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laser safety QUESTIONS - need opinion from someone that KNOWS

Discussion in 'The Backstage' started by Soup Visuals, Apr 28, 2012.

  1. Soup Visuals

    Soup Visuals Visually Obsessed

    So I work with a lot of local laser guys now, and a few of them go nuts with shooting lasers in the kids eyes and our eyes in the back of the room at the vj tables.

    They use brand new 1mil RGB lasers they got from a friend in china (classic) and they look amazing, especially when they scan the crowd. But I worry about the lasers in everyones eyes.

    All i have to base my opinions on is the fact that I have gone to tons of shows and never once had lasers in my eyes.

    I also wonder about using them in clubs with lots of mirrors and mirror balls?

    Thank you in advance whoever can help with these fears! There's an implicit contract with all of us and the kids at shows to do no harm.
  2. PCProject

    PCProject Moderator

    HSG95 which was the last UK health and safety notice I read with regard to lasers said no scanning below 3m above crowd/public access height and 2.5m laterally.
    At Dance Valley in Holland in 2001 they even had the areas where the three beams from the 20 watt central laser of the display would come to ground fenced off.

    Page 13 of the linked pdf covers UK - I suggest you reasearch what your National, State and local laws have to say about it.

  3. deepvisual

    deepvisual visually challenged

    its illegal in the UK and H&S will shut them down if you complain.

    dont ever trust the laser guy - or the electrician..
  4. Soup Visuals

    Soup Visuals Visually Obsessed

    This is actually in the United States, i'm not sure what the governing agency would be for this here.

    What i'm really wondering is the safety though, can anyone comment on the actual safety/damage of this act, not the law?

    Again these are 1mil RGB lasers, they usually have 3 of them on stage in relatively small clubs, 400-800 person rooms.
  5. PCProject

    PCProject Moderator

  6. visualove

    visualove New Member

    The FDA regulates entertainment lasers, and the states follow the FDA:


    (Also the FAA regulates lasers outdoors, do not shoot lasers of any power at aircraft)

    Since green is usually frequency doubled from near infrared, you want to be sure there is no leakage of infrared from the system. It's been tested for that right?

    Highly unlikely black market lasers have been tested & certified in the USA or are even the power they claim. Probably impossible to get manufacturers and distributors to be liable for damages in case of any injury for unlabeled products.

    And there is a trade group that has some resources is http://www.laserist.org/, but they haven't updated their website in about 4 years. :mad:

    You might want to make sure the written contracts between you and the venue are separate from the laserists from a liability standpoint.

    It's a tossup for me as to which is more irritating amateur high power laser hobbyists or amateur radio jammer hobbyists.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2012
  7. Soup Visuals

    Soup Visuals Visually Obsessed

    thanks visual love. My concern really is beyond legality and all about safety, i'm completely separate from these operators but work with them constantly and am truly WORRIED about the kids in the crowd, i'm worried about my eyes in the back of the room but i'm REALLY worried about the kids in the dance floor and right in front of the lasers.

    I understand that there is no equivalent of a db meter for lasers, i'm not going to find a handy box to tell me if they're dangerous or not, but I don't know... i'm still hoping for someone to know how dangerous a 1mil chinese laser is in a 400 person room. (roughly)
  8. sleepytom

    sleepytom VJF Admin

    Many Chinese lasers have no IR filtering and are plenty strong enough in the IR spectrum to blind you.

    I would raise your concerns with the promoters of the events in question, explain clearly to them the safety and legal aspects of the issue and point out that THEY will be the ones in court when someone gets blinded. Furthermore I would refuse to work at events where such products are in use, unless the operator uses them responsibly and keeps the beams up out of the eye level of the crowd.

    It is worth noting at this point that lasers can damage both cameras and projectors - scanning the laser across the lens will focus the laser beam onto the CCD / LCD and burn pixels. I've seen both cameras and projectors killed by lasers in this way.

