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.
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.
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
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.)
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
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
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.
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.