About Darkmoded

I’m DC Bradshaw.

I work in a planetarium.

In my capacity there, I do a handful of things:

  • seating, ushering and customer service
  • daily theater maintenance
  • theater system maintenance (software, computer networks, and mechanical projection equipment)
  • program research and development
  • scriptwriting
  • show production and editing (audio, video, photography, imaging, etc.)
  • show installation (theater system setup, automation editing, laser programming)
  • show delivery for public and group programs
  • lots and lots of research and brainstorming
  • have pretty much a total freaking blast doing a unique job in a unique setting.

This site is about planetarium stuff (and other stuff too).

What does “darkmoded” mean?

Computers are a necessity in an automated theater; thus monitors are necessary.   Unfortunately, complete darkness is also necessary.

In my theater, there are thirteen fifteen (soon to be 16) computers, and nine monitors between then.  That many monitors put out a surprising amount of light.  Most of them can be turned off during shows, but a handful (those that handle theater automation and system monitoring) need to stay on and be watched.

Do an experiment: some night, open a .doc (or some other image with a bright white background), turn off your computer monitor, and turn off all the lights in the room.  Sit in the darkness for a minute to let your eyes adjust to the dark, then turn the monitor back on.  Take a look around the room to see how much the single screen illuminates.  More than you thought it would?

Now imagine that with multiple monitors in a theater where darkness is essential.

We need to see those screens, but we also need to keep light levels as low as possible.

Thus, we darkmode things.

My control room.

My laptop on the left, automation panels in the middle, and laser control on the right.

The red gel lowers the light’s wavelength.  It’s still bright, bright enough to be seen and read, but the light “falls off” quicker, and doesn’t travel quite so far.

The same thing happens with flashlights—a necessary tool in a dark theater.  I have a red LED flashlight.  It is very bright, but shoots a focused beam into a small pool.  Great for fumbling around for things without distracting the entire audience.

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