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Proper color temperature for lighting in an art gallery?

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    Proper color temperature for lighting in an art gallery?

    I'm looking at a job to replace existing track lighting that is outdated in an art gallery.
    According to the manager the current color temperature is a little "too yellow".
    i didn't get up on a ladder to check the LED bulbs that are there now but my guess would be that they're in the 3000K range.

    Anyone have any opinions, or know of a standard color temperature that is best for this application?
    Thanks

    #2
    According to the manager the current color temperature is a little "too yellow".
    Yeah, get ready for a lot of non specific ideas and no commitments on this one. I suggest 5000K. You want something close to daylight. Run that past him.

    -Hal

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      #3
      For an indoor gallery you want to approximate artifical lighting or diffuse sunlight to approximate "classic"gallery experience. The artist may have used artificial light or sunlight through windows. My opinion is that daylight (as used in source rating) would be far too harsh. I really like 3500K (Spec35) as a compromise. Also, many Daylight lamps have poor CRI.
      You also need to have a very good CRI including the additional red test. IMHO that is more critical than color temperature.
      Bottom line is that if the manager is a good art critic or has one on tap, you should get samples of the exact lamps and have him compare and choose.
      One last consideration is for best life of the artwork, especially without protective glass, you need to minimize the UV component.

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        #4
        Yes, there is no 'proper' color temperature and you should upsell for your 'design consultation fee' for your time to show them the options.

        You might consider a mix of lamps to get a more natural broad spectrum, but then the difficulty is getting the mix even.

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          #5
          This document has info and observations about LED lighting for museums and galleries:

          https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...4f-D3HEi6VbAM-

          It probably gets into more details than the OP needs or wants to know, but it might be helpful in selecting and implementing the lighting solution needed.

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            #6
            I would not give suggestions on this. It seems to me that this is like quicksand.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by GoldDigger View Post
              For an indoor gallery you want to approximate artifical lighting or diffuse sunlight to approximate "classic"gallery experience. The artist may have used artificial light or sunlight through windows. My opinion is that daylight (as used in source rating) would be far too harsh. I really like 3500K (Spec35) as a compromise. Also, many Daylight lamps have poor CRI.
              You also need to have a very good CRI including the additional red test. IMHO that is more critical than color temperature.
              Bottom line is that if the manager is a good art critic or has one on tap, you should get samples of the exact lamps and have him compare and choose.
              One last consideration is for best life of the artwork, especially without protective glass, you need to minimize the UV component.
              The classic artist's loft is a wall of windows facing due north. So, the ideal lighting would approximate due north diffuse lighting from the sky. Cree makes LED's with a 5000K color temperature and a CRI of 90+. This might be a tad too blue, but let the curator decide.

              Comment


                #8
                You could suggest the Soraa Snap system. Offers tons of flexibility, not only for color temp, but also beam distribution.

                https://www.soraa.com/products/snap_system.php
                I'm offended.

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                  #9
                  Look into tunable white .... they can dial in exactly what they want.

                  another option is to mix various temp lamps. I was at the Tate London this spring and they used two rows of fluorescent lighting aimed at each wall; one row was 5000k, the other 3500k. Seemed to work pretty well. They also had some 5000k indirect ceiling lighting.
                  [COLOR="Blue"]Brought to you by Carl's Jr.[/COLOR] ©

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by brantmacga View Post
                    Look into tunable white .... they can dial in exactly what they want.

                    another option is to mix various temp lamps. I was at the Tate London this spring and they used two rows of fluorescent lighting aimed at each wall; one row was 5000k, the other 3500k. Seemed to work pretty well. They also had some 5000k indirect ceiling lighting.
                    That's interesting. Assuming they are dimmable, you could get any color temperature you wanted between 3500K and 5000K.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by gadfly56 View Post

                      That's interesting. Assuming they are dimmable, you could get any color temperature you wanted between 3500K and 5000K.
                      Do they need to be dimmable? It’s possible, but then you’ll get into more advanced controls that will add a lot
                      to the cost. Something like Lutron or Vantage for that. Tunable alone isn’t cheap either but if they’re serious about color it’s a good option.
                      [COLOR="Blue"]Brought to you by Carl's Jr.[/COLOR] ©

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                        #12
                        Originally posted by brantmacga View Post

                        Do they need to be dimmable? It’s possible, but then you’ll get into more advanced controls that will add a lot
                        to the cost. Something like Lutron or Vantage for that. Tunable alone isn’t cheap either but if they’re serious about color it’s a good option.
                        If they aren't dimmable or tuneable then the final color temperature is fixed, depending on the intensity of the sources, number, and distance from the art. Very basic theater lighting for area wash is to hit each area with four instruments, two from the left and two from the right (ideally at 45 degree angle). Each pair has a "no-color pink" and a "no-color blue" gel in an instrument. This way you can make the scene as warm or cool as you like, and flatten the perspective or make the actors stand out via shadowing. I would assume you want the same or better for art work. The cost of the lighting, however fancy, is likely to be trivial compared to the art.

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                          #13
                          Color is important but CRI (color rendering index) in this case is more important. Like others have said, get with a local lighting rep. for help. We just did a car show museum and they went with 3500K with a 90CRI or better. The CRI helps with how people perceive the color which I would think would be very important for an artist.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by oldsparky52 View Post
                            I would not give suggestions on this. It seems to me that this is like quicksand.
                            i'll wade into the quicksand. i have a sand pail and a shovel.

                            3,500K with a CRI of above 92. 95 would be better. you'll have less arguments about the lighting.
                            the higher the CRI, the more colors will look the same to everyone.

                            and.... build into the bid a light meter that does CRI and color temp,
                            so the facility can figure out what looks good by the numbers, and duplicate it.
                            without one, it's like trying to tell someone how to parallel park by what they tell you they see in the rear view mirror.
                            this is the one i use. it's good enough i bought a second one when the first one was stolen.

                            https://www.asensetek.com/

                            by the way, do NOT assume color temp and CRI from the manufacturer are accurate. almost all of them lie.
                            that little meter above has a certificate to national bureau of standards, and it'll trash most lighting manufacturers claims.
                            i've seen LED's with a stated CRI of 95 actually test at 81. in california, you can't sell lights below 90 CRI, so naturally
                            all lights are listed above 90. nobody tests, it seems.

                            there are available LED's with selectable color temperature.
                            some of them suck, some of them are stellar. do research.
                            the most amazing light i've ever seen was this.... it can
                            sing dance, and change color, and the color temp and intensity
                            does not change on the work surface a lick. fully configurable.

                            https://www.acuitybrands.com/products/family/rubik

                            i was in a room with a bunch of those lights in the ceiling, and with my little meter
                            on the desktop, the light level and color temp didn't vary a lick, and the lights looked
                            like rubik's cubes all spinning up in the ceiling. 16 bit color was available on those.
                            ask dave... he was there.

                            to the OP, don't do all this for free. people spend a LOT of money for lighting consultants.
                            i know, i sorta are one, in a weird way.
                            Last edited by Fulthrotl; 09-06-19, 10:31 AM.
                            ~New signature under construction.~
                            ~~~~Please excuse the mess.~~~~

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                              #15
                              Just out of curiosity, in California is an art gallery subject to the same full energy efficiency and daylight harvesting rules as an office or retail space?

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