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Thread: Lasershow software for music-based shows?

  1. #11
    Join Date
    May 2019
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    Isla Mujeres
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    Default Sync to music

    We did it useing a TEAC 80-8 with 2 tracks as the music, 2 tracks with the analog scanner signals (X and Y) and one track feeding the cassette input of an apple II which could supply CG sequences. And we still operated the analog control panel during the show. I still remember all the licks, changes, and so on of the music we used, and that was 35 years ago!! Nice thing about the reel to reel was the ability to stop the music, then manually roll the tape back with your hands till you heard that change, or beat, or.... and set up a different pattern and then hit record and you could nail it.

    I once dreamed of using an audio spectrum analyzer that could be linked to the control panel, but only dreams.

    good luck with your search.

    Steve
    Last edited by Vger; 05-14-2019 at 18:49.

  2. #12
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    Jan 2006
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    Charleston, SC
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    2,147,488,804

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    Quote Originally Posted by Timbermonson View Post
    I've always been a fan of scanner shows synced to music
    What software could I use to make shows with this level of synchronization?
    I've messed with quickshow & beyond a bit, and I'm wondering if there's any programs out there better suited to the task.
    If you already have Quickshow and Beyond, you already have some very capable software tools to create beam shows like the one you linked to. I mean, that's literally what those programs were designed to do, and they are the two most popular software packages (in terms of sheer numbers) currently available.

    There are several other software packages on the market, and each one has it's own quirks, but by and large they all function the same way, with the same basic workflow. In summary, you have a timeline with your audio track that you can add frames (and animations) to and then you apply effects to those frames (or animations) to build each "look" for the show. It's a time-consuming process no matter what software you use.

    If you aren't happy with Quickshow and Beyond, you'll need to explain in detail what you don't like about those programs in order for anyone to offer an alternative solution. Admittedly there are a few programs for editing laser shows that are outliers in that they use a very different user interface and/or have a radically altered workflow, but they are not nearly as popular in the marketplace and would not be something I would recommend to someone just getting started with lasers.

    Adam

  3. #13
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    Aug 2008
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    UK
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    I agree with Adam. This is what Beyond is made for.

    Can't see what issues you're having unless you're using MP3's = don't! They alter sync every time they're decompressed to be played ruining any timings.

    Use WAV's and you won't go far wrong. Everything in that song can be done in Beyond and the Beyond timeline is incredibly precise. Timings are in the millisecond range from memory so you should be able to sync everything precisely.

    If you're looking for a program that will create that type of show automatically, then there isn't one. Sync'ing mostly takes 2 forms, beat based either sound reactive to beat detection or via a pre-set beat, or timeline where the user builds a show dropping cue changes and effects onto the timeline and syncing them manually to exact changes / nuances in the music. With the exception of Chris Short's Abstract shows, you'll find many ILDA award wining shows are created in Beyond. Nearly all pro shows are manually written on the timeline.

  4. #14
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    Jun 2009
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    St. Louis, MO
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    When Ivan and Charlie premiered Laserium back in November of 1973, They called on some friends to help do the show. Four guys - each with two sliders – controlled the x/y gain to one of the four RYGB scan pairs, and Ivan or Charlie controlled the frequencies of two war surplus sine wave generators for the Lissajous patterns used to perform “The Blue Danube”. Obviously, five or six laserists per show wasn’t cost effective. The problem was - recording the Lissajous signals after the gain changes requires 4 times the bandwidth of the original X/Y Lissajous signals. And recording even 1 X/Y signal – with decent quality playback – wasn’t cost effective in 1973. So instead of recording the image signals after the four extra guys manipulated them - they decided to isolated the gain signals from the sliders – and recorded those much lower bandwidth signals. On playback we used those signals to emulate the contribution of those four guys had on the Lissajous signals that were generated with another emulated 8 bit analog Lissajous “rate” control and 4 bits to select between “loops” and “eights”. Here’s the thing – I’ve written and talked about Laserium’s data channel way more than once, and the first production machine patent had even more information, but I didn’t and I don’t remember anybody explicitly saying, “It was the emulation of the things we didn’t have the bandwidth to record that set Laserium apart.” The emulation allowed the laserist to do the cool stuff – Quadrature Image manipulation, color mod, chopper, joystick, selsyn, fiber focus, lumia, etc. while the emulation did the lower level repetitive stuff that takes too much time for one guy to do much of anything but those things, most of the time – especially in real time. We had the benefit of all those guys doing what was essentially meta-choreography and we could play with it or override some or all of it. Eventually technology arrived that allowed the entire show to be recorded – and we did that – but we still did the Emulation/Laserist style shows in planetariums, because Laserium was a labor of love for most of us, and taking a show that was as good as we could make it when it premiered and making it better and different and our own night after night was right up there with the what we loved most about doing Laserium.
    "There are painters who transform the sun into a yellow spot, but there are others who, with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun." Pablo Picasso

  5. #15
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    May 2019
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    Isla Mujeres
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    Very well put! I loved sitting behind the panel covered with switches, sliders, joysticks and buttons in between the 8 channel tape and the LASER power supply and putting on shows. And of course remembering the invariable question from audience members “How do you do all that” still brings a big smile to my face.

    Steve

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