HT lighting zones

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Roy Brooks, Nov 21, 2004.

  1. Roy Brooks

    Roy Brooks Agent

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    I have a question regarding the number of zones I will or should have in my theater.the room is 12' by 18' by 7'10" or less.
    Lighting will consist of
    - 8 3" pot light 50w each that ring the room in the soffit
    - 6 3" in the raised center area of the room
    - rope light around the raised center area of ceiling
    - rope light around 2nd row riser, and possible stage
    - was also thinking about 6 home made light posters (3 down each side of the room)
    I don't know how bright the lighted poster boxes would be using 18' of rope light, would they need to be dimmable and would you have them on during the movie?
    Concerned about ganging the rope light soffits, riser and stage together. When viewing, do others usually have any lights on? Would rope lights round the bull nose of a stage be distracting during viewing? I would like to keep the riser stair lit? How do you have your theater zoned and what lights are on when. Thanks
     
  2. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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    That lighting configuration is similar to mine:

    http://members.shaw.ca/metropolis/welcome.html

    Ideally the lights should be all off during any critical viewing, with the exception of the riser/step lights for safety. The latter are dimmable as well and it takes very little glow in an otherwise darkened room to highlight where the edges are. I think stage ropes would be distracting so would suggest you have them on a separate zone.

    With products like Lutron's Spacer system (there's a 101 installation thread stuck at the top of this forum) you can pre-program and retrieve four distinct scenes. What moods you want to create are up to you. I'm not finished my theater yet but I envision the following:
    • Intermission Scene - passage lights would be full on with some other mood lighting (ex. indirect from crown moulding) up so people can pass in and out safely while not buring out the eyes.
    • Movie Scene - basically all off with the exception of dimmed rope lights around steps and riser. Possibly bulkhead lighting but at minimum. Really should be all off with the exception of safety lights.
    • Entertaining Scene - indirect moulding lighting full up with some bulkhead lighting for things like Superbowl or Oscar parties. So still relatively dim but not too dark.
    • Music Scene - very subdued lighting for just listening to 2 channel.

    The best part is that with something like the Spacer product experimentation is very easy. I drafted a quick table with my individual zones across the top and the four scenes on the side. Then just fill in ideas for each square. Good way to organize your thoughts and, if you're in the initial construction stage, can highlight where you might require an extra zone or two. If I were to have done this pre-construction I would have added a sixth zone to separate the stage ropes from the stage pots as I only just realized where I would want to control them separately. If not to big a job I may add another dimmer after the fact.
     
  3. Tom Kay

    Tom Kay Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Roy,

    I just moved my gear into my HT room, even though it's really not done, but at least everything's set up and in use.

    Even after a few movies, I am finding that I'm very happy to have made a central square of four pot lights in the middle of the ceiling, and six other pots in an outer ring. I turn the inner four off during movies, and leave the outer six on low. This will change, when I buy a projector and screen. Right now, I have a 36 inch Toshiba tube, and with the inner 4 lights off, I see no reflections in the screen when I sit to watch a show.

    I will have crown molding with dimmable rope lighting sitting in it. This might get used instead of the six outer pot lights once I get a screen. My wife doesn't like it too dark, so I have to compromise. I had planned on getting a 6500K bias light to mount behind the TV, to "paint" the wall and reduce eye-strain, but with the six outer lights on, this seems to not be such a need. My eyes don't hurt after watching with a little bit of light in the room.

    So, hope this gives you more to chew on.

    Cheers, Tom Kay, Ottawa.
     
  4. TeddM

    TeddM Agent

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    If that rope lighting is for full size 27x41" Marquees, eighteen feet of rope light is not enough. I settled on 28 feet (18' + 12' joined -less 2 feet cut off). I plan on dimming mine. For six, you would definately want to turn them off for a movie.

    I'd be tempted to split the screen area and viewer area pot lamps into separate zones.

    Isn't that alot of lighting in that size of room? You might be able to shave some expense here. In a 9.6' x 21' room, I am going with my rope light marquee at the rear, centrally located, four small sconces on the side walls, and six 50w pots, two for the screen and one over each end of the two seating rows. The av rack will get rope light in the frame (routed slot) and the steps for the riser will get rope light.
     
  5. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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    It's not the quantity of light but the quality. More lighting options of different types allows more flexibility in creating moods for the room.
     
  6. Roy Brooks

    Roy Brooks Agent

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    I was wondering about the # of lights, thinking it might be too many. I took a couple out of the package and wired them up to play with the distance between them and to see the light pattern. They seem to through a fairly narrow cne of light that is about 5' diameter at the mounting height of 7'. They are halogen 120v 50 watt bulbs but I don't remember the name for them Gr 10? ( not mr16 bulbs). Like Jay said I rally can't see having all the lights on at once except on clean-up, and maybe if the room is being used for games of some sort. I plan on using the Spacer system but the prices I've gotten so far are about $90cdn per unit. Does that sound about right? I envision the 4 scenely as follows.
    - all pot lights on and maybe the poster boxes
    - entry - poster boxes, all rope lights, perimeter pots on
    -intermission- rope lights maybe posters perimter low
    -movie ? maybe crown rope lights (low) riser lights (low)

    I will probably being playing with the levels all the time. I'm an electrician but trade and always trying to be prepared by adding extra capabilities. I like the idea of having the master spacer at the door and the others at another location, I think it will make a cleaner install. I might try to add a small star ceiling in the entrance area about 4' square, Ihave about 250' of 1mm fiber laying round.
    Tedd have you tried dimming to poster boxes at all?
    Thanks for the info
     
  7. TeddM

    TeddM Agent

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    The marquee will be tied into my Lutron 3104. The maximum brightness with 30 feet of rope light with a gloss white box, a white difuser panel and using a double sided poster is ideal brightness.

    Be careful with what Spacers you buy. I don't think the $90 CDN ones have the ir receivers in the clear backs.

    I've been in many home theaters, and I think the lighting could be cut back (pot lights) without hurting function or scenes. I have never seen a dedicated room with that much lighting, including one very high end 17 x 27' room that seats 15. Perhaps the best way to decide on what you need would be to work back from the planned activites and desired scenes.
     

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