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Studio lighting, more confused then ever....... (please help!)

ebsebs -
edited June 2013 in Studio & Supplies
I just had a conversation with a guy who's a lighting expert. He explained to me that Kelvin doesn't matter when looking for light that simulate daylight. What matters instead is CRI (Color rendering index) which is a "quantitative measure of the ability of a light source to reproduce the colors of various objects faithfully in comparison with an ideal or natural light source" (which I haven't heard or seen Mark or anyone on the forum talk about). He told me that the fact that the bulb is 5000K has nothing to do with the ability of the light source to reproduce natural colors.The light source needs to be 90-100% on the CRI scale or something like that to be eligible to see the colors like they appear in natural daylight. He told me that Kelvin didn't alter the colors, and the only thing that matters is the CRI index. He also said that 4000K and 6000K where standardized measures for daylight light sources (Mark says I think that only about 5000K is daylight, which the lighing expert I talked too disagreed with). He also told me that those 85W fluorecent bulbs would be way too powerful and emit rays all over the place and that I would need a screen (?) to direct the light to where it's needed (where my easels at). Now I'm very confused to put it mildly...

Can some please clarify???!


  • edited June 2013
    5000K is like Goldilock's porridge - not too warm and not too cool. It reminds me of the light you see midday on a brightly lit but hazy day. In order to avoid confusion, Mark recommends 5000K at least to start out and it works just fine. I don't think that he ever said that only about 5000K is daylight (as Kingston notes, daylight changes from dawn to dark), but I note that 5000K is right in the middle of the range provided by your expert, so they seem to be on the same page as far as neutral lighting goes.

    The whole point of the shadow box setup is to act as a screen, so there's no disagreement there either that I can see. It keeps the light that lights your easel and your palette from also lighting your setup. The important things are to use the same type of light (in this case 5000K) for both, and then follow the instructions in the video for balancing them in terms of brightness. Nothing magical about 2 85 watt bulbs. You may need more or less depending on studio size.
  • ebsebs -
    edited June 2013
    Thanks guys for making things more clear. Still not sure if the bulbs I've found are OK. I have to order them online. Anyone care taking a look? : 5200K Studio Bulb.htm

    Also, do I have to fit the bulbs inside a lamp screen??
  • Don't listen to him, yes CRI is part of the deal, but every single spiral fluorescent I have ever seen is plenty good enough for CRI.
    He told me that Kelvin didn't alter the colors,
    2000 is VERY yellow orange, 7000 is VERY blue; not sure what he means???
  • Ebs....have you seen the quality of paintings Mark paints using the bulbs he suggests? I think you maybe looking into it all way too much. If you want to paint realism using this method then the 5000k bulbs are perfect. I use them now and they are amazing. Mark's work speaks for the bulbs!
  • ebsebs -
    edited June 2013
    Thanks @Mark_Carder for responding! I'm not sure what that means either (having looked up the definition of Kelvin) and don't know if I misunderstood what he was saying regarding that Kelvin thing. @Marcus, I'm fully aware of the amazing results achieved by Mark and other people on this forum, using Marks method and lighting. I'm not questioning whether Marks method/studio lighting works or not. I was simply suprised that the advice given from the lighting guy I was talking to, which has a degree in this with many years of experience, differed from Marks advice. I'm NOT at all saying that Marks wrong or taking the "experts" words over anyone else's. I was simply confused by the conflicting information and wanted things clarified. If the 5000K bulbs works for everyone else here I'm sure they must be good enough for me aswell. That was my thinking all along. Again just wanted to hear what you guys had to say. Thats all. Thanks again.
  • @Robert, I think you missed my point! If you want a natural light looking still life painting and are trying to follow Marks methods then, do as Mark suggests. It's a no brainer. I was simply saying look at his results under his lighting conditions. Are they not good enough? I wouldn't waste time looking around for bulbs. I just do as instructed as I love the results I see on here. What Mark says makes perfect sense and works so my advice is to follow it if you're after similar results. My friend paints in her studio with white walls, white ceilings and two massive fluorescent tubes above her, glare everywhere, but paints beautiful landscapes. Not realism at all, but lovely paintings. I'll post a couple of hers. Although, reading your comment again, I did wonder if you might be on to something. I'm reaching for the candles and matches as we speak. :D
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