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Masking Light Spill with Light

Cedarville University - Jeremiah Chapel

Cedarville, OHIO

In a theatrical environment where lighting has been designed to precisely light the stage, spillage from back stage, wings, utility rooms and hallways can spoil the effect. As access and illumination is required in each of these areas, we can’t simply cut the power and darken them completely. Likewise, blackout curtains can present hazards to entryways leading to additional safety concerns. Learn more about how we helped Cedarville University solve their lighting challenge, while enhancing the safety and functionality of the space.


Issue: Light Spill from an Adjacent Hallway Spilling On Stage

The challenge in Cedarville University’s Jeremiah Chapel was to mitigate light spill from doors in the back of the stage, which opened to a public hallway. As crew and staff would regularly enter and exit through the stage access doors during services, it became necessary to prevent unintended and distracting light spill each time the door was opened. VLS provided control solutions and lighting fixtures to reduce the amount of light on stage, while providing useful illumination for anyone walking through the adjacent hallway.

Opening the Door to a Solution

Vincent Lighting Systems' Adam Hayward devised a solution for the light spill problem. Masking with walls or curtains was out of the question as access requirements did not permit additional space for such obstacles. Additionally, the hallway is a highly traveled corridor and could not be completely blacked out. Adam recommended a system including ETC GDS BluesSystem to create an unobtrusive blue glow just outside the stage door. The LED light fixtures allowed for light to be directed away from the entrance, and the alternate lighting was easily controlled to switch between the original hallway lights and the show-state lighting.

Integrating the BluesSystem Solution

BluesSystem LED domes - made by Electronic Theatre Controls - were placed to light the area directly outside the stage door. The BlueBeams receive low voltage power and a control signal from a small power supply unit. Given the option to utilize either a dry contact closure or DMX control, the best solution for Cedarville was to integrate controls with their existing DMX Architectural controls.

Since the offending fluorescent lights were also part of the night light/emergency lighting systems, VLS was also tasked with maintaining the intended safety features of the existing lights. Our solution included programming the architectural controls to douse the hallway lights whenever the BluesSystem were activated, and to restore normal lighting when the blue lights were disengaged. By routing power for the hallway lights through a relay in the dimmer cabinet, which was fed through the Emergency transfer switch, our project managers were able to maintain complete function of the emergency lighting circuits, no matter the state of the BluesSystem LEDs.

VLS: Lighting Solutions and Integration Experts

Every lighting installation is unique. Discuss your lighting project with the experts at Vincent Lighting Systems for specific recommendations. We provide individualized lighting solutions based on 40 years of experience in the lighting industry. Contact our sales team to start planning your ideal lighting system. Our project managers are experienced in system design and assisting contractors to plan for the demands of the installation. Our Service technicians provide support, including system start-up, user training and maintenance. Our team will help you sort out the best lighting solution for your renovation, retrofit, or new construction project.