Electronic Zoo – Snakes with Lasers!

2016 marked the 17th year of the famous Electric Zoo here in the United States.

Approximately 100,000 fans gathered together on the ‘Wild Island’, aka Randall’s Island Park, to experience the electric urban jungle that overtakes New York City.

The festival rang true to its promise of “new stage designs inspired by larger-than-life animals and the thrill of exploring new worlds…”, eliciting excitement from zoo-goers with an insane white and black cobra that was the main stage.

Approximately 70’ high, the cobra seemingly lurked until it came alive with lighting, video walls, and Pyrotecnico’s close proximity pyrotechnics, flames, confetti, and lasers. One of the most captivating moments was when the cobra beamed its bright green laser eyes out across the Wild Island, while lasers hovered just above the audience.

“Pyrotecnico FX is proud to have been part of Electric Zoo for a third year. Each year we strive to do something different and even more creative for our client and the audience. When we saw the stage design this year, our laser lead, Jesse Parker, saw the opportunity to bring the cobra “alive” in laser. Along with ten FX Series 20w RGB, and two FX Series 24w green lasers (for the cobra’s eyes), he used Pangolin’s Beyond software with FB3 hardware to design the effects and control the lasers to make this awesome effect.”, Pyrotecnico Creative Director Rocco Vitale.

**Photo credit must read “Photo Credit: aLIVE Coverage”

SHOW TEC:

FX Series KVANT Spectrum 20W Lasers
Pangolin BEYOND Laser Show Software
FB3QS Laser Control Hardware

BEYOND Laser Show Software – Advanced PangoScript and Universe Features

BEYOND laser show software is revolutionizing laser control, for thousands of people around the world. The advanced PangoScript and Universe tools inside the program allow you as a client to customize BEYOND, to meet your own specific show needs and requirements.

In this latest tutorial from Nathan Miller, you can learn some advanced programming and setup techniques, that can be used when working with BEYOND PangoScript and the BEYOND Universe. These features can be implemented to create your own custom commands, for protocols like DMX, ArtNet, OSC and SMPTE timecode.

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With many of these advanced tools, we are now also seeing clients using BEYOND for more than just laser show control and the software is evolving into a true multimedia control platform in that regard. For control of lasers, video, lighting and more.

If you have any specific tutorial requests, we also invite your feedback. Shoot us a message using our contact form, and let us know more about your requests for future tutorial videos.

Marriott World Center

A recent high-profile multimedia installation at the iconic Marriott World Center in Orlando, FL, called ‘Light up the Night’ further illustrates how lasers are taking multimedia shows to the next level. This installation broke new ground, as the whole production was sold to the Marriott as a revenue-generating model, which is a bit different from the general notion of selling special FX and multimedia installations, as “entertainment packages”. Mitchell Piper, owner at K-Systems AV, and award winning Creative Designer Gabe Letourneau led the project, showing the Marriott how such an installation could be used to further increase revenues at the property.

Before the project was sold, K-Systems actually setup a demonstration for the Marriott so that they could calculate the real return on investment that would be garnered by proceeding with the concept. And what the Marriott found was that by installing this sort of multimedia setup, they were able to increase client bookings, food and beverage sales, as well as the sale of corporate event packages, by huge margins.

The installation was done at the Marriott World Center’s beautiful resort pool area, which overlooks the hotel property. Lasers serve as the main element in this multimedia setup, and are used to project beautiful beam affects over the pool, bar and lounge area. The lasers are also used to project logos for corporate clients the Marriott hosts, which come for various tradeshows and events taking place at the property.

What made this installation so interesting from a design and technology standpoint, was the use of new laser control and laser projector technology, from industry experts Pangolin Laser Systems, Inc. and KVANT s.r.o.

Since 1986, Pangolin has been the world’s leading provider of laser entertainment technology. The company has received 28 international patents, and products made by Pangolin Systems have also contributed to more than 400 artistic awards for their clients. And for over 20 years, KVANT has been a highly respected manufacturer of laser projectors for entertainment applications. And they readily integrate Pangolin technology into their systems, ensuring that they remain on the cutting-edge of the laser projector market.

