Any tips for ambient (non-glare) lighting for my theater room?

Discussion in 'Displays' started by kurt_fire, Aug 29, 2004.

  1. kurt_fire

    kurt_fire Stunt Coordinator

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    I have a 51" Sony rear projection HDTV and I want a little light in my theater room when watching TV or a DVD. I need the light to be non-reflective. My TV does have the safety screen on it in.

    I have the main light in the middle ceiling of my room which is WAYYY to bright/big to have on while watching TV. My other light is a lamp in the corner of the room that still puts out too much light and just produces an annoying glare on the screen.

    How about a little light behind the TV? I'm new to theater lighting so I need all the tips/information you experts can give me. Thanks! I read somewhere about rechargeable candles or something like that for your coffee table? Anybody hear of that?
     
  2. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    I have a small spotlight on top of the set aimed at the wall behind the set, 40-60 watt bulb. My set's in a corner so I have it aimed downward behind the set. One of the GE Reveal bulbs is ideal for this setup.

    Even better is a 6500k small flourescent placed on the floor behind the set, hopefully someone will chime in with the correct tube and such for this setup.

    Back in the 50s, before tvs could produce very bright pictures, there were lamps produced specifically designed to be placed on top of tv sets and shine on the wall behind the set. They were designed to look like ceramic seashells or something similar from the front.
     
  3. Dylan

    Dylan Extra

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    I use single color christmas lights (e.g. green, purple) either in icicle hanging down behind the TV or plain single string form running along the top of the wall around the perimeter of the room.
     
  4. George_W_K

    George_W_K Screenwriter

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    You could try installing a dimmer switch on your main light so you can dim it to what is comfortable for viewing and have it at full intensity when you need it.

    I installed 4 eyeball lights in my room on a remote controlled dimmer switch. I used the eyeballs so I could aim them away from my FP screen. You can see them at my little HT site. Click on the "house" icon above this post.

    Good luck on whatever idea you end up using! [​IMG]

    Geo
     
  5. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    I'll only add in the uber-picky approach from myself in case you're wondering:

    In situations where you have small screens especially, to reduce viewer fatigue you can use some backlighting. This does assume you've already calibrated your TV to a much lower white level as part of calibrating your video. Out of the box TVs are hideously overbright, and give me headaches even in fully lit rooms sometimes, not to mention they look like crap.

    Try to keep the light behind the set, and not to reflect directly onto the screen. Further, if you've gone to the trouble for a full grayscale calibration, etc this will be destroyed if you use non D65 lighting behind the set, such as standard bulbs. "6500" flourescents don't have the same output characteristics of true D65 sources, you can run some seaches in this forum on backlighting/D65/6500 for more information, so they aren't necessarily the best.

    If you have large FP screens, I am absolutely against backlighting. I've gone through the trouble to taping off all the LEDs and light displays on my equipment to eliminate *all* ambient light from the room when viewing.

    Depending where you are on the spectrum of videophile nutcase, you can take backlighting/room lighting crazy serious if you want [​IMG]
     
  6. WilliamPC

    WilliamPC Agent

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    I bought some cheap lights that you would install in the top of a bookshelf or curio cabinet and put them behing my Sammy DLP facing up. They cost me $10 at Ikea. I think Home Depot has them too. Super easy to install, small, cheap and effective.
     
  7. GeorgeAB

    GeorgeAB Second Unit

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    kurt_fire,

    I don't know why some think that wanting to provide correct viewing conditions in a home theater makes one an extremist or "crazy". In my analysis, to invest thousands of dollars on a decent HDTV, DVDs and other programs, but diminish the performance of that investment by ignoring the viewing environment, is "crazy". Frequently, all the talk about hardware in the home theater community ignores a vital component in every system. That component is the viewer.

    Your questions have legitimate solutions that are founded in imaging science and display standards. Joe Kane has been discussing these issues on his home theater setup discs since the early '90s. His web site offers further detail: www.videoessentials.com . Mr. Kane chaired the SMPTE Working Group that studied and revised standards and practices for professional monitors back in the mid '80s. One area of their studies included an updated examination of human factors. That focus resulted in the SMPTE Recommended Practices Document #166: "Critical Viewing Conditions For Evaluation Of Color Television Pictures".

    The least expensive source for this document is a Widescreen Review special issue titled, "Imaging Science Theatre 2000" from 1998. The back issue is still available for $10.00, if I recall correctly. No serious fan of home theater should be without that publication in their library. You can also order the SMPTE document directly from that organization: www.smpte.org. Another solid source for additional information on this topic is: www.ideal-lume.com .

    What you need is lighting that comes as close as possible to CIE D65 (commonly referred to as 6500 Kelvins) that can illuminate the wall behind your TV. A small "daylight" fluorescent with a color rendering index (CRI) of at least 90 and a color temperature of 6500K is the preferred type of light. Ideally, the wall behind the TV should be a neutral color (gray to white).

    You'll need to limit the output from the lamp so that the level of light on the wall is less than 10% of the peak white output of the TV. Every home theater setup DVD worth its salt has a test pattern included that allows you to compare the light on the wall to the light on your TV screen. The pattern is usually called, "Backlight Level" or "Ambient Light Reference".

    Your TV does not have to be professionally calibrated to D65 before correct viewing conditions will be beneficial. Viewing environment principles are every bit as critical for optimizing the performance of your video display as speaker placement and room acoustics are for sound systems.

    Both television and movies are standards-based industries. The more you can learn about the fundamental standards that govern these technologies, the more enjoyment can be gained from them. This forum, and others like it, can be a great resource for deriving the utmost enjoyment from your home entertainment system. The challenge is to wade through all the uninformed opinions, well meaning conjecture, personal perspectives and half-truths to get to what's accurate. Another solution is to consult a professional, if you can afford to. That can save a lot of time and regretable decisions.

    Best regards and beautiful pictures,
    G. Alan Brown, President
    CinemaQuest, Inc.

    "Advancing the art and science of electronic imaging"
     

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