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
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.
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.
| Malcolm Hoar "The more I practice, the luckier I get". |
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
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.
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.
On Nov 13, 8:04 pm, email@example.com wrote:
In photography, if you want soft, even lighting you use a "soft box".
Often it is a fluorescent light shot into a diffuser.
If I were trying it, I would follow the same principle. I would but a
piece of frosted plastic or plexiglass a foot or so inside the
window. Then behind it I would position a number of compact
fluorescent lights space apart a bit.
If that didn't work, I'd construct a "shadow box" behind the window a
few feet. I'd paint the back wall a bright white. Then I'd ring the
wall with fluorescent tubes to light it up. Then you'd be looking
through the glass at the white wall, not at a light.
Good luck with it.
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.
| Malcolm Hoar "The more I practice, the luckier I get". |
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.
Who was an architect in his past life.
On Nov 13, 7:04 pm, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
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.
Pat has the best Idea. I made a light box for photo slides. Bought some
Plexiglas from a glass company. It is white but translucent. Put fluorescent
lights under it. works great and no heat problems. W W
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.
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.
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!!
A good lighting store should be able to help you. Need to know the
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.
On Tue, 13 Nov 2007 17:04:25 -0800, email@example.com 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
On Nov 13, 5:04 pm, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Best illumination for a stained glass window is northern
exposure, on a cloudy day; you want a diffused light background.
Unless you don't want to admire the window from INSIDE the
church, it has to be nonblocking from the interior.
Two solutions suggest themselves.
(1) Unpleated sheer curtains with electric control,
that draw back in the day but close and glow under diffuse backlight
(a bank of fluorescents, if the colors can be made to work, or halogen
if not) during the evenings.
(2) if the line-of-sight from the ground is through the window to a
apply suitable reflective paint (like used for painting surfaces for
projection screens) to the ceiling and illuminate the ceiling from
near the window inside the church, aimed at that ceiling surface.
One can hybridize the two, using a motorized reflective-screen.
A third possibility is ... amusing, but maybe not practical. If you
commission a Fresnel lens and sandwich it against the stained glass,
it would be possible to use the single-point-source illuminator inside
and still get whole-pane brightness in some suitable viewing zone
outside (near the virtual focus of that source). I actually used this
trick once, to make a microwave oven display more visible at an odd
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