Laser Photography – How To Photograph A Laser Beam

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Laser Photography – How To Photograph A Laser Beam

How To Photograph A Laser Beam With ArgonTV

Laser Photography

How To Photograph A Laser Beam


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Laser Photography – How To Photograph A Laser

Tim Bennett: Welcome to ArgonTV.


I am very happy today to be joined by a very new friend of mine who I’ve just recently met.


And it’s a gentleman who’s been involved in events, production, and lighting for very long time and I’m very happy to introduce you to Rad Drobny from RadLab laser Systems.


Rad welcome to ArgonTV.


Rad Drobny: Thank you very much, Tim.


Thank you for having me.


Tim Bennett: It’s great to have you here and I really love the picture behind you.


This is a moving background you have there.


It’s Cool


Rad Drobny: Yeah, it’s our little galaxy, which is kind of, I guess, appropriate in terms of where my mind is coming from and it’s a very much out there.


Tim Bennett: Yeah.


So we’re going to talk initially about how to take photographs and videos of lasers.


Before we do that, I just thought it’d be great to meet you, the person and maybe you could just give a little introduction of who you are and who the company is and what you’ve been doing over the few years and how you got the way you are.


Rad Drobny: Sure.


Well, my passion for lasers and lighting really spans back as far as I can remember.


I was 15 years old at the time I was still in high school, while everybody was picking careers, my career choice… at the time we had a program called OSAP.


I’m not sure if they have similar programs in other countries, but here in Canada, you also have program…


…is basically an opportunity for students to go out and work in the career choice that they plan for the future.


So my choice was of course, naturally lighting.


So my passion for lighting really goes back to my younger days.


I spent quite a lot of time learning optical design, electrical engineering and I did a little bit on mechanical engineering.


So I had a very technical up bringing but more towards the arts as opposed to designing, you know, regular commercial products.


I just didn’t fit in.


I kind of always wanted to do my own thing.


So fast forward, right after high school, I had an opportunity to meet two local owners here in our area from FFP Laser Systems, they’re still around today and I kept bugging them for a job.


I had an opportunity to go and see a demo show in their showroom at the time and I was hooked instantly.


That was the first time that I saw a true RGB gas laser, argon krypton mix.


And I was in love.


I was hooked instantly.


So I kept bugging them and this was still when… I wasn’t even 18 years old at the time, I was still in high school.


I was ending my last year of high school and they said, you know, you’re a little bit too young because of the dangers and you know, keep learning!


I kept persisting and after high school they finally said, “okay! Well, come on board.“


And naturally you start off learning a lot and it progressed into not long after I was touring…


I was touring on my own with… we had a big powerful YAG laser that I was in charge of.


I was controlling that live and the rest is, as you say, history!


So we, you know, I was fortunate enough to do a lot of corporate events, you know, Circus du Soleil shows, BMW on via links.


So I got my feet wet pretty early on, but as those of us who were brought into the years of the early laser will know all too well, that those were very expensive times.


Very few of us had a systems like that back in the day.


So naturally I just basically evolved into building my own.


I started small and I kept experimenting.


I kept perfecting my art, so to speak.


And this is all alongside programming, DMX, lighting, repairing, technical aspects and you know, forward, fast forward years and years and years, until three years ago, we started RADLab Laser Systems as a means to basically take my passion for lasers and lighting and bringing it out, back into the world, sort of my own way, so to speak.


And that’s how the company started.


So the company is only about three years old now.


But we’re moving forward and we’re working on releasing our first moving head very shortly.


It’s called the ILUX and it’s going to be sort of our take on the old traditional Sharpy, from Clay Paky, whereas this moving head was kind of developed and designed to be in my opinion, the best companion to a laser, which is, always going to be my first passion.


I love both lasers and traditional discharge lamp moving heads, just as much.


Tim Bennett: I think what’s interesting about your journey is… and I’ve detected this when I talked to a lot of people over the last few weeks…


…it’s especially, people like us who have been in the industry for quite a while, we have this kind of amazing story of how we got started. 


Somebody asked me the other day, I’m really passionate about lasers and lighting and staging, so how do I get started?


And I said, just find a company near you, that does what you like and go and stand in front of them and wave your hands until you get noticed and say, “you are going to employ me, by hook or by crook.”


And even though this company said, you’re too young, you didn’t take that as a blockage and you just allowed it to be, and eventually you stood in front of them and waved your hands and got training with them.


