US 3783263 A
A remotely controlled lighting system which utilizes pneumatically driven actuators for adjusting a spotlight. The pneumatically driven system can be used to position moveable spotlight elements to achieve the desired lighting effect, as well as to position the spotlight about its moveable axes. Selector units are used to adjust each spotlight of a theatrical lighting system. The selector units are driven in tandem, with air being supplied only to the activator system which is being adjusted. Moreover, the air supply used to adjust each of the spotlights may also be utilized for cooling the spotlights when the entire system has been adjusted and is in prolonged operation.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Cruse Jan. .1, 1974 REMOTE LIGHTING CONTROL SYSTEM  Inventor: William Marion Cruse, 1600 w. End Z;
A .,At.8A,N Y k,N.Y. 6 8 P ew or Att0rneyHenry M. Bissell  Filed: Aug. 19, 1971  ABSTRACT  Appl. No.: 173,097
A remotely controlled lighting system which utilizes pneumatically driven actuators for adjusting a spot- [31 }J.S.CCI I. 240/3, light. The pneumatically driven system can be used to l l 3 62 position moveable spotlight elements to achieve the 1 0 care di desired lighting effect, as well as to position the spot light about its moveable axes. Selector units are used I to adjust each spotlight of a theatrical lighting system.  References Clted The selector units are driven in tandem, with air being UNITED STATES PATENTS supplied only to, the activator system which is being 3,402,288 9/l968 Deibel 240/6l.l adju ted Moreovgr, the air supply used to adjust each 1177-355 W965 f d of the spotlights may also be utilized for cooling the 3'209l36 9/1965 i spotlights when the entire system has been adjusted 2,097,537 ll/l937 Snyder 240/3 and is in prolonged operation. v
FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 315749 M929 Great Britain 240/41.62 12 Clams 2 Draw F'gures CONTROL UN \r 55A 7 l 62 82 92 r i1 I I 1 68 I i g I l 54 5 5 IPAN TYLT- I l ROTARY ROTARY I ACTUATOR ACYUATOR l I 66 76 1 I l i L. 3 44A I I 8 TO 0 -0 /\Q2 I 7? I -}OTHER l4 l MOTE L- aOLENOlD O ggiiot 42 VALVE i 56 I SWlTCH J 58 AlR SUPPLY REMOTE LIGHTING CONTROL SYSTEM BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The invention relates in general to remotely controlled lighting systems, and more particularly, to a pneumatically driven control system for adjusting and positioning theatrical type spotlights.
2. Description of the Prior Art Conventional theatrical type spotlights normally are adjusted by having an individual ascend t the spotlight on a ladder. Such an operation requires extra employees to assist the individual on the ladder. These employees normally are required to safely secure the ladder on which the person adjusting the spotlight is standing. Typical theatrical productions utilize fifty or more spotlights and such procedures for adjusting the spotlights are not only expensive but time consuming as well. Moreover, in amateur type productions such as high school or college productions, the expense and time factors are surpassed by the safety factor wherein inexperienced stagehands are required to climb ladders and perform adjustments on the lighting equipment.
Further, in present day stage lighting numerous adjustments must be made to the lights. One of the more popular theatrical lights in use at the present time, the ellipsoidal spotlight, requires adjustment of framing shutters which make the beam of light larger or smaller, as well as changing it into irregular shapes. Moreover, these shutters which are built into the ellipsoidal spotlight can be used to shape the beam of light to fit between tormentors, to cut off spill light from the teaser and to frame the lower part of the beam to the curtain line. Further, adjustments must be made so that the spotlight can be adjusted about both its vertical as well as its horizontal axes. Thus, as can be readily seen, numerous adjustments must be made to the spotlights so that manual adjustments are not only time consuming but expensive as well.
Prior art devices for remotely controlling theatrical spotlights have included the use of, electrical motors such as selsyn motors which were mounted adjacent to the spotlight. Such arrangements not only added to the cost of the spotlight but required additional support for the added weight of the motors. Moreover, the motorized drives were not found sufficiently conducive to arrangements for adjusting the moveable shutters of the ellipsoidal type spotlights.