In 2015, Pangolin started a new division of the company called the Pangolin Projector Referral Network, which was founded to provide clients with professional quality laser projectors that are the best choice for a given application. Considering that Pangolin developed and pioneered the laser show control and safety technology used for the large majority of laser performances worldwide, they felt there were in a good position to begin assisting clients with the purchase of laser projection systems as well.

Pangolin’s Chief Operating Officer Justin Perry, comments on the start of this new division… “Pangolin is one of the most trusted brands in the laser entertainment industry. And for many years, clients have contacted us asking for information and advise on which laser systems they should use for different shows and applications they have taking place. Considering that we developed much of the laser control technology powering the industry, and that we understand the differences between various laser projectors on the market today – as well as how these lasers fit into the diverse types of shows and projects taking place, we felt we were in a great position to serve the industry as a whole – helping clients obtain professional laser projectors, that are right for their desired application. And with our great relationships in the market, we are able to provide our clients with aggressive price points on these laser projectors, as well as back them up with the first class support and service customers have come to love from Pangolin. Our new division ensures that clients have a seamless experience when integrating lasers into a project or show.”

So for the Marriott World Center multimedia project, K-Systems turned to Pangolin for assistance with all laser related aspects of the show – including the installation of five high power KVANT laser projectors, driven with Pangolin’s new FB4 hardware, and all controlled using Pangolin’s BEYOND software.

From a technical perspective, this installation was quite innovative in nature, as several new laser and multimedia technologies were combined together, to leave the Marriott with a self-running and self-sufficient installation, which in many ways is entirely “maintenance free”.

One of the exciting technologies being utilized at the Marriott installation is Pangolin’s new laser control hardware platform, called FB4. This state-of-the-art laser control hardware is entirely network based, and gets built directly inside of a laser projector, acting as a sort of “media server” for laser shows.

FB4 hardware supports all major show protocols, including DMX, ArtNet, Network, OSC, SMPTE, and ILDA… And will also have support for CITP in the near future. FB4 allows lighting professionals to control lasers in complete harmony with other multimedia show elements, seamlessly integrating lasers into any show, installation, production, or event.

Most lasers on the market today utilize the older “ILDA” protocol for control. Where an “ILDA cable” (which is really a DB-25 male to female connection) is run from a control station to a laser projector. While the ILDA protocol has served the laser show industry well for many years, with the growth in popularity of multimedia show productions, the need for more advanced laser control has grown.

Pangolin’s new FB4 hardware is revolutionizing the industry in that regard, providing full network control of laser shows, without the need to use the outdated ILDA cable. And now designers can control lasers entirely from a lighting console (via ArtNet or DMX), from a PC (via a CAT5 cable), or in auto-mode, using FB4’s proprietary memory system. And all effects for the laser can easily be programmed in Pangolin software, and then saved to the FB4 hardware, inside the laser. Making it very simple to create complex laser shows, which can be controlled in a variety of different ways. FB4 hardware has also been used on a variety of tours and events, including the recent Metallica World Tour, TomorrowLand festival in Belgium, as well as the recent Pretty Lights performance at the Serpent Festival in Australia.

KVANT’s new line professional laser projectors also integrate Pangolin’s FB4 hardware, providing complete network control for any of their systems. And KVANT is leading the industry in that respect, being the first laser projector manufacturer to have systems with integrated FB4 control hardware available.

This is why KVANT lasers were chosen for the project, as K-Systems and their constituents at the Marriott demanded technology that would be self sufficient, and easily interface with other multimedia show elements.

In addition to lasers, high resolution video screens, G-Spot moving head lights from well known manufacturer SGM, and a series of haze machines from MDG surround the resort area, providing a nice backdrop to the powerful lasers, which entertain guests and clients from around the world.

Pangolin’s BEYOND software is being used to control nearly all aspects of the show, including the lasers, video and even some of the DMX lighting.

The BEYOND software is very powerful, and has a lot of options for compatibility with other media, including Timecode. Because of this, the team at K-Systems (led by Creative Designer Gabe Letourneau) were able to do things like take in LTC and OSC commands, and send things like midi triggers to other consoles (including the GrandMA) and equipment that could be added in the future.

