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Lasers!

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Pie4Weebl, Feb 15, 2008.

  1. Pie4Weebl

    Pie4Weebl Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    So I one comment repeated a lot by some potential clients is that they would like lasers. Alas I know nothing about lazers so I don't know what I would be looking for to buy. I want something that will look good in a small or medium sized club, and something that is safe to scan the audience with, so I don't have to worry about renting it to someone and having them blind the audiance.

    So what are your suggestions?
     
  2. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    Do you want something that has a moving mirror, or just something that fires out lasers? For moving mirror, look at the AMDJ Emerald Scan II. For static, there are a number of options - look at the chauvet and AMDJ lines.

    There are no lasers that are actually safe to point at the audience to my knowledge, yet people always point them in to the audience.
     
  3. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    All sorts of nice simple solid state lasers like soundlight said.

    <flashback>
    Ahhh!! Now back in the 80s! That was the time of nice big dangerous lasers, with all sorts of caustic chemicals and gas arc tubes with huge high voltage power supplies! You could blind yourself, electrocute yourself, burn yourself with acid, or poison yourself .... and all before you were even done setting up! Oh, how I miss the 80s!!
    </flashback>

    Most of the Chauvet, AMDJ, or any other modern unit have a slew of built in safeties and are based around a low wattage LED laser diode. More powerful than a laser pointer, but same basic stuff. They work best if there is a haze in the air. Since there are no primary optics, there is not a huge variation in the source and most are defined by the color and type of mirror system they use. One cautionary note: (imoho) I have never been happy that what is considered "safe exposure" is truly safe. I know some people that have developed eye problems with exposures that should have been safe, specifically laser pointers. As far as I know, all new models do this, but makes sure the unit you chose can not put out a static beam, especially if it is leaving your control.
     
  4. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

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    Check out the chauvet scorpeon. They are sweet units. They are available in Red, green, yellow and red/green, and red green yellow. They can go to the beat of the music and be master slaved together or be controlled via DMX. They are very bright, and they are built upon "FAT BEAM" technology to make them around 10mw. The way "Fat Beam" works is that it uses two (in the case of red) 4.9mw lasers focused together (just like stacking projectors) to increase the output, but it still stands within FDA regulations, so you dont need any special variences or anything like that. We have two of the green versions and they are very sweet and do a nice liquid sky.
     
  5. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    Anything not requiring a variance won't be adequate for a club. Unless you want the punters to say "look at the toy laser pointer" and laugh at it.

    Depending on the layout of the room, I'd look at a minimum of 300 mW, and make it either multi-color and/or full graphics. You'll need an FDA variance, tho. The laser company can walk you through the paperwork, and will also help set it up if you spend enough money on it. Last club I saw one in was full graphics and really nice. I can't remember who built it tho. Cost about $25K, IIRC and this was in a club that was about 50' wide by 100' long by about 18' high ceiling.
     
  6. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    You forgot "drown yourself" as all of Laser Media's systems were water-cooled, and required a cold water supply of X gpm and appropriate waste lines as well. That was the biggest hassle I faced, explaining to a hotel why I needed a water supply within Y feet of the interior of the ballroom. Well that and the fact that to project custom line art, camera-ready artwork had to be supplied 30 days in advance so LM could burn the EPROM. A guy named Terry from I think Milwaukee learned lasers in the medical profession, and could actually trace line drawings on-site and record them to an 8-inch floppy disk. About 2003, I saw a laser company using a Commodore 128 to drive their lasers. I just about fell over. I abandoned that machine in 1988! They had the typical cyan (green) AND full color!

    Pie, as others have said, just explain to your potential clients that lasers are cost-prohibitive. If they won't listen, offer to sub-contrat the job to http://www.creativelasermedia.com/ or www.pyrotekfx.com (TSO supplier) or the like, and when you give them the price and they fall over; help the client up, and then offer other alternatives to make their event spectacular!

    [​IMG]
    Above is the best picture of me you're ever gonna get. In 1986, I thought of myself as a hot-shot Lighting and Scenic Designer, doing National Sales Meetings for Fortune500 corporations, for $12/hour! Yes, that's the Colonel's likeness in laser on the 20'H x 60'W RP screen behind me.
     
  7. Pie4Weebl

    Pie4Weebl Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    What do you think of the fat beam lasers like the scorpion?
     
