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Author Topic: Light Level in Church Sanctuary  (Read 4254 times)

Tracy Garner

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Light Level in Church Sanctuary
« on: September 16, 2014, 06:44:22 am »

I visited a church Sunday that is a multi-purpose type room where there is a pulpit and also a gym floor. They had about 12 conventional PAR 64 facing the pulpit area, 10 foot projector screen. They had one row of the regular gym lighting lit. It seemed a bit dim for Sunday 11am worship.

I know I need glasses BUT there didn't seem to be enough light for me to read my small print bible.

If I had to measure, what would be a proper amount of light in your typical sanctuary? Does anyone bring up the house lights during scripture reading?
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Cailen Waddell

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Re: Light Level in Church Sanctuary
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2014, 07:46:01 am »

Our theaters both host non traditional worship services.  During the teachings, houselights are brought to full so the congregants (I'm sure they have a hipper phrase than that) can follow along in their bibles.

Two notes, being able to read is going to be as much about the contrast in levels as the levels themselves.  If you eyes are having to make huge pupil shifts due to the change in light levels between the stage and house, you will have issues.   I would say 30 foot candle minimum for sustained reading, and I would aim for something more like 40 or 50.  This is for 8 to 10 point type, based on some general guidelines provided by some manufacturers. 


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James Feenstra

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Re: Light Level in Church Sanctuary
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2014, 09:30:32 am »

When we do house light retrofit drawings (typically for churches, or other entertainment venues), we typically shoot for an average of 30fc, although some customers ask for higher or lower
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Scott Hofmann

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Re: Light Level in Church Sanctuary
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2014, 10:05:01 am »

Even 25 footcandles is quite bright, and easily enough to read by.
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Scott Hofmann

Jerome Malsack

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Re: Light Level in Church Sanctuary
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2014, 12:04:35 pm »

Another thing is if you transition from a bright source like outside, Your eyes can take as much as twenty minutes to adjust to extreme level differences.  For a ship at sea the watch has to adjust his eyes before taking over the night watch.   
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Caleb Dueck

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Re: Light Level in Church Sanctuary
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2014, 11:24:51 pm »

Even 25 footcandles is quite bright, and easily enough to read by.
This is typically about what we aim for over audience/congregation area, at least for more modern style churches.  Litugical typically a bit higher, although many already have additional ambient light.

I've measured below 2 fc at a few places, those were dim.

Many of the old rules need to be used as starting guides only, end user style and expectations can vary a lot.
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Re: Light Level in Church Sanctuary
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2014, 11:24:51 pm »


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