In a recent interview, Letourneau notes… “In order to control as many elements as possible from one single point of access, we had BEYOND control the lasers, video, and audio, all on a single timeline.

This is really helpful if you need to make a quick change, or add or remove any elements. This also allows us to easily change and edit content on the fly, when the show needs to be customized. Given that the Marriott requested the ability to customize content quickly for various clients, events, or promotions they have taking place, we felt that BEYOND’s versatility made it an excellent control platform in that regard. Having everything in BEYOND also allows us to avoid any timecode delays or complications, and keeps everything on the exact same clock. Because all of the content on BEYOND’s timeline is within a few frames, nothing will ever be off. And we can organize different parts of the show’s timing very easily, just buy selecting all of the content in one area, and sliding it into place…

… All of this flows nicely as we have BEYOND controlling the GrandMA as well. The Pharos software oversees the day elements of the show (such as property lighting) and then triggers the LTC to start BEYOND, which is controlling the GrandMA. We also send audio to a Rane HAL, and a Control 4 video system. The setup works really well, and makes it very easy to make changes or customize content when required. And because of this, the installation can essentially run itself. “

The whole Marriott Light up the Night project further illustrates how lasers are being used as the centerpiece at a wide variety of events, installations and shows. As well as how new laser technology from companies like Pangolin and KVANT, are helping lasers more easily interface with other multimedia show elements, making it easier for designers to create, control and run synchronized large scale events.

Due to the success of the installation and it’s ability to generate revenue for the establishment, Marriott is already is already exploring the idea of installing this same concept at a variety of other hotel and property locations. And because of the high profile nature of the project, K-Systems has also received a variety of inquiries from other hotel and event establishments. The owner of K-Systems Mitchell Piper goes on to note… “We are extremely proud of the Marriott installation, and it’s notability for being one of the more technically sophisticated multimedia installations taking place at a hotel property. The install serves as a great model for future projects of this kind, and we at K-Systems are extremely excited to bring the concept to more establishments around the world.”

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Show Tech 

5 x KVANT Spectrum 20W OPSL/DIODE Lasers with Integrated FB4 Network Hardware

1 x BEYOND Essentials Software License

1 x GrandMA Control Wing

Laser Show Control – BEYOND, GrandMAX, FB4 and ClubMAX Laser Projector

Laser show control from a lighting console is a popular topic right now as more and more lighting designers are entering the laser scene. At the recent Serpent Festival in Australia, Lighting Designer Greg Ellis of Pretty Lights performed a stunning laser light show, controlling the new ClubMAX 3000 lasers with FB4, from a GrandMA 2 console. Effect programming was done entirely using the Pangolin BEYOND software, and then run from the GrandMA 2 console. The team at Lumina Visual Production (Australia) provided the ClubMAX-FB4 3000 laser systems, for the event.

 


Show Tech

The new Pangolin FB4 hardware makes control of lasers from a lighting console easier than ever, with advanced support for all major lighting protocols, including DMX, ArtNET, Network and OSC, as well as common laser protocols including the standard “ILDA” connection.

Creating and controlling content for use with a lighting console, is very easy to do. Simply design your desired effects (using our popular QuickShow or BEYOND laser show software programs) and then save that content to the on-board memory, that comes standard with all FB4 hardware. Install one of our profiles for the lighting console of your choice (we support all major consoles) and then you can control the content you create in real-time. And this can also be done, with NO PC used, during the show performance.

On the laser projector side of things, all you will need a laser show system with Pangolin’s FB4 Network Hardware integrated. We at Pangolin provide a wide-variety of FB4 compatible lasers, that work in perfect harmony with both BEYOND or QuickShow laser show software, as well as with popular lighting consoles. You can see our lineup of FB4 compatible laser systems online, by Clicking Here.

When you use a laser with FB4, you also open up a lot more control possibilities as well. As these new lasers can be entirely controlled via DMX, ArtNet or Network. They also support the ILDA connection, if desired or required for your show. You can learn more about FB4, and see the various control possibilities available with this hardware, by Clicking Here.

Laser Show Projectors – How to make them last longer

Have you ever wondered…

Why did my laser projector fail?
Why is my laser projector less bright?
Why are my laser projector’s colors different? 