  8. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    Not much. The claims far exceed the actuality.
     
  9. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    The Scorpions are fine if the venue is dark and you have particulate matter in the air. They don't require a variance or water.
     
  10. Pie4Weebl

    Pie4Weebl Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    so survey says, if I were to spend $300 it would be better spent on two AMDJ DJ Scan 250HP's than one $300 laser like a scorpion scan?
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2008
  11. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    YES. Even better, try to find something used on ebay (roboscan 518, maybe?) that has rotating gobos.

    (But I still stand by my idea from way back that two AMDJ Pearl Color LEDs would be a great investment for the kinda gigs that you do)
    And as usual, Centerstage has used ones on sale
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2008
  12. muvment

    muvment Active Member

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    No laser should ever be pointed at the audience. Ever.

    If you need a 50w YAG, message me. Standard 50w YAG requires 2 gallons of water per minute. But you can use a refrigerated recirculator to avoid have to find a water source. Power requirement is 70 Amp, 220 VAC single phase. Nothing compares to a 50 Watter.
     
  13. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    Oh, that’s the other thing I loved about the old lasers, I guess it hasn’t changed on the high power units:
    10,000 watts in …. 50 watts out! Bet Al Gore is rolling in his grave! (If not, that efficiency will put him in one !!) Put that in your CFL and smoke it! ;)

    The solid state lasers are very efficient, but as has been mentioned, it all depends what you are competing with. If it is a dark room, and everyone’s eyes are adjusted, and you are hazed, you can pull off some nice effects. If you are trying to compete with some higher ambient light levels or stage lighting, then you have to pull out the big guns!
     
  14. Pie4Weebl

    Pie4Weebl Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    I think those DJ Scan 250's are a steal at two of them shipped for $250, normally they list at $270 a pop. All the same I may not get anything just yet.
     
  15. Pie4Weebl

    Pie4Weebl Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    and bump with this. People are getting on me again to get some lasers in my rental and I was thinking of getting two of these. Opinions? Bill I sent you an e-mail for a quote which you should respond to when you get a chance.

    I'm thinking the two lasers, a stand and cables, maybe put it out for $80-100 a night?
     
  16. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    While the product page includes this perfunctory statement:

    Our Lasers

    Before buying laser fixtures, ask whether they comply with FDA performance standards, as is required by law. Ours do. We don't ship any CHAUVET laser until they are in compliance with FDA safety regulations pursuant to Laser Notice No. 50, dated July 26,2001 for CLASS 3R Laser products 5.0mW CW Diode 532 nm (green) or 635-650 nm (red) IEC/EN 60825-1, ed 1.2. This review process is costly and lengthy. Sadly, other companies choose to bypass it, in defiance of the law. Ask before you buy. You'll be glad you did.


    Again I'll ask that this manufacturer provide proof of (UL, ETL, CE, or some other AHJ), listing or certification.
     
  17. muvment

    muvment Active Member

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    LOL. You're right about the efficiency part. But these are not old lasers. Manufacturing dates are... now. If anyone's been to hong kong, all the green lasers at the tops of the skyscrapers are the same 50 YAGs. They bought them last year.

    In the end, though, there is almost no use for a laser so powerful and dangerous (and power hungry). The best way to go is a 3W or 5W RGB. Very lower power consumption, air cooled, and you have a full color laser. Funny thing, the RGB lasers run near the same price as a YAG, but there so much more fun indoors.

    To answer the original thread, you really can't move into a true ILDA spec laser with Pangolin for under $20k. And even if you go used, you'd be hardpressed to get it below $10k. Not to mention, 3 days of variance paperwork. Ever think about buying a bunch of laser pointers and having highschool students move them around really quickly?
     
  18. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    Maybe gaff tape them to an old helicopter fixture or stick them inside a starball.
     
  19. LD4Life

    LD4Life Active Member

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    I'm not so fond of them. They're so dim that you have to have massive amounts of haze to see the beams.
     
  20. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    Semi-related:

    go to youtube and look for Rihanna Umbrella 2008 Brit music awards with the Klaxons. 90% of the lighting cues are lasers and it's freakin' awesome. I'd post a link but the video is copyrighted and keeps getting yanked. Make sure you find the British Music Awards video at Earl's Court.

    Victor, if you can find a Lil' G-beam laser system I think you'd be happy with it. Not cheap, but very nice.
     

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