AVL Multi-Image Slide Show Computers

In the '70s and '80s, Audio Visual Laboratories built a line of computerized multi-image slide show programmers that were more or less the standard machines in use in the "A/V business" at that time.  I myself made a living programming and staging shows with these from '84 to '96. Now, multi-image is dead, slides are dead, and all of the people who were involved in producing and staging these shows are now working with other technologies.

Now my Genesis is somewhere in the garage, a couple of Doves are in the attic.  I just unearthed a couple of AVL manuals from the back of my office closet.  I thought it would be amusing to scan in some of this stuff and make them available for those who can appreciate them (or, incredibly, make use of them).   Print them out, dust off that machine and do some real programming for a change!

                Multi-Image Computer
AVL ShowPro III Multi-Image AV Computer operator's manual:
This one is"old school" even for me - mercifully a few years before my time.  Just thinking about programming a show with this thing is mind-bending to me.  If you mastered this machine, my hat is (still) off to you.

Here is the 144 page AVL Genesis Procall-X User Guide, the programming language used by the AVL Genesis computer from the mid '80s forward.

If you have an AVL Genesis Board Set,
here is the installation guide.
Be aware that you'll need a mid-to-late-'80s-vintage PC
with an 8-bit slot!
This thing was designed to work with the computers
of it's time - a faster machine won't do.

If you don't have a copy of Procall X, hopefully you have Procall 5.  Here is the AVL Genesis Procall 5 User Guide

Here's how to set up your Desktop Genesis.

Here's how to set up your Portable Genesis.

Pocket Procall.  Originally produced as a little fold-out sheet, it's a list of all the Procall commands.
Here, it's 2 pages ready to print to keep nearby when programming your next extravaganza.

Here is how to Program a Multi-Image Show with the AVL Genesis.

Here is a nice article about the rise of Audio Visual Laboratories.

If you have a Genesis but don't have a working copy of Procall X to program multi-image slide shows with, here it is!
Download this zip file with all the files needed to create a bootable floppy with Procall X1.27 on it.
Hopefully you have a PC new enough to get these files into, and old enough to include a 5 1/4" floppy drive!
I believe you will need a blank 360k floppy disk.  The easiest method would be to unzip these files directly
onto the floppy.  If you unzip them to a folder on your windows PC first, be sure your system is set
to "see hidden files".  Otherwise, you won't see some of them!

What AVL Procall X looks like:

Here is a sample log-in and editing session using Procall X. 
Run the video then click on the fullscreen

button for the complete early-'80s feeling!

Slide programmers challenge
:  You can see that the example above executes a loop of six projectors, that doesn't end
until a cue is hit to stop it.  When I built this, I missed entering one cue, consequently the loop is less than perfect. 
Tell me what the cue is, and cue # it should inserted into, and you win a free "used-once" EXR projector lamp (shipping not included). 
Or, you win the satisfaction of knowing that your long term memory is intact and you can recall tiny details about
obsolete technology and techniques.  Even better: Tell me why the EXR is "used once" and you win two!

(read more about Procall and AVL at http://www.herriott-sadler.co.uk/business/toolkit/avl.html )

Last but not least:

Here I am in 1982, working as a slide mounter at the DuraSell Corp, 360 Lexington Ave, NYC.  Maybe I was waiting for the lab....

And, working at my very last (?) multi-image job, in 2003.
(well it wasn't exactly MULTI-image, but it gave me the chance to rent my portable Genesis one last time)

Addendum: November 2011 - A multi-image project!

This webpage led Renata Pedrosa, an artist in São Paulo, Brazil, to write and ask me "how to use a Dove to run a slideshow".  She was building an exhibition and had in mind a 12 slide, 3 minute, looping slideshow - that would run for the 2 month duration of her event.  After a bit of explaining about needing a programming device, positrak, and all the rest, I volunteered to program the show for her. 

Here's how it worked:  She sent me an .mp3 of the audio for her show.  I built a simple program on my Genesis with 12 dissolves.   I didn't have the slides, but set up a Dove and two empty projectors just to see the dissolves.   I played her audio, analog, into one track of an analog/digital converter - and the output of  the Genesis, looped through the Dove, into the other track (cueing the show in real time, to the audio), and captured them on my PC as a .wav file.   I then emailed the file back.

She ran the file from an mp3 player, set to loop the track.  One channel was audio for the speakers, the other, positrak for the Dove. 
There was an appropriate pause and a HOME cue at the end of the track, to reset the two projectors.  It ran great, for two months.  Fun!  

Here's her setup...

She was kind enough to include me on the wall leading into the exhibit!

Here's an image of the exhibition, from her website.

Addendum: December 2011

Look what I went and bought for $10 on ebay!  It's an AVL Coyote.  It looks brand new, and seems to work fine.  I never used one of these things on a job (I think it was kind of low-end, relatively speaking).  It can program a 3 projector slideshow, can "load" or "dump" cues to and from "mag tape", has a built-in Dove, and can input and output positrak.  It can't make use of clocktrac, however.

AVL Coyote
Here is the back panel on an AVL Coyote

The Coyote's interface - very '80s.  Here is the next cue to be executed...

Here is the manual for the AVL Coyote!  I recently found one!

A Cool Souvenir: December 2014

Bill Lewis of avtools.com presented me with this very cool coin, which apparently was a giveaway at the 1979 NAVA show.
Have a look!

AVL coin from NAVA event 1979

December 2014: Look what I found!

I bought a chief stacker complete with projectors, lenses, a dove, and a "Travler" cassette player.  The really interesting part is not the gear, but what came with it!  A 3 projector slideshow, pitching multi-image (over film and video) as a presentation medium!  Of course I wasted no time to capture it and post it to youtube, shot from a"programmers view".  Make this fullscreen and HD! 

Here is what I am doing now
email me