We are super excited to share with you a project that some friends of X-Laser have been working on for a while. An innovative and exciting new form of laser analog controller, now available to pre-order on Kickstarter!
Back at the dawn of the laser show industry in the 1970s, laser shows were mainly controlled by skilled operators called Laserists, usually coming from an arts or music background. Laserists would literally perform each show live, usually to a pre-recorded soundtrack. Each show was different, dynamic and exciting. Fans would attend the same show over and over, since each show offered a unique experience just like a live music performance.
But as computer technology evolved, laser shows became more automated and lost their spontaneous performance qualities. Instead of a skilled performer, the job of Laserists was mainly that of a technician tasked with running and maintaining the equipment.
Radiator aims to bring back the live performance aspect to laser shows and once again make the job of Laserist synonymous with performance artist.
Radiator is a complete laser synthesizer which means that it contains everything necessary to create beautiful live, spontaneous vector and laser graphics, except for the laser projector itself. The performance controls, processing and all other functions are built-in. The output of radiator connects directly to a laser projector using the industry-standard ILDA connector. This carries signals for moving the laser beam and controlling the color.
Synthesizer... for lasers!
Radiator works like a music synthesizer. It contains modules that will be familiar to both electronic musicians and computer graphic artists alike. The modules work together to give virtually limitless possibilities of control.
The following are the major parts of radiator:
- Shape Generators - This is where beams, abstract and other shapes are generated. The most basic settings give you the traditional sine and cosine waves that started the laser show craze back in the 1970s! Mix two waves together to make beautiful cycloid or Lissajous patterns. Other shapes give you even more complexity, and we hope to allow you to design and import your own shapes and line-art animations as well.
- Color Generator - The color generator selects the beam color, either a single hue or complex cycling color patterns. The Color Generator knows how to synchronize with shapes and other modules to create images with smooth fades and evolving colors.
- Transformer - This is where 2D becomes 3D! Shapes and colors are mapped into three dimensions allowing you to add motion, depth and rotation.
- Clones - Repetition is beautiful, and that's exactly what the clones module does. It allows images to be repeated in various ways such as in grids or radially. The result can then be moved and rotated to create dynamic and stunning images that appear to have a life of their own!
- Modulators - Did we mention that nearly any control can be modulated in real-time? That's right! It's like having more hands! Each of the three modulators can affect controls on any other module. Want to have a shape get bigger and smaller? Or how about make the brightness fade up and down while also rotating the image? You can do it all with the Modulators. External MIDI and CV sources can also be used as modulation sources.
- Master - Safety is of the utmost importance with lasers. The master section offers direct control of the size and brightness of the beams. A blackout button kills the beam instantly. If you need to step out for a moment, the safety interlock key switch ensures that nobody will activate the laser when you're gone.
Radiator allows full manual hands-on control, but you can also store your creations to reuse later. The internal memory can store thousands of presets, allowing you to call up awesome creations instantly. The built-in LCD screen shows settings and also offers a preview of the laser output and presets so you know exactly what you're going to get when you "go live".
Sync it up
If you're a DJ or electronic musician you're probably thinking about controlling lasers from your music. Radiator comes with audio, MIDI and control voltage (CV) inputs allowing you to control your laser show in many different ways. You can trigger laser effects with MIDI directly from your sequencer or drum machine, or simply with an audio signal. Control voltage inputs allow control from an analog or modular synth.
Specifications and Features
Please note that the system and specs are subject to change based on feedback from backers like you, and the ongoing development of the project. Preliminary list of specs are presented here to give clear indication of what we intend to deliver.
- Laser synthesizer for live laser and vector graphics performances
- Outputs full-bandwidth ILDA signals compatible with any standard mono or RGB ILDA laser projector - uses a standard DB-25 connector
- Internal processing using the latest in embedded DSP technology
- External control of radiator is possible via MIDI or Control Voltage (CV) input jacks
- Daisy-chain multiple radiators together using MIDI for synchronized control
- Audio output jacks (1/4") for hearing the actual laser signals!
- Audio inputs jacks (1/4") for syncing radiator to music
- USB host port for connection to small laser systems such as LaserCube
- Ethernet port for connection to EtherDream laser DAC - permits long cable runs to projector
- Small internal color LCD screen for managing presets, configuration, and viewing a real-time preview of laser output
- Internal flash memory for storing presets - can be uploaded and downloaded via web-based application
- USB port for firmware updates, data transfer and MIDI connectivity to a PC or Mac
- Solid construction with metal enclosure - outline approx. 38cm x 23cm (15" x 9")
- Power supply included - offered with either US or EU-style plug (depending on your country)