Inventing the
Laser Light Show

“The general public is becoming increasingly aware of the many applications of lasers: in scientific research, medicine, engineering, communications, manufacturing, holography, and certainly entertainment and the arts. These sophisticated sources of infrared, visible, and ultraviolet light energy have even become a part of science–fiction folklore; no respectable futuristic film of the ‘Star Wars’ variety would be without an arsenal of laser–inspired weaponry and visual effects. While more earthbound, our concerns ... relate to the technology, much of it based in audio–frequency electronic devices, which permit the control of laser beams for applications in the performing arts.”

After many decades, laser light shows have taken their place among other popular entertainment media designed for large–scale audiences. Laser light shows have become ubiquitous—they can be found at entertainment parks, music concerts, planetariums, and are even available for hire. Nearly everyone in modern society has seen or heard of laser light shows. On the other hand, very few people know of the medium's origins.

Lowell Cross, in collaboration with physicist Carson Jeffries, is recognized as the inventor of the modern laser light show. The original system, VIDEO/LASER I, made its debut on May 9, 1969. It was first system to use x–y deflection and accompanying technologies, those which are found in laser light shows to this day.

The web site provides history, articles, technical details, and the artistic works associated with the VIDEO/LASER systems. Available on this site you will find:

  • a timeline describing the events surrounding the creation of Professor Cross’s VIDEO/LASER systems;
  • art and music created by Professor Cross and others—images, movies, and sounds which are the true artistic expression and end results of the laser light show medium;
  • interactive demonstrations of the science and technology behind the modern laser light show;
  • venues around the world where the VIDEO/LASER and associated systems have performed;
  • and a collection of articles and other materials written by Professor Cross, describing in detail the history, technology, development, and art of the laser light show.

Professor Cross invites you to explore and enjoy this content–rich web site. And if you have any questions or comments, your feedback is welcomed and appreciated.