In order to overcome the attendant disadvantages of prior art manual adjustment of spotlights, as well as the disadvantage of conventional remote controlled lighting systems, the present invention allows remote automatic adjustment of conventional theatrical type spotlights without the use of electrically driven motors. Moreover, the system allows the shutters of an ellipsoi' dal spotlight to be adjusted for the desired framing. Also, means are provided to allow one spotlight at a time to be adjusted with the system drive means operatively coupled only to the spotlight which is being adjusted.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The invention comprises a remotely controlled lighting system which utilizes pneumatically driven actuators for adjusting a spotlight. The pneumatically driven system can be used to position moveable spotlight elements to achieve the desired lighting effect, as well as to position the spotlight about its moveable axes. Further, selector units are used to adjust each spotlight of a theatrical lighting system. The: selector units are driven in tandem, with air being supplied only to the actuator system which is being adjusted. Moreover, the air supply used to adjust each of the spotlights may also be utilized for cooling the spotlights when the entire system has been adjusted and is in prolonged operation.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING The advantages of this invention, both as to its construction and mode of operation will be readily appreciated as the same become better understood by reference to the following detailed description when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawing, where like reference numerals designate like parts throughout the figures, and in which:
FIG. 1 depicts a perspective view of a conventional spotlight representativeof apparatus which may be remotely adjusted by the system of the invention; and
FIG. 2 is a diagrammatical representation of a remotely controlled systemutilized to adjust the device of FIG. 1.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to the drawings, there is shown in FIG. 1 a conventional ellipsoidal spotlight 14 of a type generally used for theater stage use. The spotlight 14 contains a lamp which is mounted in a base 16 and extends into an opening at the rear end 18 of the spotlight. The base 16 may also include a cooling; arrangement for the lamp which is operative to directcooling air on the lamp when the lamp is energized. The rear end 18 of the spotlight forms one-half of an ellipsoidal reflector. The lamp is actually placed so that its filament is at one of the focal points of the ellipsoid.
To shape the beam of light, four shutters are normally provided at the gate of the lamp which is near a second focal point of the ellipsoid. The shutters are adjustable by movement of four handles 20, each of which is associated with a corresponding shutter, and which extend through thehousing of the spotlight in a plane perpendicular to the'spotlight axis. Adjustment of the shutters via the handles 20 allows the beam of light to change shape and size.
The spotlight 14 is normally inserted between the two ends of a U-shaped bracket 22. Movement of the spotlight with respect to the bracket allows the spotlight to i be rotated about a horizontal axis. Knobs 23 are provided for securing the spotlight 14 relative to the bracket, as well as for allowing horizontal axis adjustments to be made.
The center of the base of the U-shaped bracket is secured rotatably to a support post 24 with rotation of the bracket 22 with respect to the support post 24 allowing the spotlight to be adjusted about a vertical axis. The post 24 may be floor mounted or alternatively may be fixed to a portion of the theatre structure remote from the stage. In many arrangements, the spotlight assembly (or a plurality thereof) is suspended from the ceiling support structure of the theatre.
Referring now to FIG. 2, there is shown a control system for remotely adjusting apparatus of the type depicted in FIG. 1. Such systems in accordance with the invention are designed for controlling in simple and effective fashion a plurality of individual spotlights, one
at a time, which are arranged to be directed to illuminate a stage or a similar area. In the preferred application of apparatus in accordance with the invention, the control system thereof is utilized to preset the direction, shape and size of the spots from the individual spotlights in preparation for their use during a production.
The system of FIG. 2 is shown comprising an air supply 32 which is coupled to provide air under pressure to actuators of a control unit 35A including a spotlight 14A (of a type similar to the spotlight 14 of FIG. 1), under control of an associated solenoid valve 34A. A conventional source of AC power is connected across a pair of input terminals 36, 38. The AC power is connected to energize the spotlight 14A and also the associated solenoid valve 34A when a selector switch 42 is closed to the unit 35A. Thus, it should be noted that the switch 42 forms an interlock allowing the valve 34A to be energized only when its associated spotlight 14A is energized.
