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Thread: The history of Laser show controllers and software, post your contributions here.

  1. #151
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmurph5 View Post
    Richard Gonsalves kindly offered to digitize some old ILDA video tapes I have. He might be willing to do those as well.

    -- Patrick Murphy
    I still can - just haven't received any tapes.
    ~Richard

  2. #152
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    I am just noticing this thread again and wow - Some great info!

    Some time ago (before SELEM 2017 even) I had started my own little wiki project of documenting everything I could find and remember. Then figured I would fill in more parts as time went on. I've had the domain over 20 years, none of it is going anywhere (stable place to contribute information.)

    It's online at http://lasershowwiki.757.org

    I have open registration turned off but I should make a system to allow laser geeks to register and add content.

    Would anyone be willing to help mind map this stuff?

    At the next SELEM I am hoping to rent a trailer to bring more stuff to event. If this happens I will bring a rack that has lots of tape machines. I have black ADATs + HD24, and on the video side IE DV decoder + commercial SVHS, 3/4" UMatic and Super Beta decks. I have the hardware to do analog video to SDI and HDSDI and hardware H264 capture systems, so if there is old material it could be dumped off to digital for those that want to use it to archive things.

    I've mentioned it to DK and Swamidog ... but I can't even think where to start. Laser shows ... the documentary!

  3. #153
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    Quote Originally Posted by Motoguzzler View Post
    As usual I found something I was not looking for but it stimulated my interest!! I was the Production Manager then Chief Engineer for Laserpoint from 1986 to 1991 and was responsible for the Aquarius Laser controller. Jean Michel den Hartog was on contract to the company during that period and was a very capable hardware and software engineer working in our small development team of JM, me and Lee Hearnden. Overall concept was mine as I wanted to use standard industrial bus system so we could use off the shelf parts. The first laser controller the company produced was the Scorpion followed by the Aries. The Aries used a BBC micro platform implemented as a Cube Universal industrial bus and multiplying DAC boards so the the methodology was the same. Front end of the Aquarius was an STE bus XT computer with the processing for the display being done by 64180 custom built processor boards - up to eight were possible with the STE bus backplane. Processing shortcomings of the XT meant we had to design another custom board, again 64180, to handle keyboard and digitiser input. GM120 scanners were driven by an OEM drive card fed from the analogue output of the 64180 image processing boards. XT front end allowed software to be developed on a standard platform. 64180 (extended address bus Z80!!) was cross assembled from C+ then I brought in an assembly language programmer to speed it up. The same multiplying DAC principle was used however the increased processing power allowed some virtual DAC's to be introduced giving a greater depth of modulation. I have kept in touch with JM and he has his own company in Affolten, Switzerland, designing high end LED lighting effects systems. It was a fun job with tremendous pressure and fond memories. Also see Ram Malocca, our former road crew manager, at Creative Media Techniques Ltd.
    I remember Ram I met him twice in NYC once in the mid eighties when he was working on the crew from the UK that installed a laser projector for the Broadway bomb Carrie it lasted a day or two and closed. This was the start of my interest in Laser shows also I met him again when we were studying with Norman Ballard for our NYC Class B laser licenses in the 90s. I would love to get his info and contact him.
    Michael
    1988 Broadway Production[edit]

    The show transferred to Broadway at an expense of $8 million (at the time an exorbitant amount). Hateley (who ultimately won a Theatre World Award) and other members of the UK cast remained with the show, but Cook was replaced by Betty Buckley (who had played the teacher Miss Collins in the 1976 film version).
    The show started previews on April 28, 1988, at the Virginia Theatre. After the final song, boos were heard mixed in with applause. Ken Mandelbaum is quoted by Wollman, MacDermot, and Trask: "Ken Mandelbaum writes of an audience divided during early previews, the curtain calls of which were greeted with a raucous mix of cheers and boos.[5] However, in an instant, when Linzi Hateley and Betty Buckley rose to take their bows, the entire theatre turned to a standing ovation. According to the New York Times, "The show had received standing ovations at some previews, as well as on opening night..."[6] The show officially opened on May 12, 1988. Hampered by scathing reviews, and despite the fact that the theatre was sold out every night,[1] the financial backers pulled their money out of the show, and it closed on May 15 after only 16 previews and 5 performances, guaranteeing its place in theatre history as one of the most expensive disasters of all time. According to The New York Times, the "more-than-$7 million show...was the most expensive quick flop in Broadway history."[6]
    Last edited by mmuhler; 02-13-2018 at 10:12.
    Dreamcaster Multimedia
    Visit our website:
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  4. #154
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eidetic View Post
    I posted the following quite a while ago, but think it belongs here too. It's an ad from Billboard magazine in 1969 for Sonovision. "Sonovision was a company started by legendary laser pioneer and later holographer Lloyd Cross in Ann Arbor, Michigan. As soon as visible CW lasers became available to college students in the mid-'60s, you know the protohippies amongst them were trippin' out watchin' dancing beams in smoky labs late at night. It took a few years for lasers to get small enough to be put inside a portable projector, but even then it was the years of colored oil on overhead projectors with moire patterns and slides. Anyone having a flashback?

