Lighting is a key driver to the success and enjoyment of this fantastic visitor experience about the world’s most accomplished filmmakers.

The project reclaims an historic department store of the Streamline Moderne style. The additional structure is a form that seems to lift off the ground into the perpetual, imaginary voyage through space and time that is moviegoing.

The complete gutting of the interior allowed for a clean slate. An all-new lighting track system spaced at a high density provides the flexibility required for frequent evolution of exhibits, keeping the content fresh, and the museum relevant.

The ceiling, lighting track, utility grid, and fixtures are all painted custom light grey matching the original concrete colour of the exposed structure. This creates a harmonious framework for the emotional and dramatically varied content while distinguishing the space from the typical black box style of many museums–an airy, uplifting environment is created.

2500+ fixtures (of which 95% are limited to two fixture types) illuminate a wide variety of environments that were created to tell the story of filmmaking. Many layers of light are applied allowing beautiful compositions while creating a visual hierarchy that helps visitors understand, enjoy, and circulate the space. Inspired by Film Noir, and to further magnify contrast of lit surfaces, equal attention is given to crafting the shadows.

To reflect the high level of artistic achievement, the artefacts were presented in a more “traditional” approach, using desaturated colour, and low light levels. However, due to the entertainment nature of filmmaking, some areas shifted to a more colourful and dramatic realm, allowing for a more emotional expression. These special conditions present artefacts and environments as they may be remembered from the film, rather than as a stand-alone museum objects detached from their original purpose.

All track fixtures utilize on-board dimming for precise level setting to create balanced compositions and protect priceless light-sensitive artefacts. A museum-wide 10-universe network-based DMX system accommodates both current and future changing exhibit needs. The lighting control system is linked to the Exhibit AV show control system allowing synchronized presentations and centralized control of all DMX fixtures. Exhibit and architectural lighting systems are also linked for a system that is both powerful and easy to operate by the owner. Electrical loads are very low, well exceeding Title 24 requirements. Strict budget financial goals were achieved.

As filmmaking is based on light, many environments feature an interplay of light and projection, immersing visitors in a medium they not only perceive but experience. This creates a strong emotional response with longer lasting impact.

At over 63,000 sq. ft., on 4+ floors of exhibits, the museum honours the past, while exploring new critical perspectives on cinema’s present and future.


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