Pressurized air passing through the valve 34A from the air supply 32 is selectively directed through a selector mechanism 44A to a plurality of actuators 52, 54, 56, 58, 82 and 92, depending upon the position of the mechanism. For purposes of illustration only, six such actuators are depicted, although it should be understood that more or fewer actuators could be utilized. The actuators 52, 54, 56and 58 are each associated with one of the gate shutters corresponding to the shutter handles of FIG. 1. The actuators are identical and only actuator 52 will be described in detail.
The actuator 52 comprises a piston rod 62 which extends through one end of the actuator cylinder 64 and is mechanically connected at one end to a corresponding one of the shutter handles 20 as depicted by the dashed line 66. The piston rod 62 is connected to the piston 68 in the cylinder 64 and is driven thereby. At each end of the cylinder 64 air supply tubes 72, 74 are in turn are connected to the selector mechanism 44A. As can be readily seen, air entering the cylinder from the tubes 72 or 74 will tend to move the piston 68, in turn moving the piston rod 62. Movement of the piston rod, of course, will enable the operator to control the position of the shutter handles 20. Only one of the pair of tubes 72, 74 is pressurized at any given time. Air is bled out of one end of the cylinder 64 via the tube 72 when air from the source 32 is introduced at the opposite end of the cylinder 64 via the tube 74 and vice versa.
To direct air from the solenoid valve 34 to the desired air tube connected to the cylinders 52, 52, 56, 58, the armature 76 of the selector mechanism 44A is placed in the appropriate position to communicate with the desired air tube. The position of the rotary armature 76 is controlled from a remote control box 77, as indicated by the broken line 78. Such position control may be accomplished in any known manner.- e.g., by use of position servos driving the armature 76 in response to a position selected in the remote control box 77. Alternatively, the armatures of the various selector mechanisms 44A-44N of the respective control units 35A-35N may be ganged together and driven by a stepping motor (not shown) controlled by drive signals from the remote control box 77. As only one solenoid valve such as 34A is energized at a time (corresponding to the particular spotlight such as 14A undergoing adjustment), pressurized air is applied only to the actuator of a single control unit as determined by the selector mechanism of that control unit.
Additional pairs of terminalsof the selector mechanism 44A are associated respectively with the panrotary actuator 82 and a tilt-rotary actuator 92. The pan-rotary actuator 82 is utilized to determine the azimuthal position of the spotlight 14A about the vertical axis. Such an actuator may be utilized by means of a suitable connecting linkage (not shown) to rotate the U-shaped bracket 22 about the axis of the support post 24. The tilt-rotary actuator 92 is used to control the angle of the spotlight in a vertical plane (vertical angle), and may be coupled by a suitable connecting linkage (not shown) to provide the desired rotation about the horizontal pivot axis 23 of FIG. 1.
A further position of the rotary armature 76 and its selector mechanism 44A is shown connected to a tube 102 which extends to the base 16 of the spotlight 14A. This is contemplated as the rest position to which all of the armatures of the various selector mechanisms 44A-44N are directed after the setting of the entire bank of spotlights is completed. By virtue of this arrangement, cooling air is directed via the tube 102 to the cooling mechanism in the base 16 of each of the spotlights 14A-14N whenever the given spotlight, such as 14A, and its associated solenoid valve, such as 34A, are energized. This advantageously serves to help cool the spotlight lamp and thus prolong the life of the bulb. In larger spotlights where special cooling arrangements are necessary, this particular arrangement eliminates the need for a separate cooling arrangement of a special type such as an individual fan or blower.
The remote control box 77 and its associated switch 42 comprise a unit which may be remotely mounted at a control location and utilized to control the various control units in the system, of which a single unit 35A is shown in FIG. 2. As indicated herein, there may be N such units, designated variously from 35A-35N. Each unit is provided for permitting adjustment of elements in the corresponding spotlight, such as 14A, in turn under the control of the operator by means of the remote control box 77. and its associated switch 42.
The remote control box 77 may comprise a selector unit with an arrangement such as has already been described for remotely controlling the position of the armatures of the various selector mechanisms such as 44A of the control unit 35A. Preferably, all of these armatures are ganged together and thus controlled in like fashion from the selector within the remote control box 77. In this manner, the operator at the remote control box 77 may select a particular actuator which is to be controlled at any given time.
