LaFace & McGovern Associates
Controlling News
Summer 2014
Please welcome the newest member of the L&M Controls Department

We are pleased to announce that Ken Lager has joined the LaFace & McGovern team as the Lighting and Rigging Specialist.  Ken spent the last 14 years as a Rigging Installation Manager for Pook Diemont & Ohl in  NYC,  NY.  Ken is  ETCP Certified and while with PDO, he oversaw the installation of counterweight & motorized rigging, packaged hoist systems, orchestra pits, variable acoustic banners, chain motor rigging systems and lighting bridges in Educational Facilities, Performing Arts Centers, TV Broadcast studios and other venues all around the world.


Ken is a former Theatrical Lighting Designer and will spent his first few weeks with L&M in training with our specialty manufacturers.  Along with his expertise in Rigging, Ken brings with him the knowledge and support of a broad network of theatrical suppliers of all types of equipment, including draperies, chain motors, and truss. This will allow him to assist local architects, engineers, dealers and end users plan and execute complete theatrical systems.


Ken was born and raised in the Pittsburgh area, attending North Allegheny High School before moving on to Kutztown University of PA where he studied Technical Theatre.  He is excited to be returning to the Pittsburgh area to live and raise his family.


LED's and Dimming - LaFace & McGovern's Solution to the Problem

The popularity of LED lighting has brought on a paradigm shift that hasn't been matched in many years.  LED's offer extended life, less color shifting, tunable white color and full color changing ability.  Design Professionals and Owners now have more sustainable and flexible options in lighting products than ever before.

Unfortunately, with all good things come a few not so good things.  LED's are rated today in life of the diode but the other important item is the driver.  Drivers will always have a shorter life expectancy than the LED's themselves and standards for the drivers are in the process of being completed to assure quality of product as well as compatibility of products to dimming.

In the mean time, as it is very true that LED's do in fact dim, the quality of the dimming and the range of the dimming are nothing short of being defined as 'the wild west'.  Results from one product to another are vastly different today causing even the best designed project to potentially be a disaster.  Poor dimming on a project site results is strobing lighting, popping lighting, lights not dimming to low end or pulsing lights.  None of which are desired characteristics of a final lighting design.

In order to provide another layer of professional assistance to our industry professionals, LaFace & McGovern began about a year ago with conceptually designing a product testing process to assure that the product that we specify, design and ultimately sell will already prove to be compatible with the dimming system that is complimenting it.

We just recently completed the installation of our product testing lab.  The design of this test lab is very unique in that it allows our staff the ability to take any LED product and quickly connect it to any of our dimming products - full scale dimming systems down to a simple Lutron wall box dimmer.  We can immediately visually see the range of dimming as well as the quality (stepping) of the dimming and provide the industry with an assurance of our products performance and compatibility. 


Please be sure to ask our sales reps to test our products for you prior to specification or shipping in order to provide you with the comfort of knowing your product selections will perform properly and to your intent.


Inside the Photosensor 

What is a photosensor? Simply put, a photosensor detects light levels of a space, and then automatically adjusts the output level of light fixtures to maintain a pre-determined light level. The photocell, the most important component inside a photosensor, is the light (artificial light and/or daylighting) measuring chip that "looks" at illuminance in a space (radiant energy) and converts it to electrical current. Since it can also see UV and IR in addition to the visible spectrum that we can see, the photocell will typically include a filter with photopic correction to mimic the response to daylighting and natural lighting as close to the human eye response as possible. A photosensor itself is the actual unit that then houses the photocell and the wiring/communication needed to convert an electrical current into a control signal that the ballast or driver can decipher.


