Lecture Theatres

Lecture theatres offer a separate challenge from classrooms; they are typically much larger spaces with the teaching wall further from many of the students, they often have little or no daylight and the ceiling heights are typically greater.

Entry Scene

Lecture theatres are usually tiered with banks of seating separated by stepped walkways running top to bottom. There are typically two entrances/exits at the back. As lecture theatres are likely to have little or no natural light, it is essential that when the space is first occupied, sufficient illumination is provided to allow the user to negotiate their way safely into the space.

Presence detection can be used to activate an entry scene. This scene might be configured to illuminate just the walkways and front lectern area, perhaps at 20% of output, or maybe to bring on the walkways at full output with the seating areas at, say, 5%. Alternatively, a wall switch at the door could be used to bring on the entry scene. (If using a wall switch, it is recommended that this be for on switching only.)

Ceiling Height Variation

A tiered lecture theatre will have a much greater ceiling height at the front of the auditorium than at the back. To compensate for this, a wall-mounted sensor should be considered for the front, lectern area. Positioning the sensor where it is accessible will also make for easier maintenance.

Linking to Audio Visual Equipment

The audio visual equipment is normally accessed via a touch screen on the lectern at the front. This should be linked to the lighting control system, enabling the user to control the house lights from the lectern/AV touch screen.

Both the AV equipment and the Ex-Or lighting system would be typically RS232 or RS485. It is recommended, however, that a bridge be provided between the two systems. This bridge would act as a buffer so that, should the AV equipment lock or fail, the house lights could still be operated independently.

Lighting Scenes

A scene switch plate will provide different lighting options that can be chosen to suit whatever activity is taking place, and changed as required. A video presentation, for example, will require most of the lights to be off. When the audience is required to take notes, however, some illumination of the seating area is likely to be required. The transition between one scene and another should be gradual but immediately perceivable so that it is obvious that the system is responding to the command.

Safety First

As lecture theatres have little or no natural light, it is vital that illumination is provided whenever it is needed, especially in an emergency situation. The lighting system should be linked to the fire alarm so that full illumination is automatically provided, overriding any other scenes or settings, in order to evacuate the area safely.

Key Considerations and Application Notes

  • Tiered construction means the ceiling will be higher at the front than the back - consider a wall-mounted detector at the front, lectern area.
  • Whether presence or absence detection, or a mixture of both, is required.
  • Linking AV equipment to lighting control system.
  • ‘Bridge’ between the AV and lighting system, to ensure that the house lights can always be activated.
  • Different lighting scenes for different requirements.
  • Entry scene, activated by presence detection or wall switch.
  • Transition between lighting scenes should be smooth; gradual yet perceptible.
  • Linking fire alarm to lighting system to provide full illumination for evacuation purposes.

Lecture Theatres call for a variety of lighting scenarios. MLS Digital LCMs are perfect for integrating the different requirements in a streamlined solution.

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