The switch 42 comprises a mechanism for energizing a given one or plurality of the various spotlights. As a given spotlight is thus energized, its associated solenoid valve isalso energized to pass pressurized air from the air supply 32 to the corresponding selector mechanism. The switch 42 may, in its simplest form, comprise a rotary switch having a rotatable armature moveable between positions from which connections are run to the respective individual control units. In operating the two portions of the remote control unit together, the operator simply selects an actuator position by positioning the selector in the remote control box 77 and selects the particular control unit to be operated by determining the position of the switch 42.
Although there has been described above one specific arrangement of a remote lighting control system in accordance with the invention for the purpose of illustrating the manner in which the invention may be used to advantage, it will be appreciated that the invention is not limited thereto. For example, other actuators for controlling other aspects of a spotlight system might also be included and operated in a similar fashion, as for example one or more actuators to provide focusing control for the spotlight. Accordingly, any and all moditications, variations or equivalent arrangements which may occur to those skilled in the art should be considered to be within the scope of the invention.
What is claimed is:
1. A remote lighting control system for adjusting a plurality of electrical spotlights in turn comprising:
a plurality of controllable means coupled to respective spotlights to control spot size, shape and location;
a source of pressurized fluid;
a plurality of selector means individually coupled to respective spotlight controllable means for directing said fluid to selected controllable means; and
valve means for passing said fluid to each selector means only when said spotlight is energized.
2. A system in accordance with claim 1 wherein said controllable means include a cylinder having a piston therein, and means for applying force from the piston to adjust said spotlight.
3. A system in accordance with claim 1 wherein the selector means includes a selector having a plurality of positions for applying pressurized fluid to various ones of the controllable means individually and in turn. 7
4. The system of claim 1 wherein the selector means includes pairs of connecting tubes for directing reversible actuation of the controllable means.
5. A system in accordance with claim 1 wherein said selector means includes means to direct fluid to said spotlight for cooling a lamp in said spotlight during prolonged operation of said spotlight.
6. A system in accordance with claim 1 wherein a plurality of spotlights are controlled each by a separate selector means, said selector means being driven in union, each of said spotlights being sequentially adjusted with said fluid being coupled only to the selector means associated with the spotlight being adjusted.
7. The system of claim 6 wherein the selector means includes a selector having a plurality of positions for applying pressurized fluid to various ones of the controllable means individually and in turn, and wherein is further included remote control means for driving the selector means in unison between selected ones of said positions.
8. The system of claim 7 further including a remote switch located in a remote unit containing said remote control means for selectively energizing a particular one of said spotlights and its associated valve means.
9. The system of claim 1 wherein each spotlight lamp and its associated valve means are connected electrically in parallel for coincident actuation by a remote switch.
10. A remote lighting control system for adjustably controlling a plurality of spotlights in turn from a remote location comprising:
a plurality of controllable actuators arranged by groups, each group being coupled to a corresponding spotlight and including means for adjusting spot size, shape and location;
a plurality of selectors, one for each group of actuators, coupled to select among its corresponding group;
a source of pressurized fluid;
a plurality of electrically actuated valves connected to control the application of pressurized fluid from the source to the selectors, each valve being connected electrically in parallel circuit with its corresponding spotlight lamp and fluidically in series with the selector for said spotlight; and
a remote control unit having means for controlling the position of all of said selectors together and for energizing the parallel valve and lamp circuit of one or more spotlights, thereby tocontrol the adjustment of the energized spotlights.
11. The system of claim 10 further including means for cooling the spotlight lamps; means for connecting said cooling means with a home position in the corresponding selector; and means in the remote control unit for driving the selectors to the home position so that pressurized fluid is directed to the cooling means of the spotlights which are energized.
12. A remote lighting control system comprising:
a plurality of spotlights each having a plurality of framing shutters with each shutter moveable by a handle;
moveable means for positioning each spotlight about first and second axes;
a plurality of actuator means respectively associated with said shutters and said positioning means;
a source of pressurized fluid;
selector means driven in unison for each of said spotlights; and
remote control means for energizing a given spotlight and controlling the application of pressurized fluid to only one actuator means associated with only the given spotlight at a time.