OT: Backlighting stained glass window

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Hello!
I have the following situation; my church has a large, round stained glass window (96in diameter) would we would like to illuminate at night, so it can be seen from the outside. We are looking at an electric light that would make the stained glass visible from the street.
The first attempt, a couple years back, was to place a single flood light 15 feet behind it, and turn it on; well, from the outside, it looks like there is a single light bulb behind the stained glass window, very bright, and the rest of the window is much darker. It does not look good, to say the least. Forward to today, where the problem landed on my lap.
I am thinking of a way to diffuse the light so that it does not look like there is a single source (or multiple sources) of light behind it. I'd like to have the light as uniform as possible.
I DAGS and a search in rec.woodworking, and all I have found were ideas for smaller windows, for which a single light would b appropriate. I know that churches in Europe illuminate their stained glass windows and that it looks really nice. What is it that they are doing right and that I do not know how to do?
Thanks in advance.
Pierre
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snipped-for-privacy@bw.edu wrote:

Well, I've never actually done this but... I think you need to light the inside of the church (and not the window). In short, use the walls, roof, floor and the contents as a giant reflector. Then you'll get a glow through the window.
Trying to light the window directly would be a disaster but you already know that ;-)
I think it will likely take a lot of lights and a lot of power to create a really good effect however.
--
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Rope Lighting
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I don't have the answer, however years ago I did electrical work on a church renovation with a world renowned company called Rambusch. Lighting is one of their specialties. It may be possible to contact them and ask a few questions. They're located in NJ, you can find them with a google search

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RE: Subject
Use 15W flood lights 12"-18" apart depending on how far way from the window the lamps are located (bigger is better) Start with maybe 3 ft.
Use 600W dimmers with alternate lamps on a common dimmer. That way you can control overall illumination and shading at the same time.
This is a total PITA job that will require a lot of evenings playing around before you are satisfied.
Lew
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An Update:
Use spring clamp lamp holders to make positioning the lamps easier.
Use a distribution strip with 6-8 outlets to plug the lamp holders into, then connect the distribution strip to the lamp dimmer.
Costs a few $, but less than a lighting designer would charge.
The above provides lots of flexibility.
Lew

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Instead of using a single light source, try three or so... and not directly behind the window, but off to an angle.
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Wow!
Thank you very much for a number of very good suggestions. I very much appreciate the time and effort you took to respond!
Thanks again!
Pierre
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Another suggestion--talk to an architectural electrical engineer/ lighting engineer. They deal with this all the time, and could make suggestions that would look professional instead of homemade. Also might be quicker.
Might cost a buck or two for the consultation, but if you didn't take much of their time, they would try to keep it modest.
Ask a commercial electrician to recommend an engineer that does this sort of thing well.
Good Luck!
Old Guy Who was an architect in his past life.
On Nov 13, 7:04 pm, snipped-for-privacy@bw.edu wrote:

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you might talk with a photographer and see if you could borrow some reflectors like they use to defuse light for portraits. Perhaps bouncing your spotlight off one of these would give a more balanced light than the straight light against the window.

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Plexiglas from a glass company. It is white but translucent. Put fluorescent lights under it. works great and no heat problems. W W
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Frosted mylar would roll up and be cheaper.
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Personally, I don't think the impact on the inside view of the window would be unacceptable. But...
rather than use frosted plastic, one might be able to install some kind of roller blind make out of a white translucent material (ripstop nylon works). This could be lowered at night (to enhance the outside view) and raised during daylight (to minimize the adverse effect on the inside view).
It might just work.
I've made my own photographic softbox using some cheap fabric from Walmart and it's great.
Bouncing lots of light off the inside walls/roof is more likely solve the OP's problem, in my view.
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On Tue, 13 Nov 2007 17:04:25 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@bw.edu wrote:

My suggestion would be to ask a professional photographer for ideas. I think you could still use a single light source if you could reflect the light back on the window from inside. Reflection might give you the diffusion needed and the reflector and light could be moved in one direction or the other to give you coverage of the window.
Mike O.
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snipped-for-privacy@bw.edu wrote:

Go to http://www.rosco.com and look at their various diffusion materials as well as their rear projection materials. Basically you want effectively a roll down window shade on the wall inside to cover the window at night with the shad made from a suitable diffusion material to even the light and hide the point source. The point source should also be located so that it is not in line with the primary viewing axis from outside, likely a couple floodlights positioned relatively low and to either side of the window and of course the 15' back.
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A 250-500 watt 6" fresnel theatre light with a diffusion filter and barn doors should do the trick. Add a light dimmer and you should be good to go. The fresnel has a focus adjustment that will allow you to control the spread. If the spread is too much then an elipsoidal (leeco) theatre light would be the next option. Contact an outfit that rents theatre lights and rent a light to give it a try. For diffusion filters and possibly adding a colour filter to make the light warmer or cooler have a look at the Rosco or Lee filter swatch books. The theatre lighting store should have some sitting around.
George Anderson Montreal Canada
snipped-for-privacy@bw.edu wrote:

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I must say... Thanks very much for a number of very good ideas. I will start experimenting, from the easiest alternative to the most expensive, and I am pretty sure that one of them will work.
Thanks a bunch!!
Pierre
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snipped-for-privacy@bw.edu wrote:

elec. capacity, location and distance of fixtures, etc. Floods are probably the answer, as they are available in so many different brightness and spread levels. It seems likely that some level of light, in addition to the floods, would be necessary in order to eliminate the "one bulb" look. Seems you could rig a test, using just an extension cord, receptacle and various bulbs to get an idea of what works. A less-bright bulb, along with the right reflector, might give the right diffusion for the task.
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On Tue, 13 Nov 2007 17:04:25 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@bw.edu wrote:

My son, You already know the answer in your heart. You must pray to God to ask him to place a small sun inside the church. This would be a natural, solar powered sun, so no electricity is needed. Once the sun is delivered, place it behind the window and protect all flammables from igniting from the heat of the sun. Your light will shine on the town and inspire everyone in your town to attend your church.
Father Alphonzo III
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I agree with the white, as opposed to clear, plastic between the light source and the stained glass. This will help to diffuse the light. This was (is?) used sometimes for photographic slide viewers, X-ray viewing in predigital days, and also for a lab application with which I am familiar. Fluorescent lights tend to be more diffuse than incandescent. The problem with this solution is the stained glass will not be visible from inside the church.
Bill
On Tue, 13 Nov 2007 17:04:25 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@bw.edu wrote:

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