Rad Drobny: Perseverance…


Tim Bennett: And I did kind of the same thing.


I worked with a London based company for a number of years and they trained me from…


…I mean, I absolutely knew nothing.


When I sat in the meeting with them, they were like, “what do you know about lasers?”


And I said, “nothing.”


“What’d, you know about staging?”


And I said “nothing.”


“And do you know anything about the events?”


“Well, nothing!”


And they said, “why should we employ you?”


And I said, “because I want to do it!


I want to go!”


And you know… they did.


And they gave me this amazing training and took me all around the world.


Eventually I ended up in the Philippines, which has been my home for 25 years and based on all of that training, I started my own company, just like you have.


And I think it’s the best way to get started.


Find someone that you can work with, get your foot in and then just make a great impression, which you obviously did.


Rad Drobny: Yeah!


That’s kind of the thing is you know, the most important bit here is follow your heart.


Follow your passion.


If lasers or lighting in general is your passion, don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.


There is no such thing as you need a specific piece of paper that will make you qualified for task A and task B.


People often ask, do I need any special sort of educational background?


And the real answer is no!


You just have to have an artistic mind Really.


I guess the biggest right answer that I could think of is just have that artistic mind.


And find a way to put it out there.


If it means going out and bugging companies until they take you on board and teach you things, then that’s what you have to do.


If you have the means to create something completely new, then again, you should do that as well.


When we first started RadLab Laser Systems, believe it or not, the first ever show that we did was for my own wedding, with my wife, we decided to bring out a projector and I said, “you know what…I want to give our guests an experience.”


I want to do something.


So I created a timeline show and little did I know, that a year later that very same show or part of that show ended up winning the, ILDA first place award in category.



So we just brought out a single projector for the wedding and next thing you know, the owners of the banquet hall came to me after and said, “we want more of this.”


And that’s how easy it could all kick off for someone.


Just be passionate, go out there and do it and let the cards fall where they fall.


Tim Bennett: Yeah.


That’s, that’s actually really interesting.


I was actually going to talk to you about that because I was looking through your Facebook profile and I actually saw that you were doing quite a lot of weddings, which was kind of cool.


It’s kind of cool that you got married just so you could win the ILDA awards. (That’s a joke by the way!)


Rad Drobny: Yeah and that was actually very unexpected.


You know, we almost didn’t submit anything until ILDA last year.


It was actually another laser show designer that won quite a few times, that kind of talked me into it.


I showed him some clips and he said, “you know Rad, just go put it in there, put it in there.”


I think every laser show designer has the same, I’ve noticed, has the same problem as me and that is for us, It’s always going to suck.


It’s never going to be finished.


It’s one of those things that you have to kind of train your mind to let go and say it is good.


Put it out there.


So I’m really glad that it happened.


We submitted and I was very shocked to find out that we won, because I mean, the ILDA awards are a group of the most talented people in this industry.


To take home an award from that organization is quite a feat.


So very proud of that, but that’s not the main reason why we do what we do.


I do it for the passion and I do it to basically allow myself to move forward from an engineering standpoint.


I’m always working on new creative design concepts, we’ve worked with other companies as a design consultant for RGB laser modules.


I’ve been designing them for quite quite a few years now.


We collaborated with OPT laser, OPT Laser in China.


In fact, our Nova series, which you may or may not have seen on our Facebook page, is actually a hybrid of that.


Nova Laser Systems From RadLab Laser Systems


It was centered around their housing, which they designed and the RGB module and drivers I designed.


There’s a lot of networking happening right now within the last three years and everything is growing slowly.


So it’s really great to see.


And like I mentioned earlier, we have a moving head coming up, which I’m very excited about and that should be ready to show in the next two weeks or so.


Tim Bennett: And you were talking about the Nova Series.


Is that something that you make or OPT Lasers, make it for you?


Rad Drobny: No. OPT only make the cases.


The actual housings themselves and the RGB driver circuits and the RGB module itself, is made here in Canada by myself.


However, the opt lasers that you can buy directly from them, are going to be based on their design, which is as a result of my inputs.


They (OPT Lasers) work with other optical designers and engineers.


It’s not all just made in China.


The input comes from all over the world, so you could say that the design team consists of not just one individual, but a few.


And the owner of the company is actually local here, we’re not far from where I live.


