Lasershow Video - VST
realtime video system

 

  Outlining and raster
  "Striptease" show demonstrates outlining
  How to use Lasershow Video - VST
   
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Lasershow Video - VST can do both vector outline tracing...
... and raster video, using standard laser projectors. Images can be projected live from camera or VCR, or can be saved as a sequence of frames for use in a show.
 
The source image can be converted into an outline, or into a raster laser frame.
 

One of the most spectacular new features in LD2000 is live video, using the Lasershow Video - VST program. Imagine simply aiming a camera at a subject and seeing the result live, in laser. Or doing real-time rotoscoping of any moving subject and saving those frames immediately. Depending on your show needs, you can create a show up to 20 times faster, using Lasershow Video - VST techniques.

Outlining and raster

There are two ways to use Lasershow Video - VST: vector outlining and raster video. Both techniques work with standard laser projectors (e.g., ILDA 30K or faster scanners, with PCAOM color).
        For both outlining and video, you can project live from a camera or VCR video input, or you can save a sequence as a set of frames. These frames can later be used in an LD show.

"Striptease" show demonstrates outlining

A great example is the "Striptease" show from MediaLas, which is included free with LD2000. Most of the "Striptease" show consists of outlines of women dancing -- about 3300 frames. The motion is more fluid than most laser animation, since it would be expensive to hand-animate so many frames at such a fast frame rate.
        Incidentally, although the dancing is suggestive, the show is not explicit. This is because the outlining technique used here shows only outlines, not detail. (It would be possible to show interior detail with different lighting, makeup, or costuming. But that was not the intent of this particular show.)

How to use Lasershow Video - VST

Lasershow Video - VST hardware requirements are modest. For video digitizing, you need a hardware video digitizing card, such as the Kworld (VStream) series which costs less than $100. The video format -- NTSC, PAL, SECAM -- is only of importance to the video card before digitizing (so get the right format for your area!). Lasershow Video - VST begins with the digitized video, so it works on all video formats. And of course, any video source -- camera, VCR, TV tuner -- will work.
        A fast Pentium PC computer is also recommended (above 300MHz) since the PC does the bitmap-to-laser conversion for each frame. The faster the computer, the faster the frame rate.
        Using Lasershow Video - VST is simple. Just start the program and select whether you want outline or raster.

  • For outlining, the source video should be high-contrast, such as a light-colored object against a dark background. Inside Lasershow Video - VST, the scene is made only black-and-white. You can adjust the incoming video parameters to be sure the contrast is optimum. You can also adjust the laser scanning parameters such as size and scan speed.
         Lasershow Video - VST then outlines the objects at up to 30 times per second. There is no perceptible lag -- only 1/10 second between TV capture and laser output. And with frame rates up to 30 per second, any moving subject moves very smoothly.
         You can instantly output the laser image, or you can capture the laser frames as standard Lasershow Designer 2000 .LDS frame files.

  • For raster, the source video should be well-lit. Because the raster resolution is about 60 pixels by 60 lines, it is best to zoom in on your subject. (There are actually two rasters available; unidirectional and bidirectional. The latter provides higher density but requires a fine-tuning adjustment on the laser output.)
         The frame display rate is about 15 per second -- still fast enough to show good motion. In some ways, a moving subject works even better than the same subject unmoving. This is because the eye blends each moving frame together to see a higher apparent resolution. (This is how MPEG video works -- still frames can look pixelated, but this is not noticed during playback.)
         As with outlining, you can instantly output the laser image, or you can capture the laser frames as standard Lasershow Designer 2000 .LDS frame files.

Technology and Artistic Awards

Lasershow Video - VST is a greatly enhanced version of a program called VST-1, originally developed by MediaLas Laserproducts GmbH. This program won Third Place in the 1999 ILDA Awards for Technical Achievement. The "Striptease" show mentioned above won Honorable Mention in the 1999 Pangolin Prize competition.

   
  This page last updated: Thursday, June 25, 2009 12:00 AM

 
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