    Cross formed Sonovision in '68 and in August of '69 exhibited his projector at a local meeting of the Optical Society of America. He also "set it up as pre-movie entertainment at an Ann Arbor cinema." ("Holographic Visions", Sean Johnston). Was this really the first laser light show projector? The first laser light shows?"

    Attachment 50554
    What an interesting thread! I have a related advert for the Sonovision :
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails ralph morse.jpg  


  5. #155
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    Quote Originally Posted by Photonbeam View Post
    My first laser graphics computer system (1977) was an IMSAI 8080, S100 bus, Cromemco 7ch DA card, 16K ram, programmed through the front panel switches using XY coordinates on graph paper with storage on cassette tape. Wrote my own software in machine language. Later added ADM3A dumb terminal, Micropolis floppies and Summa tablet. Next was Apple IIe (1979) with homemade wirewrapped dac card, Apple tablet. We used this for a long time, even on tours. I showed it to Woz when we did Michael Jackson at Dodger Stadium (1984). During this time LaserMedia was using ZAP. Then I think early '90's, I had to decide between LaserMax from Bob Ash or Patrick Murphy's new LSD on Amiga. LSD didn't support blanking so went with LaserMax on IBM PC XT, then 286, 386. Next up was X29 and FullAuto from Bob Ash / New Method Lasers. Then I traded my graphics library, mostly generated with LaserMax (then sold by Laser Productions Network) to Pangolin for Pro and Intro QM32. I think that library is still included with Pangolin. Eventually upgraded to LD2000. I still have a LD2000 Pro and X29-2 / FullAuto. I'm done.
    I just saw this old post by Photonbeam. The Apple IIe system he is referring to was my Laser Master system that started out in 1979 with a wire-wrap DAC card made by my brother and a Motorola EE. Photonbeam used a 2nd generation of this first prototype board, followed by a 3rd generation version consisting of only two chips, a quad opamp and dual DAC chip, all of which I referred to as Apple DAC boards. I sold a number of these systems, two of them to long time members of this forum, three to Dallas/Ft. Worth planetariums, three of which ultimately became the LaserMaster 2.0 system (one is mine) consisting of 4 65C02 co-processor boards, plus RAMDrives and a TimeMaster clock card in an Apple IIe, I've mentioned on this forum in other posts.

    I gave a 3rd generation Apple DAC board, software, images and an updated DAC driver for RGB blanking to icecruncher, on this forum. I think he's planning on demonstrating this single-card system on his IIgs at SELEM 13 in a few weeks.
    ________________________________
    Everything depends on everything else

  6. #156
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    You can ad Phoenix also to the list now. Mr brenner said that they would continue to support the customers and keep it alive but of course it it was obvious that phoenix was bought to play out the competition. Pangolin , the company that "helps" the lasercommunity yeah right....


    Interested in a system or modules? Feel free to contact us directly!

  7. #157
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    if im not mistaken the original version of Merlin was on apple iie (and i think may have used apple dac aswell)
    i do have the source code still around but non of the hardware

    but i do have both the isa and pci version of the dac for msdos version of Merlin that came after the apple version (including all source code for all versions)
    the latest version ran on dos7 (and there was a linux version in the works that was unfinished )

    codded by Dan Cohn of technological artisans (1981-2010)
    Last edited by VJ AIWAZ; 07-24-2019 at 07:19.

  8. #158
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    Quote Originally Posted by VJ AIWAZ View Post
    if im not mistaken the original version of Merlin was on apple iie (and i think may have used apple dac aswell)
    i do have the source code still around but non of the hardware

    but i do have both the isa and pci version of the dac for msdos version of Merlin that came after the apple version (including all source code for all versions)
    the latest version ran on dos7 (and there was a linux version in the works that was unfinished )

    codded by Dan Cohn of technological artisans (1981-2010)
    I've got a number of old business cards from back in the day, and Merlin jogged my memory. Here is one of his, Merlin/Viewsic Laser Visuals, Beverly Hill, CA.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    ________________________________
    Everything depends on everything else

  9. #159
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    Cool business card! Something about the way the wizard is rendered reminds me of the “starchild woman” on the front of the aurora PSUs.Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	55731

  10. #160
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    That PSU is Gary Stadler's work, right?

    He's also one of the guys who did the "wormhole" effect in the original "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" movie. (Where the Enterprise tries to go to warp but the engines aren't balanced, so they end up in a "wormhole" that looks like a complicated lissajous pattern.) The effect was accomplished with an orange HeNe laser and a pair of AOMs that were used to "scan" the beam at a tiny angle (less than 1 degree). That's how they were able to get such a complicated pattern to scan using late 1970's tech.

    I bought some AOMs from him in the early 2000s and chatted back and fourth with him via e-mail several times. Really nice guy with a ton of old-school laser history under his belt!

    Adam

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