Laservision's Sinodial-Series system, developed with the aid of an Australian government technology grant, breaks new ground in show control. Instead of just coordinating the operation of the many control systems that run a production, it replaces them entirely, capturing their output during rehearsals and replaying it for each performance.

Once a production has been programmed and recorded via Sinodial Multiplexers, all of the control consoles and replay systems are replaced by a Sinodial Digital Data Pump and one or more Sinodial Decoders. In the Digital Data Pump, data is stored on hard disk on up to 16 tracks, each of which has up to 99 randomly-accessible segments. Each track has sufficient bandwidth for either one channel of an analog laser scanner head, a full digital audio channel, a full DMX512 stream plus four RS232 streams at 9600baud, switched outputs, serial data in RS232 or RS422/485 format, SMPTE time code, or just about anything you can dream up that can be sampled within a 16-bit dynamic range at a 48kHz rate. Data is stored in standard Fostex format, giving 87 minutes of 16-track playback from an 8.2GB hard disk store, or more time if fewer tracks are recorded. Multiple Digital Data Pump units can be linked together to provide additional output channels and/or extended replay time.

During programming, console and control system outputs are conditioned and sampled by a Sinodial Multiplexer that can encode up to eight full bandwidth signals. The data is sent to the Digital Data Pump using the industry standard Alesis ADAT Optical Digital (12.288Mb/s) protocol over category 5 UTP cable or standard glass or plastic fibers using the NZRI digital optical interface. This enables reliable (and electrically isolated) data runs of up to 13,000' (4km). The Sinodial Decoder performs the mirror-image function to the Multiplexer, decoding the eight data channels it receives from the Digital Data Pump back to the original signal types. In fact, with a Multiplexer, a Decoder, and up to 13,000' of fiber you have a high-bandwidth, optically isolated communications system. Other components of the Sinodial-Series include the Excelsior Processor for the direct control of Laservision's proprietary laser scanner heads and the Time-Lock for SMPTE time code synchronization with external systems.

Show replay from the Digital Data Pump can be either 'passive,' a simple replay of a segment, or 'active': the dynamic selection of segments in response to operator actions, sensors, and safeties. Replay can be controlled from a range of devices varying from a simple contact closure to a PC touchscreen control via a MIDI interface. Installations already in place include the AquaMagic "Fish Opera," a spectacle in Sydney's Darling Harbour, and Singapore's massively upgraded "Spirits of Sentosa." A basic touchscreen-controlled, time-code-locked, eight-channel Sinodial-Series replay system that obviates the need for lighting, sound, laser, pyrotechnic, and other controllers starts at around $35,000.