So we collaborate.


We go over things that can be improved and what’s not efficient and what is and what should be changed and what shouldn’t be changed.


We go back and forth and you see this development happening with new models that come out every couple of months or so.


Tim Bennett: And OPT actually have quite a good reputation in the industry.


So that’s good to hear that you’re working with them.


What I’ll do later is, if you can send me some of your details about the Novo laser series, I’ll include it in the description of this video so people can see what you do.


And I’ll also include a copy of the ILDA video from Youtube, if that’s okay.


Rad Drobny: Oh yeah for sure.


Tim Bennett: So that’s excellent and sounds very interesting.


Are you still mainly doing weddings or you’re doing corporate as well?


Rad Drobny: We’ve expanded.


Our mainstay has been… we’ve kind of created a reputation for ourselves doing high end weddings.


We’ve also done concerts, festival type gigs here and there.


So it varies, we don’t just limit ourselves to weddings, but weddings will be probably something that we’re always going to do because it’s kind of our forte.


It’s what we’re good at and people really enjoy it.


We always get great feedback from clients, because it’s not something you see at a wedding.


Normally weddings consists of a mobile DJ, with a couple of cheap lights in the corners and off they go, right?


So here we are bringing in a whole production that’s normally reserved for concerts or festivals and we put on a big show and we do it at an extremely affordable price that most people would be actually shocked to find out just how affordable it can be.


Tim Bennett: Yeah, and I think it’s nice because you were talking earlier about the reason you do this was because it was all passion driven.


You don’t get much more passion driven than a wedding and that the two of those mix up very nice.


I remember the first time I saw a laser, I actually bought a club in England and my DJ sat me down and said, “we have a laser!”


And I was like, “what’s a laser?”


And he showed me the laser show and I was like “Oh my God”


It was a “WOW” moment.


I realized I had something very special in my hands and it literally changed my life.


Then about two years later, I went to see my very first, as you said, earlier, gas laser, RGB, professional laser show from a London based company and my whole world exploded.


I sat there and just went, “WOW, WOW, WOW!”


Then when I saw the people seeing lasers, they were also saying, “WOW!


I said,“I really like this wow effect that we have on people.”


That we can take people out of there boring, shitty lives for a little while, and just give them this fantastic moment that they don’t normally see.


And just give them a precious moment.


And I think this is really something that’s very beautiful about our industry is that we can do this.


There’s so much crap in the world and we just have these little moments of happiness and joy, beautiful lights and things.


And I think it’s a great industry to be in.


Rad Drobny: Yeah, it is.


It really is just an expression of visual art at the end of the day,.


The way that artists will mix colors together and invoke a feeling and It’s no different than all those lighting engineers that work in theaters live productions, they to have… every designer will have their own unique character that distinguishes them from the next person.


So just sharing that passion with people that have never seen a laser show before is to me, probably, one of the biggest reasons why I do what I do and I’ll continue to do what I do, despite the fact that right now, we’re going through very hard times for the entertainment industry, with the COVID-19 pandemic.


Everything is quite literally at a standstill in terms of shows and productions.


So we have to make do with what we have and I’ve taken this time to continue with my art form and to continue to develop products and create new shows.


I think it’s important to carry on and don’t get frustrated into this mindset thats, “Oh, well, I’m not gonna make any money.”


You know, if you’re in this industry to make money, you’re in the wrong industry.


This industry is passion driven and the ones with more passion, as opposed to the ones that are out for the, for the quick buck, the guy with the passion will succeed more than the guy that’s out to make a buck.


And that’s the way I see it.


I think this, this whole stigma has to go.


People being so stingy when it comes to rates.


What do I charge for a show?


You charge whatever you want.


At the end of the day, it’s your equipment.


It’s, it’s your passion and that’s what you should do.


Tim Bennett: And the entertainment industry has always had a lot thrown at it, but as they say, “the show must go on” and it always will.


We’ll be back soon with more shows.


And I know we could talk about this for hours and hours, I’m sure.


But what we actually came to talk about was taking photographs (laser photography) and videos of lasers.


Rad Drobny Wedding Laser Photo


And we’ll talk about that in just a moment.


We’re going to take a quick break.


Just to let you know, that I’m here with Rad Drobny from RadLab Laser Systems.


We’ll be back in just a minute.





Tim Bennett: Welcome back to ArgonTV.


