the resistance to adopting this board, do you think? If it smoothes out the blanking differences, you'd think companies would be quite interested in it.
    Regarding scanner safety boards, <snip> my own work in this area has recently earned us along with one other company a US CDRH Variance for Audience Scanning -- as far as I know, the first in history for what might be called "general audience scanning".
    OK, you just tripped my humble pie dispenser... You've got a blanket variance to scan the audience with ANY EFFECT in your toolkit? All I can say is - WOW. I didn't think the CDRH would ever even consider issuing such a variance. More to the point, I didn't think anyone would be willing to go through the painstaking calculations required to PROVE that the enitre show would be safe to the CDRH.

    In light of this fact, I retract my original objections to your comments about scanner safety designs. If you've managed to get that variance, you've proven that you know what the CDRH really will (and will not) allow.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a 3.5 ton slice of humble pie that's waiting for me in the kitchen...

    Adam

  7. #57
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    Hi Buffo,

    I am not as good at using the board, to do these fancy "quotes" that you do. So I will just intersperse my comments with yours, where needed.

    You asked:
    Why the resistance to adopting this board, do you think?

    My reply:
    Well, a few points. First, it's not a board, it's a circuit. We made one as a proof of principal, and we distributed it to a few interested parties. But really we have no intention on making a hardware board that does this job. Instead, our main intention is to disseminate the information to all interested parties so that they can integrate it themselves and thus, solve their own problem (making all of our lives easier). The circuit, historical perspective, and other information has been on our web site since last May, when we originally worked with AVI to solve this problem.

    As for why the resistance, my instinct is that it is two fold. First, I think the vast majority of people didn't think it was possible to solve this problem so easily. One laser manufacturer wrote to me and said that they had a guy working on this problem for a year, and still didn't come up with a solution. When I told him that I had a solution and that it was simple and cheep, he didn't even believe me!! So people seem to think the problem is very difficult to solve. With my background in servo control and other types of electronics, I could see one possible relatively easy solution that most other people apparently did not see. And second, I think people simple didn't know about the circuit, etc. Although it has been on our web site for a relatively long time, I never really felt like I "finished" the page, to the normal degree of polish we like to put on such pages. So it is not really linked into the rest of the site. Once I got it "to a point", I left it, but I do send the link privately to companies and individuals who I learn can benefit. Also, I am not sure, but I believe I have also posted the link here on PL. Anyway, here it is again incase anyone missed it:
    http://www.pangolin.com/resguide03d.htm

    Again, it is not what I would consider to be "finished" but some bright individuals can certainly take this information and run with it. Be sure to ask any questions you want (please send email since, regrettably, I don't often check this site). And one last point -- there is a sort of "does it all" circuit. Nobody needs that... You only need a single op amp, single diode, two pots, and a few resistors and caps. In some cases you might need a non-linear circuit after that, but if you do, just let me know and I will see if I can find time to update and complete the page.

    Regarding audience scanning variance, yes, we got one. It was not easy at all!! We submitted paperwork that was approximately a rheem of paper. Next, CDRH pondered it for around 2 years before finally granting the variance. Way too long... But it has always been (theoretically) possible to get a variance for Audience Scanning, and even the US CDRH themselves puts forth a (pretty old) document describing several possible ways of calculating audience scanning effects, etc. effectively documenting how it would be done and under what circumstances. What we devised is a system, which guarantees that the system will be safe, and guarantees this even under failure conditions. Under US guidelines, your system has to fail safe for any single-point failure. Our system goes far beyond that, being able to remain safe even in the face of five simultaneous system failures! I think that was a pretty impressive feat which helped convince CDRH that we knew what we were doing, besides the calculation and written proof-of-principal.

    Don't get me wrong. We didn't get approval to do what ever the heck we want, such as scanning the audience with a slow-moving 10W beam... Instead, what we got was approval to use our system which, as I said, basically guarantees safety for viewers, almost regardless of the projected imagery (within reason)...

    Bill

  8. #58
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    Congratulations Bill,

    Quite an achievment there. Ill bet there were some very happy people at Pangolin when the news came thru!

    Finally the US gets audience scanning
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    https://www.facebook.com/kvantaus/

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  9. #59
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    Wow that certainly is a great victory here in the states. Audience scanning, as we all know, adds a whole new dimension to laser shows. I remember traveling to Munich Germany several years ago and visiting the now defunct Forum der Teknic planetarium. The laser show there was terrific! Not only were they doing audience scanning from a projector in the front of the theater, they were also doing audience scanning from two fiber fed scan heads on robotic arms on either side of the star projector. They had even told me that they had plans to drill a hole at the zenith and add another fiber fed scan head! It was sad to hear that the theater shut down. Went bankrupt from the IMAX theater from what I understand...

    David

  10. #60
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    Thanks for the kudos guys!

    Yes, it is great news for the US. The market for, and practice of laser lightshows in the US has been steadily declining since 2001. This will certainly help revitalize it.

    We are taking a very "slow and steady" approach to this as well. The system has gone through peer review by people at Rockwell Laser Industries, and of course the close scrutiny of CDRH themselves. Our plan now is to go through about a year of in-the-field testing before releasing any kind of product. Basically, by the time something is released it will be really bulletproof. This will be a must to help combat any kind of frivolous law suits.

    Bill

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