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Old November 28th, 2006, 05:45 AM   #1
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Ambient light color temp for viewing monitor ?


I'd like to retrofit the lighting for my room with fluorescent fixtures. My LCD monitors have 6500K white points. My current lighting is 2700K tungsten. Is it best to match ambient lighting to my monitor color temperature. The choices for 5000-5500K "daylight" bulbs with higher CRI's are better? Also, should I also use "less green" gels ? I'm quite interested in reducing the electric bill in my home, so I'm less interested in color-correcting tungsten bulbs.

Thanks for any help.
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Old November 28th, 2006, 09:37 AM   #2
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Saving electricity may not be a problem with incandescents because the level of ambient light in an editing studio should be pretty low. This is in order to clearly see the shadows (bright lights will drown them out). As for color temperature, you want something in the 5000-6500K range; whatever feels neutral to you. If you do get fluorescents, keep the CRI high as high as possible. Painting the walls white or grey helps too. If the walls are not neutral, do not diffuse the light by bouncing it off the walls, for obvious reasons.

Last edited by Emre Safak; November 28th, 2006 at 10:36 AM.
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Old November 28th, 2006, 02:08 PM   #3
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Your fluorescent lights should have a color temp (ideally) close to D65 (or the same as your monitor).

The Kelvin scale does not indicate how green/magenta the light is. The CRI rating shows how closely the light matches the color of a black body radiator; for fluorescents, low CRI fluorescents are likely to be too green. Higher CRI probably means that they are less green.

*the standard white points are D65 for video, D50 for print (D65 ok if on a low budget), P3 for DCI. D65 is very close to 6500K (D65 is slightly greener).

2- As a point of reference, a lot of facilities use tungsten lighting, even though this doesn't follow the SMPTE RP 166 standard. It could be explained by

(A) we have a high tolerance for inaccurate color (real life isn't very color accurate anyways) and/or
(B) the surround doesn't have that big of an influence on what you see on your monitor, when you have real-world imagery displayed on there. Surround effects are not very strong on real-world imagery.

So if your fluorescents are 6500k with middish CRI, or 5000k with very high CRI, in practice you'll probably be ok.

2- What you can also do is to keep light from hitting the face of the monitor, since this increases glare. Flag the lights, put them behind the monitor, and/or build a hood for your monitor. This makes a visually noticeable difference.

3- The surround shouldn't be too bright (otherwise whites on the monitor may appear grey-ish) and shouldn't be too dark (i.e. you get eye strain).
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Old November 29th, 2006, 02:58 PM   #4
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Thanks, Glenn. I've been having some trouble with editing pictures in low light and then viewing my results the next day, only to find that my eye is "off" during the day and back "on" at night. SO, I thought that there may be a problem with my use of low level tungsten lighting at night.

Also, I really liked your VASST color correction DVD. Your presentations and wording were clear and precise. I learned a lot by watching someone else leading the correction process. Excellent job.
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