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post #1 of 33 Old 07-23-2013, 09:33 AM - Thread Starter
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I know this comes up from time to time, but I don't remember a definitive answer. Are there any recommendations on light spacing in a HT? I've read that can lights should be spaced 1/2 the wall height apart (8' wall = 4' light spacing). I've also read that a 3" light should be spaced 3', a 4" light should be spaced 4', and so on. Either way, this would put a ton of lights in my theater. I'd rather have too many than not enough, but I'd rather just get it right if I can.

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post #2 of 33 Old 07-23-2013, 09:40 AM
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Are you referring to just soffit lights or will you have them in the ceiling as well?

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post #3 of 33 Old 07-23-2013, 09:44 AM - Thread Starter
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The soffit lights primarily.

I am toying with the idea of a low profile coffer that would give me just enough space to put some can lights in it for general lighting above the seats.

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post #4 of 33 Old 07-23-2013, 10:00 AM
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I believe the bottom of my soffits are at 7'-9". Side cans are 10-1/2" off the wall and 70" o.c. Since taking this picture, I've actually removed the bulb from the can closest to the screen since it cast too much light on the screen when left on during tv/sports.


Rear cans are 9-1/2" off the wall and 54" apart


Screen wall lights are 30" apart (for reference, screen is 115" wide)


I don't have any cans in the ceiling, just the (11) 4" cans in the soffit. That's plenty bright for me in what turned out to be a 12'-4" x 17'-10" room. Hope that helps.
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post #5 of 33 Old 07-23-2013, 10:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Excellent! That's a big help! Would you change the spacing if you were not trying to center the cans between the columns? Would you put any lights in the coffers for lighting directly above the seating? I believe it's jautor that's mentioned he wishes he had more lights above the seats so that he could read a manual while in the theater.

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post #6 of 33 Old 07-23-2013, 10:19 AM
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If I didn't have the columns, I would probably tighten them up a bit. I'd place the 1st can 5' away from the screen and equally space the other 2 along the remaining length. This would probably put them 5' to 5-1/2' o.c. I think 4' o.c. would be too close.

If my lights are on 100% (no dimming), I have no trouble reading an instruction manual, especially if the screen lights are on and all of that reflected light is flooding the room. It might be nice to have overhead lights, but I don't think they are an absolute necessity. Keep in mind, my room is pretty narrow, so overhead lights might make more sense in a wider room.
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post #7 of 33 Old 07-23-2013, 10:41 AM - Thread Starter
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That's what I was afraid of. It looks I would end up with something like 7'-3" between cans along the side if I center them between columns. This is my current plan. If I try to squeeze two lights between columns, I think they will be too close (columns are about 6' apart)



S1, S2, and S3 are just my current thoughts on scene numbers. ( added that first can beside the screen to S1 based on you comment above smile.gif

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post #8 of 33 Old 07-23-2013, 11:13 AM
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I'd probably go with the wider spacing (1 light centered between the columns) before placing 2 lights between the columns, especially if you are going to have additional lights in the center of the room. But you should probably look at a few of the other more recent builds to see what they did. I know Damelon only has perimeter cans. I'd be interested to know what spacing he used.

A few questions/comments.

1. Do you really need the (2) S1 lights on the side walls? If you center 2 lights between the columns, I could see using them for symmetry, but if you decide you only need one light between the columns, you might consider eliminating each S1 light on the side walls.

2. Will you be mounting your projector under the rear soffit or in front of the soffit? I only ask because for quite a long time, I was planning on centering a 3rd light in the back soffit until I finally realized that was where the pj mount needed to go.

3. Have you considered placing your ceiling cans at the intersection points of the coffers rather than slightly off center? I'm assuming you have them centered over a seat, but it looks like you would get a more even distribution if they were at the intersections.

4. If you decide to center a single light between the columns, you might look at adjusting the size of your coffers so the coffer line that runs parallel to the front of your bar is also centered between the columns (putting your 2 side cans and 2 ceiling cans in alignment).

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post #9 of 33 Old 07-23-2013, 11:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Wow! Good points all around! Thanks for the feedback.

1) I agree the two S1's may not be needed. I only put them there because the spacing is so far as is. Those may need to be a last minute audible based on how the lighting looks in the room. I guess I could leave them out, and then come back and add them if I needed to later.

2) The projector will go above the second row of seating at around 17'. My room is ~30' long, so I don't think the back soffit will work. I really wish it could back there, though. It would save me quite a bit of headroom!

