Preferences on Color Temperature - but not the kind you're thinking! - Lighting color - AVS Forum
View Poll Results: Preferred/recommended color temperature
2700K - traditional incandescent, soft white, considered yellow/warm 1 20.00%
3000K - halogen light hovers around here 3 60.00%
4000K - "Clear White" Light/some flourescent 0 0%
5000K - Daylight bulbs, considered cool, tending toward blue 1 20.00%
Voters: 5. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 5 Old 06-25-2013, 10:28 PM - Thread Starter
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I searched - but discussions about "color temperature" on AVS are almost exclusively about display color temperature, not the color temperature of your lights!

With the advent of so many kinds of lighting, CFL, LED, halogen, incandescent - so many options in the store, from 2700K to 5000K lighting - what to choose for theater building? Is it just a preference, like paint color, carpets, or seating?

1) What "color" of light do you prefer for theater lighting applications? Warm? Cool? Any particular preferences or experience?

2) Do you think it makes a difference when watching content in your theater for those "scenes" that have ambient light? Like watching a football game and having light over the bar, etc?

I am trying to decide on LED recessed lights for my theater room, and don't know what color temperature to pick! Most LED downlighting is offered in 2700K, 3000K, and 4000K varieties

Here's a picture to help you answer:


Electrical engineer by education. Currently a system engineer. I like home automation, theaters, and blinking lights.
Someday it'll be more of an actual hobby - if my employer would ever let me go home!

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post #2 of 5 Old 06-26-2013, 04:00 AM
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Projection screens reflect light and do not discriminate as to the source. 6500K is the reference and all light sources illuminated during a screening should be 6500K. That color can be achieved with some fluorescent (dimming) fixtures and RGB LEDs. That being said, regardless of the light color from your fixtures, that color will then be affected by that light reflecting off a non-black surface. Since you have non-black surfaces in your room, even with the lights off, those colored surfaces will still impact color on the screen. So, what do to? Unless you're a post house or very anal about picture quality, you won't have a totally black room, an expensive matte white screen, and you won't have a projector that can produce exactly 6500K from 0 to 100 IRE; therefore, turn off all the lights in the room and obsess about something else.

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post #3 of 5 Old 06-26-2013, 05:28 AM
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I agree you want the lights off during show time, but when you have the lights on you want to compliment the color scheme of the room. I found that lights make a big difference in how the fabric looks on the walls for instance. I learned that in a blue/gray theater that yellow lights tend to reflect as mud but cooler enhances the blue, In warm color spaces temperatures close to halogen works well.


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post #4 of 5 Old 06-26-2013, 06:49 AM
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I wouldn't worry about it too much. I'm going to put very warm lamps in my room, but they'll always be off for "critical" viewing. If you want to make a neutral color decision, shoot for 6500K, just like the projector lamp.


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post #5 of 5 Old 06-28-2013, 03:29 PM - Thread Starter
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I am assuming that 6500K lighting is not easy to find? Halogens, LEDs, not many come at that color.

But like Big says - this is more about home theater decor than it is about the movie watching experience. - except for the case where you want to have the "party" atmosphere, people sitting around, watching the game, eating. But even then I think the lights near the screen should be low to off and the back of the room will be light.

So I wasn't thinking of obsessing about what it would do to the picture quality - as much as how it would set the mood and what people tend to prefer.

I talked to one fellow who does lighting that said some people he's put theater lights in for love the "warm" glow so much that they had nearly orange lighting put into their theater! Fred - it sounds like you might be one of the type that likes the warm light. My wife is the same. She wants me to put 2700K or warmer lights in.

Big - the other comment I really liked was about how lighting color should complement the color scheme in the room. Choose warm (or neutral) lighting for warm tones, cool lighting (or neutral) for cool tones.

Thanks everyone so far! Mostly I'm curious about lighting preference of the community, not so much to make my own decision but to create an interesting thread on a topic I don't see much around here.

Electrical engineer by education. Currently a system engineer. I like home automation, theaters, and blinking lights.
Someday it'll be more of an actual hobby - if my employer would ever let me go home!

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