After Jarre used Bernard Szajner’s Concept of the laser harp on his China Tour, he let top laser specialists redesign and rebuild his harp to get a frameless one.
Yan built one of the latest frameless laser harps which was used in Paris and Hong-Kong and was so kind taking his time to answer a bunch of technical questions about this project.
He also sent me the excellent software which allowes the user to set up nearly every laser harp you want. Check out this screenshot to get an idea.
1. What kind of laser did you use (Type, power)?
20 Watts, Argon, (Coherent or Spectra Physics)
2. How did you do the blanking (AOM, galvo, etc.)?
There is no blanking, each beam is a position of the scanner.
3. OK. I also tried this, but I am always getting a “laser wall” (polygon scanner effect) when I do it. How did you bring out the “strings” without blanking the beam between the positions?
I was using a scanner G320 from General Scanning as the positioning device. I was possible to adjust the driver board of this scanner so that it was following the square signal. ( I think that you still can find same types of scanner in the section “Open loop galvanometers” at http://www.gsilumonics.com )
4. What kind of interface did you use (DA-converter? Selfmade?)?
It is a PCL-812 board, a A/D converter from Advantech (I used it because it was on my shelf ).
5. Where exactly did you place the photo cell? (I was wondering if you placed it directly on the mirror of the scanner…?!?)
The cell is placed near the scanner.
6. How did you cope with stage-lights and other light comming from upwards? Did this “confuse” the cell?
Yes it was confusing the cell, so we thought about putting a filter on the cell to let only pass the 514 nanometer light, but I don’t remember if we did it or not. Philippe Langet who made the mechanical and the hardware, or Denis Benoit who is the technician that has been installing the harp for Jarre on the concerts could answer this question.
7. How and where did you build and test the harp? You used class IV lasers, who are quite dangerous…
At this time, I was doing laser-shows, I had a 20 watts argon laser, two five watts argon lasers and a 2 watts mixed-gas at home for testing….
8. Years ago, you had a website up with some information about the harp. One day you took it off. Why?
Not to look like a “has been”. Many things have changed since this time. I am not doing anymore things with laser, for the reason that it is not the fashion anymore to use lasers in show, it is mostly used in techno raves now, which is not very interesting.
9. How and when did you get in touch with Jarre?
My first contact with Jarre was when I went to Houston, my job was to install the laser harp under the stage. ( the one of Philippe Guerre ). It is a very intense souvenir, a great show.
10. You installed Philippe Guerre’s laser harp in Houston. Did it use the same technical concept as your harp?
As I remember, the laser harp of Philippe Guerre was working on the same concept as mine, but the software was more “hard”, not computer driven but all the electronics made by himself, I think.
11.Why did Jarre wanted to have a new laser harp? He got one from Denis Carnus using the concept of Bernard Szajner…
Jarre always wanted to improve his instruments.
12. In which concerts has your harp been used?
My harp has been used in the Tolerance concert, and Hong-Kong, and I think that it is still the one that he uses now, but I am not sure.
13. Did you enjoy the work with Jarre? And how was it working on such huge projects like Huston? What are you personal impressions?
I really enjoyed all these years. Everything was to be built. And it was a great pleasure to realize the ideas of the artists that I was working for.
14. Would you build a laser harp again?
No, I don’t think so.
15. What are you doing now? Are you still working with lasers?
Now I am a developper, still in the show-control. I am working in a company called Medialon (http://www.medialon.com) and I am the co-author of the software MedialonManager.
Thank you very much for the interview!