Meet the laserist for a 1970s planetarium laser show!

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He played with visual effects, and got paid to do it! I can’t decide if this shows how wonderful the world is, or how deeply unfair.


I remember seeing these as a kid back in the day. Do they still do laser shows or has our ADD society moved away from that?

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There are still some. The Adventure Science Center near me does regular laser shows in their planetarium, although I suspect the new ones are animated in advance rather than the free-form style of the old days.

When I was a kid it was a real treat to go to the planetarium. Most of the shows I saw then were basically just pictures projected on the dome so rather than being a “laserist” I guess the operator was more of a “projectionist” but it still seems like an interesting job. I regret not sticking around to talk to the operator.

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That’s a fascinating laser display system. So many knobs, and he’s got to keep turning them all the time! I like all the different effects it’s capable of. The stars are great - Lissajous patterns made of 5:2 modulation with some overtones to make them have straight sides and sharp corners.

They must have spent a lot of time fiddling with the electronics, using their Tektronix oscilloscope as the viewing screen.


Damn, I just checked the page for our local planetarium because I knew they did shows (for Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin !! stil!!) but they turn out to not be laser shows!

This is not a laser show, but the next generation of computer generated imagery.

Bollocks! I liked to going to the shows at the OMSI planetarium in Portland in the 80’s when I was in high school. They were always so good. Part of the fun for me was the crowd. They were mostly a little older than me and definitely more druggy (me being not druggy at all) so it was vicariously exciting. One time, while in line, the guy in front of me took a step backward, so I started to move out of his way. Except he wasn’t just shuffling, he was passing out and he brushed against me as he crashed, like a board, on the floor. His friends giggled as they picked him up and left. Another time, we all went in to the room and one of the chairs had tape across the armrests and there was the lingering smell of vomit in the air. And another time it was the worst I ever have ever had to pee in my life, but I if I left the room, I wouldn’t be let back in, so I just held it and it hurt like hell but the show was so good, I couldn’t leave.


groovy, baby – it was nice to hear some Earth, Wind, & Fire in there.

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Hey that’s the same Adventure Science Center that is near me!! It appears we are in the same geographical area!!

I will have to look into that. Thanks!

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There’s also some here in Vancouver at the BCIT Planetarium. our shows are still run live we do a lot of the laser imagery live and we also use 360 video. we’re a small family run business, just me and my dad, and he’s been doing it since the 70’s. He actually knows the guys in this video!


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