Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews › Forums › Technique › Miscellaneous Techniques › Tungsten Lighting vs. Smoke Alarms › Just a happy-ending follow up
Just a happy-ending follow up for anyone either interested or faced with a similar situation in the future:
Integrated fire systems using smoke detectors are able to be "zoned" by the technicians. If one detector senses smoke it can be set to hold off triggering the alarm system until an adjacent detector also detects smoke. Coupling this with a minor adjustment in sensitivity makes it possible to use the hot lights indoors without triggering the alarm system. I'm sure the size of the smoke particles would also have something to do with the sensitivity (I wouldn't expect burning a big pile of leaves in the studio would have the same results…)
Anyway, in my original situation, a detector slightly further away was obviously not as much of an issue as the one directly in the centre of the studio space ceiling. The detector most at risk has had the sensitivity adjusted and has been set to hold off triggering until the detector further away from the lights also senses smoke.
So, after all the minor within-regulation tweaks, the fire system contrators (with alarm system in "test" mode) witnessed ~1700W of lighting gear, with the stands set up at ~6ft, directly underneath the sensor (worst-case scenario)…and the problem was solved, no trigger.
As the lights are still reasonably new they put out a steady stream of smoke, and though the smoke will never completely be gone, it will decrease over the lifetime of the lights (fingerprint oil, dust etc. aside). To have the alarms not trigger in that worst-case scenario means we're sorted.
Coupled with a diverted aircon duct and a small extraction vent in the roof, the smoke/heat problem is now a non-issue.
Thanks again for all of your suggestions, and if anyone else has run into this issue in a building they're working in regularly (regularly enough to justify technicians tweaking the system), hopefully you'll read this thread and can resolve the situation.