I’m joined by Rad Drobney from RadLab Laser Systems and we’ve been having a great conversation about the entertainment industry and why we do what we do.


And now we’re going to switch over to what we actually came to talk about, which was how to take photographs and videos of lasers (Laser Photography)


So what tips can you give us Rad?


Rad Drobny: Okay, well, this subject is actually something that comes up quite often on the forums and online regarding new people that bought their first projector and they want to record their shows, but they’re having a hard time because of the inherent nature of how laser scanning works and what effect it has on a camera.


I took the Liberty of making a few posts, but they, they only stay up for so long and after a while people start asking the same question again.


I thought it would be a good idea to actually make a video and discuss it here.


There is a general rule of thumb when it comes to recording lasers.


First rule number one, always safety first.


Never ever, no matter what, project a laser into a camera.


It doesn’t matter if it’s a $20 camera or a $5,000 camera.


You will destroy the sensor.


It’s very important to have a good sense of safety in mind, before you even think about recording.


Secondly, the right settings are very important.


Generally speaking, regardless of using a cell phone or a DSLR, a professional camera, you always want to record with a shutter speed of 1/30th of a second.


The reason why you want to record at 1/30th of a second, is because you will get the least amount of flicker, when recording beams coming towards the camera.


Now with that said, it’s also important to keep in mind that the camera, your cell phone and your DSLR, will be limited to a shutter speed, depending on the frame rate that you’re recording at.


So you want to go into your settings and you want to make sure that you’re recording at 30 FPS.


So 30 frames per second.


If you record at 60 frames per second on most cameras, and I say most here and I’ll get into why that is in a second, but 60 frames per second, so 60 pictures in one second… that’s your video…


…will limit your camera’s shutter speed to 1/60th of a second and that will produce a lot more flicker.


Generally speaking, I say, stay at 30 FPS and with 30 frames per second or 30 pictures per second, you get that magic number of 1/30th of a second shutter speed.


And most cell phones, believe it or not, if you own a Galaxy, there’s been this debate thing of how good or which cell phone should I buy if I want to record the ideal laser show.


And I always say the same answer, Samsung Galaxy is your choice, do not go for iPhones.


iPhone used to be great, but they are not ideal to film laser shows simply due to the fact that their color gamut is very different.


And in fact will induce a lot of tones that don’t actually exist in the real counterpart.


You’ll actually have a lot of colors that are lacking from the original.


Your blue hues, you’ll have a hard time seeing the difference between a light blue and a dark blue.


It’ll just look blue.


I find that it (iPhone) has troubles with the violet spectrum and the green spectrum just seems too artificially blown out of proportion to me.


It’s like a low budget HDR reproduction.


If you’re going to have to choose between, you know, if you want that ideal cell phone camera go for a Samsung Galaxy.


Some might say, well, hold on, because Samsung and iPhone actually use the exact same Sony sensor and they do, but the sensor is only half the battle.


It’s actually how that light sensor is utilized in the software that matters.


And that is the difference between the two phones, or the two main ones.


Now there are other cell phones out there that take great pictures and great lasers, but I can’t comment on those.


Laser Photograpy Settings With RadLab Laser System


Those are the main two that I’ve worked with in the past and I always recommend Samsung.


Now in terms of DSLRs, once you get into the more professional digital cameras, you’re going to want to stay away from Canon.


We had a Canon EOS 2D, which is like the second from the last or second from the top of the line at the time and we had a lot of trouble filming a proper show with that camera.


Right now we use… the most recent video recordings that we do, is shot on a Sony A7 Mark III, which is one of their newest near the top of the line.


Until the A9 was released, the Sony A7 III was the top of the range for Sony and that is a phenomenal camera for filming laser shows.


It’s simply due to the fact that it will capture all those subtle color tones that most cameras miss, first of all.


Second of all, it does something that other cameras have trouble with and that is, it can actually record 60 frames per second at 1/30th of a shutter speed.


That’s because of its extremely fast shutter speed.


It has a very good mechanical system and it will give you the, at least in my opinion, based on, the cameras we’ve played with, that one was my favorite…


…is my favorite and it’s the one that we use, because we get a lot of questions about, what cameras are we using, what settings, and those are the settings that I’m using.


It’s a 1/30th shutter speed and it’s being recorded at 14/4 HD, although we can shoot 4K you cannot get away with those kinds of settings at higher resolution.


