BEYOND includes a new and ground breaking way to help you to make laser shows called the Virtual Laser Jockey.
The Virtual Laser Jockey can automatically trigger cues (and Effects as discussed below) to the beat set by the BPM system, or to the beat of externally-detected audio input.
The Virtual Laser Jockey can trigger cues sequentially (linear) within the page, or randomize cues. And you can specify the number of beats to wait before triggering a new cue.
The Virtual Laser Jockey button is positioned just to the right of the BPM system, helping to indicate that it works in relation to the BPM. If you click on the Virtual LJ button with the left mouse button, that will activate the Virtual Laser Jockey. If it is active and you click again, it will deactivate the Virtual Laser Jockey.
Note that if you click the right-mouse button on the Virtual LJ button, you will see a menu which allows you to configure the way in which the Virtual Laser Jockey works.
Note that you can indicate that the Virtual Laser Jockey should trigger cues based on Audio Input. When you choose that option, a new Audio Input window will appear just to the right of the BPM gauge. This new window allows you to specify the audio device as well as see the waveform generated by the incoming audio.
If you click the left or right mouse button in the Audio Input window, you can specify the audio device to use. All audio input devices available to your computer will also be available to the Audio Input window. For a laptop, normally the choices are “Microphone” or “Wave Out Mix”. When you choose “Wave Out Mix” it will give you a mixture of everything that is coming out of the computer. For example, you can use Windows Media Player to play a song from the computer, and use that as an input to the Virtual Laser Jockey. You can then use the Windows Volume Mixer (as shown below) to try to optimize the levels for best detection by the Virtual Laser Jockey.
Audio input results not guaranteed (normal BPM system is believed to be better)
Almost every member of the Pangolin staff is a musician of some kind. And nobody on the Pangolin staff really believes that a computer will ever be able to detect the beats within audio as well as a human can. Often times music may have “double beats” or “tricky beats” which would fool computer algorithms. So generally we do not believe in this computer-based technique.
As we have tried this audio input system and sent it to other customers to try, sometimes we see good results and other times we see not-so-good results. In any event, we are including this feature in the software as a kind of experiment. Users may use it or not.
As a final note, all of us on the Pangolin staff believe that tapping the space bar to the beat of the music – although not sounding very sexy or sophisticated – is certainly an absolutely reliable method to pick up the beat of the music. Simply tap the space bar 10 times and it will pick up the beat of the music and hold the beat for minutes at a time. When the music changes, just tap some more and you will be able to easily and reliably synchronize to the beat of the music.
The QuickFX portion of BEYOND also includes the same Virtual Laser Jockey features, which may be used along with cue triggering explained above, or separately.
Just because the Virtual Laser Jockey is triggering cues doesn't mean that you can't. Indeed, BEYOND allows you to play cues and trigger effects even while the Virtual Laser Jockey is running. This can be like having two laserists operating the computer at once!