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FEATURE LIGHT SHOWS ➤


vacuum cleaners. ‘My artistic philosophy is: “let’s do something cool with the lasers, but let’s also do something cool with the enclosure that houses the laser”,’ he said. At the end of October, Gould and his team


are designing the lighting for an Anime festival called Youmacon, in Detroit, in front of 3,000 people. They are also involved in another university show in November.


Diodes steal the show


Gould uses diode lasers in his work, which, he commented, has changed the laser entertainment industry completely. Pavol Kubošek, CEO of Kvant, noted that in the past laser equipment was heavy, difficult to install, with high power consumption and water cooling. He said that, at that point, the potential for laser shows was limited because of the price of the laser equipment and how difficult it was to operate. Based in Bratislava, Slovakia, Kvant manufactures laser systems for light shows and installations. Kubošek added that, now, laser systems for shows are based on semiconductor diodes, which are smaller, lighter, lower energy consumption and cheaper. Gould also noted that the laser diodes are more powerful than they used to be – he has bought a 3W yellow laser for a new installation he is in the process of designing.


Kubošek, who has been working on systems for laser displays since 1995, is also being honoured by ILDA with the organisation’s Career Achievement Award, which will be presented to him at the conference in Aalen. Kvant’s systems have been used in TV shows,


A laser light show at the audiovisual festival, Vltava Zije, which took place in June this year in Prague, Czech Republic


exhibitions and outdoor shows. It provided lasers for the audiovisual festival, Vltava Zije, which took place in June this year in Prague, Czech Republic. The show included laser projectors, video projectors, and a water screen, which accompanied art performances from acrobats and jetpack riders. Kubošek remarked that the latest laser system techniques are designed for multimedia shows where combinations of different media are combined for spectacular live events. Kvant has also been working on other technology, such as a spheric projector, which combines optical accessories, a


At that point, the


potential for laser shows was limited because of the price of the laser equipment and how difficult it was to operate


Mike Gould’s latest art installation at the Alden B Dow Museum of Science and Art in Midland, Michigan, features five laser displays including an interactive display where the beams are motion sensitive


22 ELECTRO OPTICS l NOVEMBER 2013


laser projector and a projection ball. Laser safety is a big consideration for laser shows and for techniques like audience scanning, where beams are slowly scanned above the heads of the audience in a kind of ceiling of light, there are strict rules as to the height of the beams and the speed of the projection. The danger comes from scanning laser light over too small an area or where the beam has stopped moving altogether, because the projector has failed, for instance. Gould commented that his shows were mostly lower power and care was taken to project the lasers above three metres in height. As higher power laser diodes become available there is the potential to project displays over longer distances onto distant objects, commented Kubošek. He also sees an increase in the use of the laser for architectural lighting. Software also plays a big role and user-friendly software interfaces combined with sophisticated laser projectors mean show designers are now engineering highly complex multimedia performances. l


@electrooptics | www.electrooptics.com


Mike Gould


Kvant


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