So yes, it is limited to 14/4 by 10, no, wait… I blanked.


That is probably the sweet spot really is you know, keep that figure in mind.


That’s all you have to do is 1/30th shutter speed and ISO settings, which is the artificial white balance in your shot, those you set to taste, so that depends on the room that you’re recording in.


Generally speaking, you want that room to be as dark as possible.


So you don’t film in any rooms that have windows or objects that are in the way, because it’s gonna ruin the whole look that you’re going for.


If you’re recording an image on a wall like graphics, laser graphics, and animations, your settings will probably likely be a little bit different as opposed to recording aerial effects where the projection is coming at the camera.


It’s important to make sure that your cameras stay safe.


How To Photograph A Laser Beam


In order to do that, you will set up your BAM in Pangolin’s Beyond and or Quickshow.


Both of them have (BAM) beam attenuation map settings.


So what I always do is, I keep the, the lens closed.


Some people say, put a piece of paper in front of the lens, do not do that.


A piece of paper will not stop a laser beam from destroying the sensor.


What you’re going to want to do is put something thick, like if you have a piece of metal, a small break of aluminum and anything that you know will not pass any light whatsoever, you stick that in front of the camera lens.


Then you set your projections on up and you set your BAM grid to make sure that a big chunk above, below, and to the sides of your lens, which is right in the middle, right where my head is…


…so I want to make sure that this whole area, nothing will ever enter this area in terms of the beams.


What you’ll end up with is a great looking, showing in the end.


Of course, how you design the show also matters and comes into play. 


A lot of people have noticed that all of my show designs are very centered around tunnel effects.


It’s kind of a box within a box type mentality.


When I design a show, I always design it with the intent that the projector will be at its maximum scan angle.


So as wide as possible, keeping in mind that the safe rule with regard to where the beams are above the audience and to the size of the audience and below the audience.


I simply call it an immersive show, but the cues that are in that show are designed to stay away from the center as much as humanly possible.


It is from an artistical, from an artistic sense… it’s limiting because you know, you can’t do a straight line going up the screen.


You kind of have to start either above and go up or below and go down.


Well, the end result is a show that is created to be an immersive experience for the audience, but it’s designed from a safety angle.


By the time it’s set up in an actual, a real life situation, what we’ll do, is we will have the audience seated.


Static… meaning nobody’s walking around.


There is a lot of safety buffers in place to make sure that if someone does get up, the show cuts out and that kind of has been our wedding forte so to speak.


You know, the types of shows we do, I mean, obviously for concerts and festivals, you’re limited to overhead only and that’s what we’ll do depending on the venue.


So yes, there are safe ways of doing shows that immerse the audience and give you sort of the, you know, I hate to say audience scanning effect because it’s not actually audience scanning.


It’s the illusion of audience scanning and this ties in with the camera, because believe it or not, every show that we’ve recorded over the last two years, have been recorded on the camera with zero BAM settings.


So there’s nothing preventing the laser from actually hitting the lens.


It’s way outside the scope, despite the fact that the projection zone is very narrow, because we film in a pretty small room, it’s maybe 15 feet long by 12 feet wide.


It’s a very small room that we’re recording, but it’s completely blocked out and the camera just sits on a tripod on the back wall.


Tim Bennett: I think this is really interesting and I think it’s going to be very, very helpful for the audience.


Not just you sharing the settings and unfortunately I do have an iPhone and you’re right about the the colors and everything.


And in fact, I’ve got 25 years of no photos.


I started off with 35 millimeter film.


I used to have processed and it’d come back and it’d be like, “there’s no lasers on it!”


I think the settings that you’re talking about, and the phones that you’re talking about, you know, the equipment is very cool for the audience.


But what I do like is, that you’re talking about safety and I had an interview recently with Roberta McHatton who is a Laser Safety Officer in the US and we were specifically talking, towards the end of the interview about laser safety and cameras.


She mentioned one of the things that you absolutely don’t want is, that there’s a newspaper reporter there, or someone with a $30,000 camera and you fry the damn thing because you’ve got a laser beam going straight into it and then you get a lawsuit for compensation.


So I think the fact that you’ve talked about laser safety as a main topic of your subject, #1 is very important and very good and I really hope that the audience listens to this…


Because one of the things I have observed and this was something you spoke about earlier…


…before in the early days when we first started, we had two distinct groups, there was the laser boys and the, the lighting boys.