    Do not assume that because the laser has a low visible light output power that it is safe.
  9. sleepytom

    sleepytom VJF Admin

    Also ask the promoters if they have a copy of the public liability insurance cover for the event, and if they have copies of PL insurance from all subcontractors. (make sure your own insurance covers public liability whilst your working at events! ) If the laser operators do not have PL insurance then refuse to work alongside them.
  10. aiwaz

    aiwaz Member

    I know this thread is a bit old

    but if you still are looking for information about laser safety
    then i believe i can help you out

    first off i don't understand what the term 1mil laser means

    do you mean 1mw if so that is very safe although it wold not even be visible
    most legal class IIIa laser systems use a 4.9mw laser or 50mw-100mw but through physical optic an effect grating so the beam is broken up into beams of no more power than 4.9mw per beam in a 7mm area ( fully dilated pupil size)

    but even those IIIa effects look very weak and dim

    Class IIIa <5mw any one can buy these at a local music store and its totally legal

    Class IIIB 5mw-500mw (scanning systems or beam tables that are capable of producing single beams that are above 5mw but below 500mw)
    you need a federal Variance from the CDRH/FDA to operate Class IIIB laser systems in the USA

    Class IV 500mw - infinity (scanning systems or beam tables that are capable of producing single beams that are above 5mw to what ever you can afford i have 2 X 46W green system that is Qswitched pulsed so it has peaks in to the 1000's of Watts but averages 46w CW)
    you need a federal Variance from the CDRH/FDA to operate Class IV laser systems in the USA

    also beyond needing a variance for the operator/company
    the equipment must be certified by the FDA/CDRH and have an accession number on file yes you can build your own equipment but yo must get it approved and that takes a while maybe more that a year and a hell of a lot of paperwork (easily over 100pages )
    or just buy pre certified gear from a reputable USA company
    but that eliminates all the cheap Chinese stuff you see on ebay witch is totaly illegal
    even from a safety stand point class IV laser must have a hard shutter and an 8sec start delay non removable in on position key switch and remote E-stop
    all of witch the Chinese systems dont have and im not even talking about the really crappy ones that have ir in the green and will break and the scanners then seize up with a full power beam in the audience

    but in the United States its illegal to audience scan and very dangerous

    other hazards are people with glasses or peoples using optically aided viewing (Ie binoculars to watch a concert in a arena )
    that magnifies the beam and focus it down to a spot on the pupil

    John Loughlin ( AKA VJ Aiwaz)
    Technological Artisans
  11. deepvisual

    deepvisual visually challenged

    I've got 3 cameras with chips ruined from lasers scanning the audience.
  12. Soup Visuals

    Soup Visuals Visually Obsessed

    think i've got a 5d mark II the same has happened to..
    ]5d issue small - YouTube[/ame]
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 15, 2013
  13. Anders

    Anders Member

    What need sould they possibly have to point the laser at the crowd or the dj, i would leave the venue if anyone insisted on pointing it my way !
  14. black burst

    black burst a bloke.

    Being immersed in safe laser light is one of the best things to experience at a party, it's just a shame there's so many fuckwits out there with cheap lasers that make me so paranoid i can't enjoy it. If anyone is in Australia, Genius Laser Technology are the only guys to trust. Arthur has taken the safety of it to an extreme level and exact science. Authored a program calculating safe distances accounting for conditions, laser size etc etc and physically goggles up and meters the light and makes sure it's cool. I'm with deep, never trust the laser guy...unless it's GLT.
  15. SiliconPumpgun

    SiliconPumpgun palying with myspace


    there are different types of lasers. but its is always good to wear a laser saftey glasses if you are near it.

    a laser is the works opposite to normal light where the electrons are stimulated to jump on different higher levels surrounding the atom. a laser, the electrons jump all on the same level and so you get the the linear beam.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2012
  16. zerowaitstate

    zerowaitstate Inventor of the Nano Kewl

    What you need to know is the MPE "maximum permisible exposure" of the shows that are being run. Any one who is professional will know what this is and have the tools to mesure it. in a nut shell MPE calculations looks at the amount of energy from the laser beam enters the pupil before the blink reflex triggers.Dependant on the power of the laser damage can occue in short order, Pangolin is pretty much regarded as an the industry leader globally, has developed special saftey lenses that graduate the width of the beam so up high it is crisp and high powered and down low (in the crowd) the beam is thicker and safe to look at as the energy is spread over a larger area. the way this is done is NOT discernable. many on the controller apps will allow mapping of areas were is will drop the energy level in particular regions of the club. if your running purley dmx its unlikly this will be possible. refer to http://www.laserist.org/ and photonlexicon. for information on lasers and there safe use. TREAT THIS ISSUE SERIOUSLY manny do not and put there patrons saftey at risk. Do not comprimise your saftey your sight by working with cowboys.
  17. zerowaitstate

    zerowaitstate Inventor of the Nano Kewl

    Its possible to avoid this by woking with the the operator, most controller software will allow you to mask and area in the show that will drop or compleatly block laser output in a particulay area. Cameras can be expensive .

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