With the introduction of the electronic ballast in the early 1980's, the dimming of a fluorescent fixture as controlled by a photosensor has been an available control option. A photosensor can be used to simply turn lights off when enough daylighting is available in the space. Click here for the LC&D 2-wire photosensor. Or a photosensor can be used with dimming ballasts or drivers to adjust light output over a continuous range. There are two general ways for a photosensor to convert the radiant energy into an electrical current - analog and digital. The first is with a 0-10 volt analog signal. When the photosensor sees a decreased illuminance, it will limit current flow to the control wires, causing the voltage to rise towards 10 volts, which will produce full output from the lighting system. When the photosensor sees an increased illuminance, it will increase current flow to the control wires, causing the voltage to drop towards 0 volts, which will produce lower output from the lighting system. Click here to learn more about the Sensor Switch photosensor and here for the LC&D 3-wire and Slimline indoor photosensor. The second way a photosensor converts radiant energy to an electrical current is through a digital interpretation of encoded pulse signals from the photosensor. By modifying the frequency of the control signal, the photosensor varies the light output from the lamp ballast system. Click here to learn more about the Lutron Radio Powr Savr photosensor. Both photosensor technologies are equally reliable at detecting light levels, and ultimately can both be used as a powerful tool in a lighting control energy saving strategy.



What is Rigging? 


One of the many challenges that architects and engineers face when presented with a performance venue in an educational or house of worship project is rigging.  Rigging provides a place to install performance equipment such as lighting, scenery, drapery, and audio.  Rigging comes in many different forms from the simple to the very complex. 


Dead hung rigging is the simplest and most cost effective rigging to install.  Hanging a 1.5" schedule 40 pipe, typically referred to as the 'batten', from a structural member capable of supporting the intended load is all that is needed.  Access to the overhead equipment can be difficult if installed over uneven floors or auditorium seating.  


Counterweight systems have been installed in performance venues for hundreds of years.  In their purest forms, counterweight systems involve a similar piece of schedule 40 pipe connected by aircraft cables to an adjustable counterweight.  As the load is increased on the pipe batten, a corresponding load must be added to the counterweight, thus keeping the system in balance.  This type of system requires highly trained supervisors and operators for safe and efficient operation.  An unbalanced system can be extremely dangerous.  There is also substantial structural engineering that needs to go into a facility in order to counteract the static and dynamic loads incurred by this type of system.  


Motorized rigging systems are the newest option for performance spaces.  They offer unparalleled flexibility and safety.  Motorized hoists are available in fixed speed or variable speed options with travel speeds of 180 feet per minute for moving scenery quickly between scenes during a performance.  Safety is of the utmost importance with motorized rigging.  Constant load monitoring and slack line detection will instantly stop a hoist from moving if it detects loads outside user defined limits.  This adds an additional layer of safety for all users, from novice to lifelong professional.  Control systems have also evolved with motorized hoists from simple up and down buttons.  Modern control consoles indicate the position and current load on each individual batten in real time.  They can also be set up to playback predefined presets during a show or performance.


Laface and McGovern is always available to assist with rigging layouts.  We can meet with the owners representative, to get their input on how the auditorium will be used. The structural engineer and electrical engineer will need to know the correct requirements for the stage equipment.  We can also assist any other members of the design team who may need help with coordination for equipment in the auditorium. We can then prepare drawings and specifications for the stage equipment to be added to the contract documents.


Call us today to learn more or for a hands on demo of ETC's Prodigy Product line of Rigging!  


In this Issue
LEDs & Dimmg :
The  L&M Solution

Inside the Photosensor

Entertainment Lighting, Rigging & Controls
What is Rigging?

Lunch &Learns  
at your location


UL924 Generator Transfer Solutions
with Brian Miedel

Managing Daylight with Shading Systems   

with Valerie McKee
Email for an appointment!

ETC Rigging Applications 

with Ken Lager
Email for an appointment!

Education Units
Available Upon Request

Click here to inquire.


Please mark your calendars for our upcoming AIA Seminar
October 2nd & 3rd  2014.
More details to come.


Questions? Please contact: 

Who's Who in Controls


Brian Miedel



Valerie McKee

Daylighting Specialist 


Ken Lager

Lighting & Rigging Specialist


Cindy Miedel   

Controls Project Manager 


Bobbi Lofstrom  

Inside Support /Scheduling


Jim Mock

Inside Technical Support


Jen Dillon-Michaels 

Entertainment/Theatrical Support


Mike Brusco  

Controls Field Technician  


Mike Howard

Controls Field Technician


Industry Quick Links 

Return to Top
LaFace & McGovern Associates  
Representing Lighting & Control Manufacturers and Providing the Finest in Service Since 1977


Do you know someone who would benefit from receiving L&M's Controlling News?