3) I didn't plan to put them in the intersections because I'm planning to run a duct from my hush box inside one of the coffers. I don't know if there would be room with a light there. However, now that you mention it, I might leave out the flex duct and just use the opening inside the coffer as the duct. I don't need much flow.

4) The location of the coffers are fixed unfortunately. I can change the width a bit, but my drywall is hung and I added clips to support the extra weight. There was a redesign on my columns that moved things around after the fact. I do like that idea, though. Hopefully there will be enough wiggle room that I can make it happen.

Again, excellent points! You certainly got me thinking about this!

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post #10 of 33 Old 07-23-2013, 11:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J_P_A View Post

Excellent! That's a big help! Would you change the spacing if you were not trying to center the cans between the columns? Would you put any lights in the coffers for lighting directly above the seating? I believe it's jautor that's mentioned he wishes he had more lights above the seats so that he could read a manual while in the theater.

Yep, that's me... Something to throw reading light down on the seating area would be my recommendation, as long as they're on a separate dimmer so you only have them on when needed.

I also centered my cans between the column areas. doing it over I would have pulled the two cans in the forward-side-wall areas back away from the screen. I keep my side cans very low during viewing to prevent light spray onto the screen (as Spaceman points out). Pulling the closest two cans back would have helped that a bit more.

I also centered the front screen wash cans in the soffit, which puts them a bit too close to the wall to get a full screen wash effect. Making the front soffit another 6" deeper would have helped that placement.

Jeff
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post #11 of 33 Old 07-23-2013, 12:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Sounds like I need to choose a can light, and do a little experimenting with placement from the wall.

Would you guys recommend 3" or 4" cans? I think BIG's current favorite is a 4" can, but I'm thinking of using 3" cans in the coffer because it will be so space constrained.

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post #12 of 33 Old 07-23-2013, 12:15 PM
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I'm happy with the 4". This is the housing and standard trim I used. This was the trim for the screen lights. You probably need something smaller for your coffers.

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post #13 of 33 Old 07-23-2013, 01:39 PM
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Agree with Spaceman about deleting the S1 cans on the side wall - I don't think you need them and the screen wash will be a focal point for that scene anyway. Same agreement about placement of the S3's at the intersections if possible.

One more point - I'd separate the rear cans from the sides into their own zone. I did this, and find for sports or casual viewing that it works well to have the "rear" of the room noticeably brighter than the sides (which are dim to minimize light spray).

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post #14 of 33 Old 07-23-2013, 02:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Adding the back row of lights to a separate zone is a great idea!

Since we've got two votes for removing the front set of side lights, they're gone smile.gif



I really wish that coffer near the rear was lined up with that light. I'm going to have to take a close look at that once I get my columns laid out to see if I can move it without it throwing everything off or completely missing the channel with the extra clips.

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post #15 of 33 Old 07-23-2013, 03:05 PM - Thread Starter
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I realized the above isn't going to work. Part of my soffit will be used for a duct, so I can't have my wiring and lights inside my ventilation. It would be the two lights in the bottom right of the image. Here's a slight variation where I've extended the soffit a bit, and moved the lights in front of the columns. What do you guys thinks?


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post #16 of 33 Old 07-23-2013, 04:28 PM
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Are you ready for some nit-picking?

First, I'm a little concerned about the forward-most S2 cans spilling light on the screen again - but obviously I don't know my can light from a whole in the wall.

Second, will it be weird to see some of the columns highlighted by the light directly at them (on the sides of the room) while others are lit from the side? The patterns of shadows will be different on the rear wall vs the sides.

I'd suggest 4 side cans, each at 1/3 points (or maybe 1/4, for more even overall spacing) between columns - skipping the space between the front column and the screen. A fifth could be added the same distance behind the last column to match the lighting all along the side walls, or not if it means too much light wasted in the corner of the room. That puts you up to as many as 22 cans (14 perimeter, divided between side and rear, plus 4 screen and 4 coffer) if you continue that pattern along the rear wall - so maybe that's too many?


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post #17 of 33 Old 07-23-2013, 04:43 PM
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I think it would look fine either way (centered on or between the columns), but I think my preference is still between the columns since that is what your coffer lights are doing. Do you have a preference for what gets washed with light (column vs. wall)? Do you have intricate columns that you want to show off or a unique panel design that you want to highlight?