If you have asked yourself questions like these, don’t feel bad – You are not alone! Every day people around the world experience this very same issue, and have the unpleasant experience of having to deal with a broken or unusable laser show projector, that is the result of premature laser diode failure. And premature laser diode failure is caused in many cases, by electro-static discharge (ESD) and power surges. Thankfully, there is a solution, and it’s called LASORB!

THE PROBLEM WITH LASER DIODES
Nearly all laser show projectors, have laser modules inside. And inside most laser modules, are laser diodes. A laser diode is a small semiconductor device that produces coherent radiation. A diagram is shown below, illustrating what a standard professional laser show projector looks like. The picture next to this, shows you inside of the laser projector, so you can see what a typical laser module looks like. And next to that, you see inside the laser module, where the sensitive laser diodes live.

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Laser diodes are very fast devices that react rapidly to changing voltage and current. And scientific evidence suggests that many laser diodes fail long before their life expectancy, in many cases, because of ESD and power surges that are generated during power on/off cycles. Voltage spikes are often produced at these times, and their cumulative effect on laser diodes is highly detrimental. Even a small ESD event or power surge, can substantially harm a laser diode to the point where it is noticeably less powerful, or in a worse case scenario, entirely unusable.  So if you have ever wondered “Why did my laser projector fail?, Why is my laser projector less bright?  or Why are my laser projector’s colors different? …  Chances are, an ESD related event or power surge, was the culprit.

WHAT IS NEEDED TO PROTECT A LASER DIODE
Based on our extensive testing and evaluation, we developed and patented a new method of protecting laser diodes — a hybrid component called LASORB, that keeps ESD and power surge spikes from exceeding the diode’s normal operating voltage. LASORB also absorbs high energy in the circuit until ESD and power surges subside, as current is shunted away from the diode. Thus, protecting your sensitive laser diodes, and ultimately, your valuable laser show projector.

HOW LASORB PROECTS LASER DIODES
LASORB’s primary means of protection is a slew-rate detector that monitors the voltage across the pins of the laser diode. If there is a fast change-of-voltage condition detected, this triggers LASORB to aggressively conduct the voltage (and thus current) away from the laser diode. The conduction is initiated very rapidly – in some cases less than one nanosecond. The conduction can last from several microseconds, to tens of microseconds.

THE SOLUTION

Next time you go to purchase a laser show projector, make sure to ask the manufacturer if LASORB is installed, on the laser diodes used within the unit. This is a sure-fire way, to get an idea of the quality of the system. LASORB is very inexpensive, and can cost as little as $2 for manufacturers to integrate. So if your provider is not using LASORB, ask them why! Think of it as an insurance policy for your laser projector, which will protect it from ESD and power surges. You can also integrate LASORB into your existing system, or you can browse Pangolin’s line of professional laser projectors, all of which feature the LASORB component, on each and every singe laser diode used. You can see our complete lineup of systems, at http://www.getalaser.com.

SEEING IS BELIEVING
Below you can watch a live video (shot with an iPhone, and not fancy editing) that shows LASORB in action, protecting the popular 520nm GREEN laser diodes, so commonly used across the laser show industry.


 

We've received a lot of questions from clients, asking for more informaiton about ZONES inside of Pangolin software, and how to use zones to create better laser shows.

A zone is (essentialy) a tool inside of all Pangolin software, that allows you to output laser content to different projection areas, from a single or multiple laser projectors.

For example, if you have one laser, and you wanted to project an atomospheric effect over people's heads, and at the same time project a graphic/logo in another area, you could use our zones tool to help configure this. Zones go much deeper, but this provides a basic idea of what a zone is, and how it might be used in a real world scenario. 

Another example of using a zone, is if you wanted multiple types of atomostpheric laser effects to be projected (perhaps a wave in one area, and hot beams in another area), you can use the zones settings to configure this in Pangolin laser software. 

We've created the following Pangolin Tutorial video, to help address the commonly asked questions "what is a zone", "how do I use zones to create better laser shows", "how do I setup a zone", etc. 

We hope you find this informational. More tutorials are coming, and if you have a request for future tutorials, share it with us!