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LD2000 system requirements

 

  System overview
  Laser projector
  Computer requirements
  Hard drive space
  Optional hardware and software
  Installing the QM2000 board
  A final note


  LD2000 main page



 

Here's an overview of the requirements, so you can prepare for your system's arrival in the next few days.

System overview

Pangolin provides you with the Lasershow Designer 2000 CD-ROM disc, a QM2000 board, two cable adapters and a 50-page LD2000 Installation Manual.
        You must provide a laser projector, and a Windows-compatible computer with at least one free PCI slot. There are two other tasks you should do before your system arrives:

Laser projector

You can run LD on just about any laser projector. However, the recommended system uses high-speed scanners that can display the ILDA test pattern at 30,000 points per second or more.
        This includes General Scanning G-120 scanners being driven by the TurboTrack scanner amp and Cambridge Technology 6800 or 6210 scanners using Cambridge scanner amps.
        For blanking and color control, we recommend a polychromatic acousto-optic modulator (PCAOM) such as those made by NEOS Technology, A+A, or MVM Electronics. It may be possible to use a Laser Media-style "color box" system using a hardware interface, but then you are limited by the speed at which the actuators can change colors.

Computer requirements

The minimum computer requirement is any PC (IBM-compatible) with at least one PCI slot. The QM2000 board must be installed in order for the software to operate. This is because the software constantly communicates with and uses the power of the QM2000 board.
        The computer operating system can be either Microsoft Windows 95/98 or Windows 2000.  
        Because LD2000 comes with its own computer, the QM2000 board, your system will run at the same speed no matter how fast or slow your computer runs. You might want to use such an older computer when LD2000 is used to merely playback a show.
        However, for creating shows we highly recommend a fast computer with multimedia (CD-ROM or DVD-ROM, sound card), extra memory, and 800 x 600 or higher-resolution video. This is because Windows itself can be slow; the extra speed will make windows and graphics draw much faster.
        LD2000 will fit onto a VGA (640 x 400) screen. This works fine for playback. However, it is much easier to create frames and shows when running in SVGA (800 x 600) or XVGA (1024 x 768) resolutions. If you use SVGA or XVGA, be sure to select your video driver's "Small fonts" option. Using large fonts changes the text spacing in LD2000's windows.
        The computer must have at least one PCI slot available, for the QM2000 master card. If you will be running additional slave cards (to drive multiple scanner pairs), you will need one additional PCI slot per slave card. The maximum number of QM2000 cards is four -- one LD2000 Pro master, and three slaves. Click here for more information on running multiple QM2000 boards in a single computer.
        You can use a notebook as long as it has a docking station. Click here for more information on running LD2000 on a notebook.

Hard drive space

The current version of LD2000 takes up roughly 80,000,000 bytes (80 megabytes). Because each file requires additional hard drive overhead space, systems using Windows 95 OSR A may actually require 100 MB or more to store this data.
        As you use LD2000, you'll need additional space to accommodate your work. Very roughly, you can assume about 2 Mb for every five minutes of show time.
        LD2000 uses less hard drive space than other DOS or Windows laser programs, because of its real-time capability. For example, to do a rotation, most other programs pre-calculate and store many slightly different views of an object. LD2000 merely stores a single frame and at run time calculates all the different views. The real-time technique can save up to 30 times the space needed for pre-calculated shows.

Optional hardware and software

  • Digitizing tablet. LD2000 does not require use of a digitizing tablet. However, this is nice to have, and it is essential if you will be digitizing paper drawings.
            You can use any tablet which has a "Wintab" driver. We recommend the Wacom ArtPad and Intuos series, since their drivers are better written than most other brands.

  • SMPTE/MIDI board. If you must synchronize to SMPTE or MIDI timecode, you can use any standard board such as an MQX-32M, 2PortSE or 8PortSE (from Opcode Systems) or the Winman or Portman (from MIDIMan).
            For professional use, we highly recommend the Aquila SMPTE reader/writer from East Coast Control Systems (814/857-5420). It is more expensive than board-only products, but it also is more robust for demanding applications.

  • Other hardware. Because LD2000 can autotrace and rasterize bitmaps (pictures), you may want to purchase hardware to get pictures onto your computer. This includes flatbed scanners such as the Hewlett-Packard ScanJet, video digitizers such as the Minolta Snappy, or one of the many video input boards available.

  • Painting and photo manipulation. Software such as Adobe’s Photoshop or JASC’s Paint Shop Pro is necessary to clean up any scanned-in artwork. For example, when you scan a picture, there can be thousands of colors in the resulting bitmap, Before you autotrace or rasterize in LD, you may want to reduce the number of colors. Photo manipulation programs allow you to do this.

Installing the QM2000 board

To install the QM2000 master board, turn off power to your computer. Open the case and plug the board into any available PCI slot. Be sure to securely tighten the screw on the L-shaped bracket.
        (If you have additional QM2000 boards, do not install them yet. Get LD2000 operating with the master board first. Later, open up the QM2000 Board help file for instructions on installing and using multiple boards.)
        The QM2000's output is an ILDA-standard DB-25F connector. If you have an ILDA-compatible projector, you can use a standard 25-pin parallel extension cable to connect the QM2000 to the projector. If you have a Pangolin-style projector (for our older QM32 board), we provide a QM2000-to-Pangolin adapter cable. For all other projectors, you will need to make an adapter to go from the QM2000's DB-25F connector to your particular projector. Click here for the QM2000 pinouts.
        For additional information on connecting to your projector, see the QM2000 Board help file after you have installed the software.

A final note

LD2000 is professional-level software that is designed to get the most out of your projector. Ultra-high-quality shows around the world use LD2000 daily.
        If you do not see the results you expect, the problem is most likely in the settings. You will need to adjust some of the parameters in the software, such as output speed, line drawing density and color palette, to be optimized for your projector's capabilities. The LD2000 Installation Manual describes these adjustments in more detail.

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

 
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