And now with time, it’s kind of merging into one.


We’re switching over from lasers to lights and the lights are switching over to lasers, and we’re also going into 3D modeling and animation and all these industries are kind of merging.


One of the things I have observed is that as the new people come into lasers, they don’t have the safety training that they should have.


I think it’s really important that we hammer this home, that lasers can be hazardous if used incorrectly and of cost costly, if you hit someone’s camera.


And I remember when I first started I had a 100mw gas, argon laser and it was kind of cool.


We’d stand in it, but after a while of having the laser in your face, it gets tiring, blinking all the time.


So, you know, over the years we’ve actually adapted our shows, even before all the laser safety stuff started, so that, as you said, it’s overhead now and you can still make beautiful shows with illusion of audience scanning without actually audience scanning.


Rad Drobny: Yeah and that’s the other thing that I forgot to mention here is, especially for weddings, because every single wedding, we’ll have a photographer or videographer, some point that you obviously have no affiliation with.


So we always take it upon ourselves to get in touch with the clients videographers and photographers ahead of time and or before the event kicks off to let them know, “Hey, listen, we’re going to be using lasers.”


We actually give them the pointers of what settings to shoot at if they’ve never filmed it before, because I’ve actually seen this quite a lot with professional photographers.


What you have to keep in mind is that the rules governing professional photography don’t apply to laser photography.


It’s completely different.


The ideal settings for filming two people walking down the street are completely different from the ideal settings used to film a laser show.


We have seen it in the past where videographers tried to film the show and then they’ll come back to me and say, “Hey, I’m only seeing a bunch of lines kind of running around…it’s not the same like I’m seeing it in person!”


And you’re trying to explain to them that.


Hence the importance of the right settings.


We always take it upon ourselves to film the show ourselves and we’ll actually give it to the client after, so they have a record of the event in case, the videographers muck it up.


It’s very important to always let others know what your intentions are.


The number one thing that I always do before we even start setting an event, is I look at the event space itself.


I look at where the people are going to be.


I look at where the intended position of the projector is going to be or projectors and you always have to remember that golden 4:3 rule four meters, three meters.


As long as you stay outside those boundaries and those levels where it starts to become dangerous in any way, shape or form, don’t do the show.


If it means you have to cancel, if it means you lose the gig, you’re much better off losing the gig than you are doing it and then end up with A) a lawsuit or B) someone gets hit in the eye and they can’t see permanently or temporary eyesight damage is still pretty nasty.


So it’s important to make sure that you’re safe and I agree with you, with a lot of these lighting guys that want to get into lasers, they’ll go out and they’ll buy a 40 watt laser projector and you see their first gig, they’re blasting it straight into the audience.


And that just shows the lack of training.


I think the manufacturers and all the people that build and sell projectors are to some extent, liable to at least inform the customers of the basics of the safety aspect and why it’s important.


You have to respect the projector that you’re using.


If you have a respect for it, then you will always be safe.


You have to know what it’s capable of, you can not only light a match from 20 meters away, just imagine what it’ll do to your retinas or some kids eyes for crying out loud.


A lot of this is common sense, but it eludes so many people that something has to be done about it.


I think charging people a tremendous amount of money to learn about the safety aspects of lasers is wrong.


I think that a lot of these government mandated programs should be a lot more affordable to those that really want to get their certifications.


I know a lot of the guys in the States with the FDA and everything in the United States regarding lasers, they have it pretty bad in terms of all the different rules and regulations in place.


But I truly and firmly believe that a lot of this stuff can really be simplified.


And for crying out loud, take out those ridiculous price tags that are associated with training somebody to prevent an injury.


This, it boggles my mind… why does it cost hundreds of dollars to take a safety course when it should be nearly free.


I mean, this is something that everybody needs to know about regardless if you’re paying or not, you should know at least the basics.


And then obviously yes, the more advanced licenses I do agree with and they should stay in place.


But you know, I think we, we can’t let the industry become so disconnected, with regards to actually taking money from someone to learn about the basics of safety.


That should be free in my opinion.


Unfortunately it isn’t and a lot of people have paid the price in the laser industry.


Tim Bennett: Yes.


I totally agree with you on that.


My new “thing” at the moment is information wants to be free and I totally agree with you that it seems ludicrous that you have to pay so much for something that’s absolutely needed.