I like jautor's suggestion of putting the back soffit on it's own dimmer. I did that as well and find it useful to be able to keep them separate from the sides.

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post #18 of 33 Old 07-23-2013, 05:25 PM
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I would have to agree with HopefulFred. The S2 lights would look odd directly in front of the columns while S4 are in between. I also like the lights between the columns as Spaceman suggested. Just for reference, I used no lights in the center of my room, just relying on 12 or 13 down lights around the perimeter and there is no visibility issues in the middle of the room. I have a bit of 'mood' lighting from the cove lights, but not much.

Here are some older pics that might give an idea:





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post #19 of 33 Old 07-23-2013, 07:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HopefulFred View Post

Are you ready for some nit-picking?......


.......I'd suggest 4 side cans, each at 1/3 points (or maybe 1/4, for more even overall spacing) between columns - skipping the space between the front column and the screen. A fifth could be added the same distance behind the last column to match the lighting all along the side walls, or not if it means too much light wasted in the corner of the room. That puts you up to as many as 22 cans (14 perimeter, divided between side and rear, plus 4 screen and 4 coffer) if you continue that pattern along the rear wall - so maybe that's too many?


Nit pick away! I appreciate the feedback. I'd much rather get it worked out now than once I get my lights up only to decide I don't like it once it's too late.

Is this what you had in mind by dividing the space between the columns? I'm afraid that would be too crowded for a 4" can. I might be able to find some sort of mini light, which would actually be nice considering the limited space I have to work with.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Spaceman View Post

.........Do you have a preference for what gets washed with light (column vs. wall)? Do you have intricate columns that you want to show off or a unique panel design that you want to highlight?
..........

I don't have a preference as to whether the columns or the walls are washed. I don't expect my millwork to be very elaborate. I am considering some edge lit panels on the walls, but that will depend on how industrious I'm feeling once everything else is done.
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.......Just for reference, I used no lights in the center of my room, just relying on 12 or 13 down lights around the perimeter and there is no visibility issues in the middle of the room. I have a bit of 'mood' lighting from the cove lights, but not much.

...........

Good info! How wide is room? I was originally planning to just do perimeter lights, but since my room around 18' wide, I'm afraid the center will be too dim. Then I started thinking about adding a small coffered ceiling to hide some rope lights for a little extra lighting and I thought, heck, why not just put some cans in there.



I really appreciate all the info, guys! Thanks!

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post #20 of 33 Old 07-23-2013, 08:22 PM - Thread Starter
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I suppose another option is to space 3" cans around the perimeter evenly. More lights than I would probably need, but they can be dimmed. I put the cans next to the front columns just for symmetry, but they can be put on the same dimmer with the screen wash lights so that they don't shine on the screen.


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post #21 of 33 Old 07-24-2013, 03:48 AM
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Quote:
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Good info! How wide is room? I was originally planning to just do perimeter lights, but since my room around 18' wide, I'm afraid the center will be too dim. Then I started thinking about adding a small coffered ceiling to hide some rope lights for a little extra lighting and I thought, heck, why not just put some cans in there.

The room is about 14' 8" along the back, about a foot narrower up at the screen. I will have some additional lighting from the columns at some point. Another caveat to my room is that it is currently all primer white. I guess the effectiveness of the lighting could change once it goes dark.

IMHO - I think the last drawing you show has too many light on the perimeter. I would remove the ones directly in front of the columns. That still leaves you with 17! lights in the room (if I counted correctly). Again, just my opinion, you know your room better than any of us. Do you have any other lighting planned?


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post #22 of 33 Old 07-24-2013, 06:02 AM
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What you posted was certainly what i described. After I saw it I decided I would want it tweaked a little. I think this is what I would do.


All I've done is nudged some things around. I prefer the more even spacing around the perimiter like this, and I thought maybe you could move the center cans to be directly over the bar and farther from the screen. I'm sure that there are concerns still about the ducting in the coffers, and this might be worse. That said, I think with this many fixtures it makes sense to go with the smaller 3" cans instead of the 4" cans.


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post #23 of 33 Old 07-24-2013, 06:06 AM
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Also, this isn't really the topic you're trying to deal with and you've probably thought through it fully - but are you set on your screen wash lights? I would have thought that they should be a little closer to the screen. I personally like the look of three as well, over four - but that's probably just me.


