What are some ways to use lasers?
Lasers are an incredibly versatile tool. With the ability to draw with light at incredible speeds, laser projectors have found themselves in many unique environments. Lasers are one of the most memorable and photographed elements in the live setting, becoming a viral organic marketing tool as people share their photos and descriptions of the lasers to their friends on social media. Here’s a shortlist of just a few of the more common ways to implement the beauty and vibrancy of laser light and a brief bit about how its implemented.
Laser Graphics – using lasers to draw images
Need a logo or message to stand out? Projection of your content onto the side of a building, wall, or even an actual billboard. Because of the brightness of a concentrated laser beam and purity of the colors, and perfect contrast between the laser beam and the dark areas of an image, lasers have an advantage over video projection. They often come with a lower price tag as well and consume far less power requiring far less infrastructure. After receiving artwork or direction from a client, Coherent Designs artists go to work digitizing the content by hand. Digitizing or programming tells the laser projector the path the beam should move, where to turn on, and what color it should be. Still, images or moving 2d and 3d models are all possible.
You have a beautiful structure, an object like a car, or a sign that you want to highlight. Laser mapping is like wrapping that item in beautiful neon and then can take it a step further by animating color rolls, or even the illusion of motion. On buildings, this is often cheaper to implement than trying to install pixel LED strips and can be deployed in a fraction of the time. Mapping onto video content is also possible giving the video content neon like intensity not achievable with video alone. The digitizing process is much the same as the laser billboard.
Beam shows: using haze the beams of light projecting from lasers can be absolutely mesmerizing
Timeline shows are essentially a prerecorded show usually set to an audio track. These can be in addition to existing production lighting or a stand-alone moment in the event. Not unlike a choreographer works with dancers, our artists carefully and tastefully program the movements, colors and the type of imagery that the audio conveys. Beams, arrays of beams, sheets or ‘liquid skies” are just a small sampling in the toolbox. Painstaking detail is spent to ensure everything happens in the exact millisecond that the audio dictates.
Punting is an industry term referring to live operation. This is commonly done in a dance club or festival type setting where the exact song isn’t known until its played and the operator must in real-time listen to the music and answer it with the appropriate energy in the lasers. Watching a laser operator, it looks like they’re pressing random buttons, turning knobs and moving faders around (and maybe dancing a bit). In reality, this is a finely tuned honedskill developed from a love of musical knowledge and an intimate connection to their workspace along with their control equipment to be able to react instantly to the music. Punting is also used in a situation where it's logistically not possible to spend the amount of time needed to produce a timeline show.
Sometimes lasers don’t need to answer what's happening musically and just are desired to be “eye candy.” From creating the water's surface in a walk-through coral reef art installation to sweeping overhead beams at a party to make a ballroom feel like a much different atmosphere, there are plenty of ways to incorporate lasers into any event. Photo or video shoots looking for a different backdrop and energy to their production can also benefit from the instant results versus waiting for post-production.
So what do you want to create?