In architectural lighting, a lighting fixture is typically used to serve a fundamental purpose. This could mean that you're trying to highlight an area of a specific object, provide more light to an area that needs it, or alter the entire perspective to fit a specific view that you're looking for.
Normal lighting fixtures are beginning to become limited in comparison to lasers, when you consider the amount of different kind of effects, and uses, a single fixture can provide. That is why lasers are becoming very prominent with architects and designers, who are looking for a single product that provides a vast area of lighting solutions that can work across multiple areas, and create a multitude of effects.
What do lasers benefit over normal lighting fixtures?
One of the biggest advantages to lasers over normal lighting fixtures is their versatility. Simply put, they can create more effects. With traditional lighting, you can “uplight” a building or fixture, or you can project a “gobo”, but after this, you’re pretty limited in nature.
The onset of video projection has helped expand the type of effects you can create, but video projection can be incredibly cost prohibitive.
With lasers, you can really create a huge array of lighting effects, and at an incredibly affordable price point, when compared with other lighting / video alternatives. And, lasers can be configured for permanent outdoor installations now, with remote monitoring, making them incredibly efficient for long term permanent installs.
Lets define these effects below:
Laser Mapping - The most well known type of effect for designers is Laser Mapping. Typically, laser mapping is used to highlight or accent an object. This could be by highlighting an important feature or to make an entire object or portion of an object stand out.
Laser mapping can also be combined with video, so that the video “fills in” the space, and the lasers outline it. This creates a wonderful effects, and it’s really becoming quite popular. A quick example can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T39CwJvbLeI.
Laser Logos, Graphics, and Text - Another popular effect is the use of projected laser text and graphics. This is huge for display advertising, and digital signage. Using a laser, you can project any sort of laser graphic, logo, message or text you can imagine, and across immense distances.
These can be projected onto the surface of a building, wall or structure, for all to see. Due to the inherent nature of laser, it’s very eye catching. And you are beginning to see lasers replacing other traditional forms of advertising like banners, neon signs, etc.
Laser uplighting - Using lasers, you can also create "uplighting" effects, which traditional LED spots have been used to do.
So as you can see, with one simple light source (i.e. the laser) you can create a multitude of effects, which would generally require you to purchase an array of different lighting products.
Easier, and broader methods for laser control
Control of lasers is also vastly simpler than many other lighting elements. Today, most professional lasers have an integrated media server, called FB4.
The FB4 media server comes with a design and content creation software (called QuickShow or BEYOND). Using the software, you can design any sort of projected laser mapping effect, or laser graphics, text, logos, or uplighting or beam effects you desire.
Then, those effects can be controlled over DMX or ArtNET, or set to play automatically using the integrated real time clock, on the FB4 - so your laser can run itself, entirely, at a specified date and time, you decide.
Real world video examples
We want to help give you a real world visual example of lasers in action, so we have gathered a few great examples of how lasers can be used for architectural lighting, all of which are found below.