5 Tips on Upgrading Your Theater

Updated: Sep 16

From light to soundproofing panels, we'll provide you the most practical tips right from experience.


 

EASE diagram for theater sound system
An EASE diagram of a school theater.

It's not as easy as purchasing some speakers and aiming them towards the audience or switching out new bulbs for your stage lights. You'll need a team of engineers to design lighting plots to ensure the lighting hits the right areas of the space and to generate EASE diagrams for selecting speakers and the sound's throw pattern. (If you've never see an EASE diagram before, there's an example to the right).


To get the most out of upgrading your theater, you need theatrical system professionals to properly plan it into specific steps. Here are our experience-based tips on upgrading your theater:


1. Never Purchase Used Equipment


An upgrade with outdated equipment? That doesn't make much sense. While the discounted price may be a plus, used theatrical equipment is not the way to go. The dealer most likely was selling the equipment to buy newer versions themselves. You don't know how the equipment was ever used or maintained, and you'd cut the risk by asking the previous owner about it. You'd purchase as-is, where there's a chance the items were sitting idle for a long period of time and are more prone to malfunction. Used equipment rarely comes with any warranty or design documentation. New equipment is the most reasonable way from a quality and ROI perspective.


2. Purchase ONLY Quality LED Light Fixtures


Not only is the lighting more enhanced, but LED lighting saves you thousands of dollars annually on your energy bill compared to the prior years with incandescent. Depending on how you use them, LED lights can last up to 40x longer than the traditional bulb. There should no question on this upgrade.


3. Have the Proper Rigging Installed


Stage rigging is one of the most critical parts of a theater lighting. It holds the responsibility in securing the lights, audio equipment, curtains, scenery, or other technical elements above the theater. Correct theatrical light fixture rigging includes installing a proper rigging piping so the light fixtures can be mounted via c-clamps while supported by safety cables as backup. All wiring should be fireproof and the electrical work must be up-to-code. You can have the greatest lights in the world, but if they are not properly installed, safety and performance issues will arise.



4. Don't Forget About Soundproofing


To reduce echos and enhance the clarity of a performance or presentation's sound, acoustic treatment is absolutely necessary. The most common method of soundproofing, whether it be within an auditorium or a theater, is the installation of panels. Soundproofing panels consist of a porous material that absorb the sound and are applied to walls, ceilings, and/or stage areas. These panels are installed at particular angles in specific areas depending on the space. If installed incorrectly or without an engineer's assistance, the sound can be reflective and result in distracting the audience.


5. Hire Theatrical System Professionals


Architects and electricians can sway you with their fancy terminology, but their scope of work is too broad to determine the actual needs of a theater project. Many of our clients had run into problems while hiring these kinds of professionals— from code violations, overpriced subcontractors, to low quality results. As a theatrical installation company ourselves, we take pride in being a one-stop shop. We, like other professional theatrical companies, assess the space, create the design, choose the correct equipment for the space, and have our team implement it. We even train your staff on how to utilize the equipment. It requires trained engineers to perform tests and evaluate your theater to get the job done right the first time.