• ILDA Technical Standards

  • ILDA Technical Standards

The documents below describe the current, official ILDA Technical Standards for laser displays. Click on any underlined link to view that standard.

ILDA Standard Projector

This document covers 30k scanner tuning, DB-25 connector and signal specifications, DMX-512 Effects Control, Effects Specifications, and ADAT Tape Playback and Track Assignments.

ILDA Image Data Transfer Format

This technical standard describes ILDA's official Image Data Transfer Format for exchanging laser show frames between systems. The resulting frames and files are often called "ILDA frames" or "ILDA files." However, since there may be other ILDA-format files, it is best to call these IDTF or "ILDA IDTF" frames and files.

You can obtain frames from any program that correctly writes IDTF-format files, and transparently load them directly into any system that can load IDTF-format files. Similarly, you can save frames in IDTF format, to sell or trade with users of other systems that read IDTF format.

The IDTF format is intended for frame exchange purposes only. A laser system is free to read and write its own proprietary format that best meets its features and requirements. It is not optimized for space or speed, and it is not currently concerned with display issues such as point output rate. Also, the format does not include show information such as timing of frames.

Generally, the highest function the IDTF format can provide is a sequence of frames which play back to form an animation.

ILDA Test Pattern
My Image

ILDA format files: zip file containing 11 sample and test files. Includes 12K and 30K test patterns.

The ILDA Test Pattern very accurately defines mechanical laser scanner response. The test pattern's primary use is in alignment and calibration of galvanometer based laser vector graphic projection systems.

This known response is crucial to proper reproduction of interchanged imagery. Use this test pattern to calibrate programming and playback equipment prior to the commencement of image creation.

The point output rate associated with this ILDA Standard defines only the rate which must be used during scanner adjustment. This standard does not affect the point rate at which subsequent images may be generated or reproduced.

ILDA Glossary

Revision 002, November 1993

If your copy of Word cannot open the above which is in an older .DOC format, try this one in .DOCX format.

The ILDA Glossary was done in the early 1990s, at a time when different laser show companies used different words to describe identical concepts. For example, what is now called a “frame” was also called a “cel” or an “image.”

The goal of the Glossary was to standardize terms used in the laser display field. Over time, most of the terms in the Glossary either became commonly used, or were superseded by an improved device (e.g., PCAOMs). For this reason, the Glossary is included here mostly for historical interest.

The Glossary was produced by the Terminology Standardization Committee, which was separate from the Technical Committee. But since the Glossary lists technical terms, we have put it on this tech standards webpage.

ILDA Digital Network (IDN)

For a general overview of IDN, see the page About IDN - ILDA Digital Network.

ILDA Digital Network (IDN) Stream Specification

The IDN-Stream standard describes the encoding of laser show artwork into digital data streams. This can be from single laser projector data sent across a network connection up to entire laser shows including multimedia content, stored in data files for playing back in a target environment.

The goal of IDN-Stream is to set a new direction in laser projection data handling. It is to add meta information and timing to content and thereby making artwork describe itself instead of being bound to specific environments.

IDN-Stream wants to unify digital connections by moving the projector interface from an electrical level to a protocol level and wants to offer a new universal exchange format for movie-like artwork. It again ensures the compatibility and interchangeability of hardware, software and artware in order that the results are predictable and that the artwork is faithfully reproduced from system to system like the ILDA Standard Projector did when it was defined.

ILDA Digital Network resources

The ILDA Technical Committee has a separate website with resources about the IDN. As of March 2021 it contains the following sections:

  • Commercial Products (Software systems, Plugins and drivers, Turnkey products, Hardware)
  • Integration (OEM components)
  • Projects (Platforms, Tools, Source code and libraries)
  • Documentation (link back to this page which has the standards)

Proposed (not actual) standards

You can use these proposed standards for guidance such as understanding ILDA's technical goals, or for preliminary product development. But be aware there may be differences between draft versions and any final, official version approved by the Technical Committee and the ILDA Board. Also, ILDA is not responsible if a proposed standard is voted down, becomes outdated or unused, or in other ways never becomes a final, official standard.

ILDA Digital Network (IDN) Discovery Protocol "IDN-Hello"

In development:
DN-Hello draft March 27 2022
For potentially more up-to-date versions, see the "Source Code and Libraries" section of the
ILDA-Digital.com webpage

The proposed IDN-Hello standard describes the protocol for the detection, enumeration and query of IDN-enabled devices. By a requestor, it can be used to discover the topology and configuration of an IDN segment and map services like laser display, DMX512 or audio to devices. Since the protocol introduces an abstraction layer, these devices can be located locally or remotely.

The protocol further defines a realtime access to the default IDN session which can be used to process IDN-Stream messages in realtime. This is the easiest and most direct way of passing IDN-Stream messages between systems.

Although preliminary implementations exist, the standard is currently under development and testing. While the core part of discovery and processing of IDN-Stream messages is pretty much finished, handling of service/unit/link properties and link timing measurements is a work in progress. Please contact the Technical Committee for the most recent status.

ILDA Digital Network (IDN) File Transfer Format

In development
January 15 2021 draft

The proposed IDN-File standard describes the format for storage of IDN-Stream messages persistently in files. These files start with a main header structure describing origin and format which is followed by a linked list of anchor message structures describing interfaces (based on a service map which essentially defines a virtual IDN device) for the streams in the data sections. A file can contain multiple streams. Locator tables can be used to navigate inside the streams.

Although preliminary implementations exist, the standard is under development and testing. While the core part of storage and positioning is pretty much finished, handling of calibration/reproduction and standard service assignment is a work in progress. Please contact the Technical Committee for the most recent status.

ILDA Digital Network (IDN) Session Maintenance

In development

The proposed IDN-Session standard describes the protocol to maintain a session on a remote IDN device. Sessions receive IDN-Stream messages, maintain buffers, keep a clock, manage resources and schedule message for output processing.

Generally, a session is independent from the link on which messages are transmitted. The standard for sophisticated systems that are able to handle buffer management and to do ahead of time streaming are reliable data connections which this standard defines. Realtime streaming on the other hand can be done through the IDN-Hello protocol by talking to a default session.

The standard is currently under development. While the core part of the session functionality is finished and proven to be consistent, the protocol for the reliable data connection, application buffer management and clock maintenance are work in progress. Please contact the Technical Committee for the most recent status.

For more information, visit our other ILDA websites:

Stacks Image 11369
ILDAmember.com: Membership database and event management, including joining ILDA
Stacks Image 11372
LasershowSafety.info: Information about safe laser shows, including laws, regulations, checklists, and more

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