How Laser Shows Work - Control Console
The control console is where the laserist (operator) runs the show. It can be located right next to the projector or some distance from the projector. The console is where the laserist selects and controls the laser beam and graphic effects that will be projected during the show.
Control consoles usually include shutter control, scanned image [graphics] size and position controls, and may include controls for colour, beam table activation and beam sequencing. Some control consoles also include controls for out-board and optical effects, controls for abstract image generation and more. Other features such as safety interlocks, laser remote controls, and power meters may also be located on the console.
Types of Consoles
There are two main types of consoles. A real time performance console (generally an analogue console) which allows for modification of all the parameters in the show in real-time, and a "button box" type of console (generally a digital console) that works to select effects from a library in an attached computer and to modify those effects by controlling the graphics interface in the computer.
Performance consoles allow the
laserists to create and modify images in real time generally using
analogue electronics. They may accept an input from a graphics
system but the laserist can modify the size, position and colour of the
image as well as adding other effects to the image in real time -
usually all of the parameters can be modified simultaneously.
"Button box" consoles are generally digital in nature and rely on being connected to a computer system for operation - they usually can not generate effects on their own. The laserist can pre-program various sequences of beams, effects, graphics and animations (or combinations thereof) into the computer system. The digital console allows these to be recalled at the touch of a button and is usually more convenient and intuitive than using a mouse or the keyboard.
Digital consoles (button boxes) may also offer additional effects or allow the laserist to vary the size, position, colour, etc of an image but usually only within the parameters available in the computer - these modifications are usually not done with analogue electronics but in software and often only one parameter at a time can be modified.
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