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Some installations require coordination with music and control signals.
This is most often done using SMPTE timecode. The timecode will be recorded
on one audio track. Then, at playback time, the timecode audio is read and
decoded by a SMPTE timecode reader device.
Using SMPTE with
Pangolin systems cannot read
SMPTE directly. This is because QM boards used with LD2000 do not
have SMPTE reading circuits. Instead, you
need SMPTE readers
designed to connect to computers. These are common in the audio-visual and
electronic music field. The SMPTE reader will connect to the computer's via
a port (serial, USB) or internal card.
You can use any
SMPTE device that is physically capable of being connected to a
Windows-compatible computer. We
recommend Pangolin's Lasershow Timecode TC2000. Some other,
non-Pangolin SMPTE devices are listed at the bottom of this page. If you already have a SMPTE
controller or computer card, you may want to contact Pangolin to see
if your device is supported.
If you want to synchronize to SMPTE
timecode, the TC2000 is a reliable solution. It interfaces
between the SMPTE source and your LD2000 computer system.
Lasershow Timecode TC2000
Lasershow Timecode TC2000 controller reads and writes SMPTE timecode,
when used in conjunction with a Lasershow Designer 2000 host
- In reading mode, the TC2000 decodes
incoming SMPTE timecode and passes it to Lasershow Designer 2000.
Playback of your laser show is then locked to the incoming SMPTE
timecode. If timecode stops, the laser show stops (alternatively,
you can set the show to continue "freewheeling"). If timecode
backs up and starts again, the laser show also backs up and starts
- In writing mode, the TC2000 outputs a SMPTE-encoded
audio signal. Typically, you would then record this on a tape deck
or other recording device.
The TC2000 is very compact -- smaller than a
paperback book. It measures just 4.38" x 3.25" x 1.25" (11 x 8.25 x
How the TC2000
There are four connectors on the TC2000:
- The OUT jack on the front is for writing a SMPTE-encoded audio signal to a tape deck or other external
- The IN jack on the front is for reading a SMPTE-encoded audio signal that is coming from another device.
Power Input jack on the back takes a 9-12 volt AC or DC power.
This is provided by an included "wall wart" transformer.
- The Serial Port on the back is used to
communicate with your Lasershow Designer 2000 host computer. The
port is a female 9-pin RS-232 serial connector. Use an appropriate
adapter cable to plug into the USB or serial port on your
Software to control the TC2000 is built right
into Pangolin's Lasershow Designer 2000 system. In the LD2000
program "Showtime", you can set playback to be controlled by SMPTE.
You'll see the incoming SMPTE timecode, and the laser show will
follow the timecode exactly.
laser shows can be synced internally (to a clock on the QM2000
board) or externally (to various devices running their own
timecode). If you're using a TC2000, just click the second
button -- your show will automatically be synced to incoming
For SMPTE applications of Lasershow Designer
2000, we recommend the TC2000 as your best choice.
The Aquila controller reads and writes
not only SMPTE, but also AVL and BCD timecodes. It was built
for planetarium and multimedia use, so it has extra features
such as eight switch closures.
There are many SMPTE and SMPTE/MIDI devices available. As stated
above, you can use any SMPTE device that is physically capable of
being connected to a computer. The connections may be through
ports such as serial or USB, or they may be internal,
using a PCI slot.
Here are a few sources. This list is not comprehensive, so you may want to
research additional sources.
East Coast Control
Systems sells the Aquila controller. This is available in
a 19" rack mount housing, or in a 9" wide chassis. The cost is
around $800 for the rack mount version, and $675 for the
offers a number of MIDI and SMPTE/MIDI devices. They include
the Portman, Winman and Syncman series. For SMPTE use, be sure
the product's features include SMPTE reading and writing.
Prices range from $179 to about $300.
Mark Of The
Unicorn's products include MidiExpress and MicroExpress
devices, which have SMPTE capabilities. Prices range from $165
to about $400.
Design Group has a PCI soundcard, the Dakota, which
includes many advanced audio features plus SMPTE. The price is
about $650. Note that the lower-cost WaveCenter/PCI card does
NOT have SMPTE capabilities.
Below are several links that we have found that
provide additional information about SMPTE time code and it's use.
If you have found an additional source of information, please
contact Pangolin so we can add it to this list.
Time Code Explained article from Peter Utz
SMPTE Time Code pdf file from the College of Fine Arts at the
University of Arizona
SMPTE Time Code
article from University of Texas at San Antonio
Drop versus Non-drop Time Code pdf file from Pam Malouf, A.C.E.
This page last updated:
Sunday, May 10, 2009 09:39 AM