> > > >

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 341 (328)

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition
1948-49 Theatre Catalog
1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 341
Page 341

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 341

FLUSH PlNHOLE-TYPE SPOTLIGHT is easily concealed. 1t projects a shaped beam through a small aperture. It finds special use underneath balconies. framing exits, displays. and so forth.


These conditions can be met most readily by employing the following groups of lights. They are listed more or less in order of importance depending on the varied functions of the auditorium. Some may be omitted or combined. For instance, downlights are essential where there is any note-taking or program-reading, but they are of doubtful value in a motion picture theatre, except over the aisles.

The following suggestions should be carefully related to the uses of the theatre. Auditorium lights are far less important in the motion-picture house than in the legitimate, concert or lecture auditorium where the performance is not continuous. However, there is good reason to believe that there would be far greater eye comfort in the motionpicture theatre if the sharp contrasts of the picture screen were tempered by a low level of general illumination (which is shielded carefully from the screen) were maintained during the showing of pictures. Certainly the problem of getting in and out of seats would be simplified and the customary gloom of the motion-picture theatre dispelled for good and all.


Downlights are usually hush-ceiling units of inconspicuous proportions and brightness. They should give a general illumination at the seating level of 10'to 20-foot candles and may be tinted in color although with incandescent lights this decreases efiiciency. The distribution should be downward within a controlled cone that is not in the normal line of vision (generally slightly forward over the entire seating area, preferably not on the walls). There should be a sudicient number so that shadows are reduced to a minimum.

General Illumination

Downlighting alone tends to create a dark ceiling and a gloomy atmosphere. A dim, indirect lighting which illuminates the ceiling (and perhaps the walls) is an essential combination with downlights. These lights may be colored to create variety and atmosphere.

Wall or ceiling lighting is generally provided by a properly designed cove.

It should project the light well out across the ceiling, without permitting too much light to fall on the near wall thus causing a sharp brightness contrast between the cove line and the wall above.

A properly designed cove light is one which does not reveal itself. After all, its function is not to provide illumination so much as to keep the ceiling from being dark and to keep the auditorium from having a gloomy atmosphere. Fluorescent lamps of the cold-cathode variety can be used for cove strips because they can be dimmed reasonably well. Hotcathode (standard fluorescent) and Slimline tubes can only be used where no dimming is required.

Exit and Aisle Lights

Exit lights are required by code in most places of public assembly.

Aisle lights are an added refinement, even required in some states, but they should be well shielded so as not to interrupt the view of the stage or to provide too much illumination during a scene black-out or the showing of slides or films.

A special set of downlights covering just the aisles or better ultra-violet projectors and fiuorescent carpets can be used.

Decorative Elements

The foregoing paragraphs are devoted to functional sources of illumination. The architect may wish to have luminous areas, murals, has-reliefs fabric crystal or metalic details, as part of his architectural decoration, These should be designed, however, to fit into the scheme so as not to be distracting as the average lighting fixture is today.

Under-Balcony Lights

Inasmuch as the ceiling of the balcony is generally low, it may be necessary to depart from the use of downlights and

depend upon a cove or luminous flush'

ceiling panels which do not distract from the occasion. However, with the present equipment available, this form of lighting can never be as effective as downlights plus general lighting.

FLUSH-TYPE EXIT SIGN has a hinged door for easy access. While exit lights are required by almost all local codes. aisle lights are an added refinement, although in some places, these. too, are required by code. Aisle lights should be shielded so as not to interrupt the view of the stage or to provide too much illumination during the showing of slides or motion pictures in the auditorium.

uwggtuesah %

UNDERNEATH THE BALCONY, a flush. wide angle diffusing lens unit, such as shown here, can be used for general illumination of the audience area. Several of these would be required.


The lounges should be lighted softly very much like a club room and yet an added attraction particularly where colorful gowns may be parading but would be to put in an occasional downlight to make the person appear as a picture for a moment in passing.

Powder rooms should have well lighted mirrors, otherwise, the lighting may be soft and pleasant.


Stage-lighting equipment is determined by the physical proportions and employment of the playing space. If it is to be used only for speakers and concerts or choral work, the speaker lights and some concealed over-head lighting for the musicians should be considered. If it is to be used as a stage, flexibility becomes the important criterion for choosing a layout. In general, all lighting equipment, except perhaps the footlights, borderlights, and cyclorama lights should be portable. Even these, if portable will be able to serve many purposes

when there is no need for them to be used in the normal manner.

This fascinating and complicated problem can only be touched upon here. The most elaborate layouts are to be found in the larger presentation houses devoted to extravagant stage shows. A more conservative but equally flexible and carefully selected equipment is used in a legitimate theatre. Concert and speaker platforms need only the most elementary layout to provide accent on the conductor, soloist or speaker and adequate illumination for the musicians so that they can read their scores. In general, stage lighting can be classified into a few groups of equipment plus a flexible type of switchboard to control the intensity of each or all of the lights in use.

Acting area lights are generally spotlights directed onto the acting area to give accent to the actor. They may be in the form of high-intensity arc lights located in the picture booth (providing the most fiexible control of direction and

' color in the hands of a competent opera tor).


i v


I r l
1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 341