I want to go back to something you said just now, which I thought was really cool and very, very sweet of you.


At an event that we do, especially a wedding… a wedding is a very, very special moment for the couples and at the end of it, they have nothing.


It’s not like you buy a cup and you’ve got a cup at the end of the event.


The event’s finished and you don’t have anything except the memory, the photos and the videos.


And I think it’s really cool of you to… and this is the same for any event… just sit down with the people who are responsible for taking the photos and the videos and explaining them to how it works so that when the event is finished, that the organizer or the client has something really beautiful to show off to other people.


Because that’s what we want to do nowadays.


And that’s a really cool thing that you take that time to do that.


But what I pick up from that is as well, is that when the client is talking about you as a company and then they see the amazing photos and videos that you helped them produce, they will recommend you to other people just because of that over anyone else.


And I think that’s something that the industry needs to really pick up on is that we have to really take time to make this a wonderful experience for the client.


It’s not just about profit.


As you were saying, even walking away from an event that’s not safe.


So I think that’s really beautiful that you said that and I hope…


We’re not knocking the lighting industry in any way, but I think it’s awesome that the lighting guys are coming into the lasers and we’re all crossing over.


I think it’s brilliant that we’re all doing that.


This is the third or fourth conversation I’ve had with different people about this and I just hope that the lighting guys and the new guys coming in take note that there is a potential hazard and that you do need to have training.


And if you get the training, you’re going to have a wonderful career with it.


If you don’t, you potentially run the risk of lawsuits and hurting people or blinding people.


And it’s just totally unnecessary.


I hope people don’t take this the wrong way and the fact that we’re not knocking anyone in the industry, but we encourage your participation in the learning experience and making wonderful shows.


Rad Drobny: Exactly.


I think it comes down to that passion.


Let that passion out and if you’re doing it for the first time and you don’t know yet what looks good, what doesn’t, talk to people that have been doing shows for X amount of years and get their feedback.


Get their input of what you should do and what you shouldn’t do.


At the end of the day for us, it comes down to making sure that the person on the other end is as happy and satisfied with the show is I am.


I hate to say it this way, but I guess every show I make is always for some… there’s no other way of saying it, for some selfish reasons. 


It’s almost as if I’m doing it for me.


And my whole intention is to make it look as great on camera and give people the best experience possible, not because it makes me look good or it makes the company look good, but because I enjoy it.


I’m passionate about it.


I want the show to look as beautiful as it possibly can.


I guess that is the key recipe to success here is be passionate about what you do, keep striving, keep moving forward, keep making contacts.


Above all, don’t let yourself get sucked into this whole mentality that… I’ve been in the entertainment industry for what 20 something odd years now and it’s not all rays and sunshine.


I wouldn’t say there’s a lot of negativity, but there are negative people out there who want to benefit from artists financially or even from other other reasons,


Tim Bennett: You know, we are in the entertainment industry, we’re here to have fun.


And I think it’s important that we remember that we’re not here to hurt people.


So it needs to be set up in a professional, safe manner.


I want to thank you for highlighting the safety aspect and also sharing the settings.


And in a moment I’m gonna share, or we’re going to share with people how the audience can get in touch with you, if they want more information.


We’re just going to take a quick break.


We’ve been having a wow, amazing conversation.


I could talk about this all day with Rad Drobny from RadLab Laser Systems.


We’ll be back in just a moment.



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Tim Bennett: Welcome back.


I’ve been having an absolutely amazing conversation with Rad.


He’s been sharing some absolute golden nuggets about laser safety when it comes to photography and video, also sharing his settings.


And you know, if you have questions or want to reach out to Rad, I’m sure he’s very happy to help you with this.


How do we get in touch with you if we want to contact you?


Rad Drobny: The main contact for me will probably be our Facebook page: or you can get in touch with me on Facebook messenger, through YouTube.


That is really our main contact or through email at


We are still working on our website and that should be launched later on this year, so until then our Facebook page is our main contact.


But obviously we have a lot on the go right now.


So, it’s something that’s been under construction for the last little bit.


So that will be your main areas where you can reach me.


Tim Bennett: Fantastic.


And if you’re watching this video on my website, beneath this video, you will see the links so that you can get in touch with Rad.


If you’re watching this on YouTube, I’ll also put the links in the description beneath it, just scroll down and you’ll see the links there, so you can get in touch with him.


