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Information and Education - Handbook

         Laser F/X: The Light Show Handbook is an indispensable reference work for all laserists, experimenters and hobbyists. This 430+ page soft cover, spiral bound book is the first detailed and up-to-date technical manual on professional laser displays and laser light shows.

Subjects covered include:

  • The early history of laser light shows
  • General laser safety
  • The theory and practical aspects of lasers
  • Laser projection systems and colour control
  • Control consoles; schematics and examples
  • Laser graphics systems and animation programming
  • Choreography and show storage
  • Laser 3D
  • Outboard equipment and much more.

The appendix reprints valuable information on:

  • Graphics system resolution
  • Laser colour balance
  • Scanner amplifiers
  • Tuning to the ILDA test pattern.

    The Handbook is written in a direct and straightforward style and illustrated with over 90 diagrams, schematics and photographs.  This book takes the reader through all of the details of laser light show technology.  Valuable technical information, tips and techniques are covered in the extensive sidebars throughout the book.

Table of Contents

1/ Introduction
  • Terminology

2/ Can you get rich doing laser light shows?

3/ The truth about laser light show finances

4/ So you want to be a laserist. . .

5/ A brief history of laser light shows

  • The invention of the laser
  • Holography and optical transforms
  • Early laser art shows
  • The birth of X-Y scanning
  • Early laser light shows
  • Laserium (r)
  • Lovelight
  • Soleil
  • Star Wars
  • Other pioneering shows
  • Stereoscopic laser 3D
  • Industry trends
  • ILDA
  • The future

6/ Laser safety considerations

  • Laser hazards
  • Eye hazards
  • Skin hazards
  • Electrical hazards
  • Fire and flood hazards
  • Basic safety precautions

7/ Laser light show systems and effects overview

  • Classification of light show effects

8/ Theory, principles and applications of lasers

  • Theory of operation
  • What makes laser light special?
  • Beam characteristics
  • Colours of lasers
  • Laser cooling
  • Lasers for light show applications
  • Other laser applications

9/ Laser systems

  • Laser components
  • Umbilical
  • Exciter components
  • Water system
  • Laser tuning
  • Alignment "from scratch"
  • Walking the resonator
  • The care and feeding of your laser
  • Multimode vs. multiline

10/ Laser projection systems

  • Optics plate and cabinets
  • Beam tables
  • Colour control systems
  • Optical effects
  • Alignment and maintenance

11/ Scanning and blanking systems

  • Galvanometers
  • Galvo speeds
  • Drive amplifiers
  • Setting up an X-Y scan system
  • Open loop tune-up
  • Closed loop galvo tuning
  • Blanking
  • Colour and blanking timing

12/ Control consoles

  • Design philosophy
  • Beam table controls
  • Scanned beam effects
  • Graphics control
  • Abstract effects
  • Colour modulation
  • Optical effects
  • Control cables
  • Example consoles
13/ Laser graphics systems
  • Image creation
  • Animation
  • Precomputed vs. real time systems
  • Digitising
  • Rotoscoping
  • Editing
  • Choreography
  • Laser graphics software considerations
  • Purchase checklist

14/ Laser graphics and animations

  • Getting ready to digitise
  • Setting up the system
  • Scanner dynamics
  • X-Y vs. X-Y-I systems
  • Key frames & tweening
  • Rotoscoping video and computer art
  • Some helpful digitising hints
  • Animation assembly and tween frames

15/ Choreography and show control

  • Music selection
  • Storyboarding
  • Basic choreography
  • Scripting
  • Synchronisation

16/ Show storage

  • FM audio tape
  • Video tape show storage
  • ADAT show storage

17/ Laser 3D

  • Holograms
  • Database 3D
  • Stereoscopic 3D techniques
  • Volumetric 3D

18/ Fibre optics

  • Theory of operation
  • Types and sizes of fibres
  • Fibre transmission systems
  • Colour and blanking considerations
  • Transmission system alignment
  • Side-glow fibre

19/ Outboard and add-on effects

  • Smoke machines
  • Bounce mirrors
  • Remote spinning effects
  • Remote controlled mirrors
  • Remote fan makers

20/ Show production factors and some typical show layouts

  • Graphics shows
  • Mixed beam and graphics shows
  • Beam effects only shows
  • Using lasers with other lighting
  • On the road
  • Caring for your utilities feeds

21/ Promotion; photos and videos of lasers

  • Your company name
  • Your logo
  • Printed materials
  • Photographing lasers
  • Photos at the show
  • Your promo video
  • Videotaping lasers


  • How to tune to the ILDA test pattern
  • Laser colour balance explored
  • Measuring effective resolution
  • Scanner amplifiers
  • Terminology and standards
  • Glossary of terminology
  • ILDA frame interchange standard

Index of Sidebars

    Laser F/X: The Light Show Handbook is priced at $85.00 US$ per copy (retail).
    At present, the handbook is out of print - we will update this page when we have copies available.

  To Purchase a copy with payment by cash, money order or bank transfer, please send e-mail to the address below.  We will communicate with you in regards to shipping and payment arrangements.


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