Ceiling Rail Systems

A ceiling rail system is a rail suspended from a ceiling that carries power to instruments that are attached to the rail. The ceiling rail system is commonly used for lighting. The advantage of the rail over fixed lighting is that the lamps can be moved along the rail to allow for different effects. A high voltage rail system comes in a straight line whereas low voltage rails can be curved such as in an S or a circle. The lighting technician uses ceiling rail systems in conjunction with cable lighting, controllers, and other lighting instruments in lighting applications for the stage, television, concerts, film production, and photography studios.

The lighting designer of a stage production works with the director to integrate lighting cues into the script, and thus creating a coordinated programme. Lighting changes can be done manually during the event, but larger productions are more likely to be automated. Some of the instruments on the ceiling rail system can be automated by either motorizing the lamp or motorizing a mirror that can tilt or pan and thus change the direction of the light beam. Various product suppliers for stage equipment and ceiling rail systems can be located using productpilot.com.

The lighting programme drives the narrative of the production in a number of ways and the process can be simple yet effective. For example, selective visibility guides the audiences’ attention to a pivotal soliloquy by lighting the speaker and dimming the surrounding props. Time changes from day to nightfall can be accomplished by subtly graduating from white, to red, to blue.

Advances in the technology of ceiling rail systems are in the type of illumination used, LEDs for instance, and in the electronics. Rails can now carry two circuits and have a variety of junctions and feeds to alter the shape of the rail. As ceiling rails have a widespread use in theatrical productions, suppliers need to communicate with manufacturers to keep abreast of the latest innovations.

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