And then just very briefly, you did mention earlier that you were bringing out a new product, a new moving head to something.


Do you want to talk about that a little bit?


Rad Drobny: So I’ve been developing a brand new moving head, a counterpart to what you’re seeing behind me here.


This is the Aurora, it’s just being projected from the floor onto the screen there.


Aurora Laser Photography With Rad Drobny


This is sort of the first prototype that we built and we did a soft launch on that in December of 2019.


If you haven’t heard about it, that’s actually normal because we’ve only did it to a select few clients locally.


We did a very small production, a batch.


We literally quite literally only have five units left of that and that was sort of a tester, a feeler, to see how they pan out in real world.


Unfortunately with the COVID-19 situation coming in, it really put a damper on further developments.


However, the main moving head that I’ve been working on for a lot longer is actually in the final preparation stage right now of assembly and that is called the ILUX.


It is a moving head specifically developed to be the best friend of a laser.


It’s kind of following that Sharpy mentality that Clay Paky has started back in early 2000’s but this is kind of our own version of what we feel is the best discharge lamp counterpart to a laser projector.


A lot of the effects engine that we put into it is really designed to compliment an existing lineup of laser projectors.


So we’re really excited to release that and that should be coming up in the next couple of weeks.


Tim Bennett: Awesome and when that comes out, maybe we can revisit you and you can show us what it does


Rad Drobny: Absolutely. Absolutely


Tim Bennett: Cool. Cool.


And you know, you’ve been in business for a long time, so, you know, you’ve obviously a successful businessman and something.


I always like to ask people who’ve been in business so long and had success.


What is Rad’s key to success?


Rad Drobny: Ooh, key to success.


Happy wife, happy life!


The main, the main thing is just keep driving forward.


If you’re passionate about something and if you’re passionate about this industry, regardless if you’re watching this because you love lasers or you’re watching this because you love lighting in general or the wonderful world that we live in, also known as the visual arts.


If it’s truly in your heart and you believe that this is what you want to do with your life, keep pushing forward, keep taking those baby steps.


You will run into issues here and there, how you handle it will determine the outcome.


But the main thing to remember here is have a very high standard for quality and value.


I think is what it comes down to is, if you have a means to show that passion and people really appreciate it I think that’s the number one key to remember.


You got to believe in yourself, it sounds corny, but really that’s what it comes down to is, is that belief in yourself.


Getting out there and getting your feet wet and learning.


I’ve been doing this for over 20 years and I’m still learning every day.


That learning will never stop.


That’s the beauty of it.


I think that’s what keeps the passion going and the interest going and it’s key to success.


Tim Bennett: Awesome.


I think you’ll kinda correct on the first thing – Happy wife, happy life.


If you combine that with driving forward, there’s nothing better in life than not only driving forward, but having a relationship with someone who supports and loves you and pushes you forward.


I mean, you’re blessed for that.


I am absolutely blessed with that.


In fact, my wife is also my lead dancer.


So I’m in business, I’m in love and frugal at the same time…


Rad Drobny: That’s excellent.


Because my wife is actually the co-owner of RadLab Laser Systems and she is the customer relations expert.


So she’s the one that always deals with all the clients and people love her.


She has that outgoing personality and I love her for it because she shares that passion with me.


And I think that really helps with that equation, that key to success equation.


Tim Bennett: Awesome.


A beautiful way to finish.


I want to thank you for spending the hour with us. I think you shared some incredible information.


I think this is one of the videos that’s going to be very helpful to a lot of people, you know, even me, I’ve been in the industry for 28 years or something, I still can’t take great photos and videos of lasers.


So I’m going to have to go and buy a new phone now.


Damn it.


Anyway, thank you very much for being here.


I appreciate your time and your sharing of knowledge you are welcome back anytime you want to come.


I look forward to seeing your new light and a thank you to the audience for being here as well.


I hope you found this interesting.


If you want to get in touch with Rad, the information is beneath us and I look forward to seeing you all again.


Until then I’ve been in discussion, an enthralling discussion, with Rad Drobney from RabLab Laser Systems.


I look forward to seeing you all again on ArgonTV very soon.




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This post “Laser Photography – How To Photograph A Laser Beam” Was written exclusively for Argon Animation Inc by Tim Bennett © 2020

Rad Drobny and Tim Bennett talk about Laser Photography

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