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post #24 of 33 Old 07-24-2013, 01:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craig72 View Post

IMHO - I think the last drawing you show has too many light on the perimeter. I would remove the ones directly in front of the columns. That still leaves you with 17! lights in the room (if I counted correctly). Again, just my opinion, you know your room better than any of us. Do you have any other lighting planned?

It does look like a ton of lights. I'm just struggling with a good compromise. A single light between columns doesn't feel like enough, although I don't really know for sure.
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.........All I've done is nudged some things around. I prefer the more even spacing around the perimiter like this, and I thought maybe you could move the center cans to be directly over the bar and farther from the screen. I'm sure that there are concerns still about the ducting in the coffers, and this might be worse. That said, I think with this many fixtures it makes sense to go with the smaller 3" cans instead of the 4" cans.

Awesome, HF! I think I like that. That puts lights above the most important features: a light above the step, lights directly above the front row seating, and lights above the bar. It's also evenly spaced which helps with my OCD smile.gif Also, moving the lights out of the corners gives me a cover that I can route my duct in! Excellent all around!

That said, I stopped by Lowes this afternoon and looked at the lights. I think I may have decided to go with the 4" light. It actually uses the same bulb as the 3" light, so no difference in light output, just the size of the trim ring. However, the 4" light is actually shorter, which will help since my soffit/coffers are very height constrained at only 7"-8". Once you take away space for framing and drywall, it gets cramped quickly.

Quote:
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Also, this isn't really the topic you're trying to deal with and you've probably thought through it fully - but are you set on your screen wash lights? I would have thought that they should be a little closer to the screen. I personally like the look of three as well, over four - but that's probably just me.

Screen wash lights are not fixed at this point. I thought I remembered BIG saying that four lights for the screen works well, and I'm planning for a 12'-14' screen, so I thought I might need to add one. This is one of those things that I may need to experiment with a bit to see how I like it. I'm also not sure how far away from the screen they need to be in order to get the right look. Is there a rule of thumb for that?

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post #25 of 33 Old 07-24-2013, 02:22 PM
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An interesting article I bookmarked from here a while back

http://www.forteelectric.com/Howtolayoutcans.html

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post #26 of 33 Old 07-24-2013, 03:42 PM
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Here's a thread referencing screen washes that I had saved.

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1460356/spacing-wall-washers-over-a-screen


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post #27 of 33 Old 07-24-2013, 06:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the links, guys!

@corpkid12, I've seen a few webpages with similar recommendations regarding light spacing. Nothing that detailed, though. That's a good resource.

@xjagox, looks like that answers the question about how many lights to put up for screen wash. I need to see if I can find BIG's post that mentioned using 4 lights. I don't remember if there was any explanation.

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post #28 of 33 Old 07-25-2013, 06:10 AM - Thread Starter
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What do you guys think about gimbals vs regular lights? The gimbals are only a few dollars more per fixture. I figure they're a no brainer for the screen wash lights, and maybe even for the lights over the seats, but not sure about the rest of the theater.

Here's a post in my theater thread about the differences. Sounds like gimbals for the screen wash lights and standard lights elsewhere is the way to go.
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I thought I saw a post asking about the gimbal lights. My opinion is to use them only where necessary. A normal light has the bulb recessed into the trim to focus the light wash downward. The gimbal sits right at the surface and, if you aren't using the tilt function to direct the light, throws a heck of a lot more light in every direction. Probably not optimal for your installation. The best use of gimbals I've seen in a theater install aside from screen washers is to illuminate acoustic panels between columns. It really helped illuminate the detail in the fabric they used which had a nice effect. As always, just my two cents...

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post #29 of 33 Old 07-25-2013, 08:39 AM
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I was just tackling this exact issue last week. I really like the focused "out of nowhere" look of a deeply recessed trim, but wanted aiming flexibility because I'm illuminating fabric panels from soffits.

Discovered that if you look hard enough you can find gimbal trims that do not mount the lamp right at the surface. I just had half a dozen of these arrive yesterday:

http://www.eurofase.com/products/browse.cfm?skuID=3412fda3-3048-8bc6-c308-dd58634703ff.

Opened then up and they are PERFECT for my installation, as I'm doing a miniaturized build.

Just wanted to make folks aware that a gimbal trim does not necessarily preclude having a deeply recessed lamp.


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post #30 of 33 Old 07-25-2013, 08:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Do those fit a standard can light, or an accent can?

The link seems to send me to an old page. If I search for that part number on Amazon, I get a different light.

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