Full colour Laser projectors

Mixing the colours red, green and blue lights can generate the visual illusion of different colours. This is the same as the colours produced by a computer monitor or television. There are two ways of controlling the brightness or power output of the laser (modulation): TTL and Analogue. Analogue can vary between 0 and 5 volts whereas TTL can only be on or off.

Put simply; TTL based lasers can only produce six colours and white which isn't very good. Analogue modulation has a far larger colour pallette which produces all those amazing different hues that are essential for a professional laser display. The difference is breath taking and stays in your customers memories for a long time.

Colour laser displays

The majority of laser displays are used to add effects to enhance musical and theatrical events or for product advertising. In all of these events the laser has to perform a specific purpose either to display your company and logo or enhance music. To do this well one needs animations and graphic images suitable to your requirements, and they will be needed to be projected at specific places or times throughout the event. This is only possible if one has an operator This is obvious for corporate events but it still applies to music.

The majority of display lasers are capable of automatic operations and will change pattern according to the beat. Beat detection can change the display upon sound but they are not good at counting the number of beats in a bar or when the bar starts or finishes. Automatic function also gives you no choice of what patterns are played or when. And at best provide a display of changing patterns when it sees fit. If you are purchasing a display laser, look at the preset patterns provided with the laser. The flying eagle looks great but you will rarely need it and remember that these images are on nearly every laser makers products. This popularity means it will be everywhere and your new colour laser will look the same as every other club laser thus the better laser displays have DMX control.

DMX laser

This uses the standard lighting interface to control the display laser. DMX allows you to switch between the patterns provided, and control attributes like colour size and position. Using DMX allows a skilled lighting technician to produce a good display given that there are a some decent animations available to him and the patterns are not filled with flying eagles, cocktail glasses and cartoon characters. These images may sell the display laser but as effects they are a bit pointless and as music venues use scanning effects, where the audience looks towards the laser. In these situations graphics are pointless and do not give a pleasing display.

Computer controllable

This enables the best displays providing that the computer is controlled by a human being. It will allow you to reprogram your laser and set your own patterns which you can design on the computer. You can type text directly into the laser and see it displayed instantly. You can design your own patterns and build up show groups. A skilled operator could programme sequences that could run automatically as the software has better and more sophisticated beat detection including tap timing and keyboard entry. The operator is still needed to select and switch in the sequences according to the music and be ready to cope with those gaps in the music. Only a human can keep tempo during the quiet moments in music and bring out the waves and scans for hands to pass through as the beams pass just above the heads of the audience. So, if you want your venue and display to be the best use an operator. ( If you use automatic display without an operator on a class 3 laser or above; the beam must not go within 6 metres of where the audience can stand. ) There are many programmes available that allow a computer to run club lighting and are designed so that they need little skill or training to use them. You will find many people that claim to be lighting technicians that only know how to use the software. I can use Flight Simulator on a computer but would you want me to pilot the jumbo you are flying in? Computer control is usually done via the ILDA connection.

ILDA connection

This is a standard connection for interfacing the computer and laser It was proposed by laserists in The USA and has become the de-facto standard. The ILDA connection specifies the pin connections for the lasers, the scanners and indication of connection for interlock system. The specification ILDA compatible shows no warranty or quality, only that it has a compatible connector. It does not guarantee that all ILDA functions are implemented. It is like saying that a video has a SCART socket and it does not say that it is fully implemented. It also does not tell you if the laser are TTL modulation with six colours or Analogue modulation with thousands of colours.