AVL Multi-Image Slide Show Computers
In the '70s and '80s, Audio Visual Laboratories (AVL) built a line of computerized multi-image slide show computers 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, the multi-image slide show business is history, and all of the people who were involved in producing and staging these shows are now working with other technologies.
AVL Audio Visual
              Laboratories logo In recent years I have unearthed my AVL gear: My Genesis from the garage, a couple of Doves out of the attic.  I found a bunch of AVL manuals in the back of my office closet.  I thought it would be amusing to scan in these things 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!

AVL's Earliest Programmers

The earliest multi-image slideshow programmers built by AVL were not "computers" in the modern sense - no keyboard and screen. 
They were "computerized" devices with a variety of buttons and switches that each provided a single function.  These machine are "old school" even for me - mercifully a few years before my time.  Just thinking about programming a show with these is mind-bending to me.  If you mastered these machines, my hat is (still) off to you.

The AVL Show Pro:  This machine drove as many as eight (someone correct me if I am wrong here) projectors.  Instead of saving programs on floppy disc, or even on magnetic tape, this machine used a punched paper tape system!  Quoting this site: "Everything was done by hand: timings with a stopwatch; code with holes; fixes with Scotch tape."
AVL Show
              Pro II
The AVL Show Pro II:  Similar to the original Show Pro, but could drive nine projectors. (Again, someone please correct me or elaborate on this as needed.  I could also use a better photo...)
AVL
              punched paper tape writer
The Show Pro and Show Pro II had punched paper tape readers only.  To save or "write" a program for later use, this separate paper-punching machine was connected.
AVL Show Pro III
The AVL Show Pro III:  This is the first programmer that could save and load a program from magnetic tape (typically 1/4 inch reel to reel tape) - a vast improvement over punched paper tape!

Got one and need to brush up?  Here's the AVL ShowPro III Multi-Image AV Computer operator's manual
AVL Show
              Pro V
The AVL Show Pro V: 
The last in this line of machines.
It could drive 15 projectors.


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.
AVL Show Pro 3 & 5 Service Manual
Are you the last guy on the planet that is trying to repair an AVL Show Pro 3 or 5? 
Here is the only place on the planet to find an
AVL Show Pro 3 & 5 Service Manual
!
(Thanks to Harry in NYC, who sent me the pdf!)
AVL Road runner
              with RX1 expander, FD1 floppy drive and VM 5 5"
              Monitor
Do you have an AVL Road Runner?

Is it complete with expander, external floppy drive and 5" monitor?  I do, and am in the process of TRYING to bring it back to life.  Here is the Road runner manual, which includes testing procedures to try if yours isn't running like it's 1981.
(manual courtesy of Peter K in the UK)

By the way, if yours IS working, and you've got working
road runner procall disks, please let me know!
AVL Super Dove
The AVL "Super Dove" was a later offering from AVL and can do more tricks than I can even fathom.  I bought one; I have the manual; maybe I will figure it all out someday.

Here's the manual for the AVL Super Dove


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.

Enhanced Procall:  If you have a copy of "Enhanced Procall", you're going to want the AVL Enhanced Procall Users Manual

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 )

 
In the beginning:


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. I suppose it wasn't exactly MULTI-image,
but it gave me the chance to rent my portable Genesis one last time.  Thanks, Joe D.


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.


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's another gift from a fellow multi-image person.  Seen one of these lately?

wess plastic bubble level     

How much is there to know about a Wess bubble level?  Click here to find out.


Another AVL giveaway unearthed...

Bill Lewis of avtools.com turned up this cool AVL tie-tack!

AVL pin


What do you do when you have a bunch of multi-image gear to test, but no slides to test it with?  This...




Sales Sheets!
Here is a promotional folder full of data sheets for various AVL products.  Take a look.  You can see individual sheets by clicking on the
name of each product as shown below.   Note: the sheets all include a phone number - don't call it!  AVL is long gone.

Sun Sun Sun Sun Sun Sun Sun Sun Sun Sun Sun
Oct, 2017: An AVL Pro Travler III arrives.
I was contacted by an organization that had an AVL Pro Travler III sitting on their shelf.  Rather than send it to the scrapyard,
they offered it to me for nothing more than the cost of shipping!  How could I refuse? 

AVL Pro Travler III

Here is what I am doing now
Back to the top page
email me