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I'm building a color correction suite. Among the requirements, I read that it needs to be lit using 6500K lamps with CRI 90 or higher. Which are pretty hard to find in my location.

I totally understand the 6500K requirement but why do I need a high CRI lamp? How does seeing the walls and the other stuff in the room in it's "full glory" affects my perception of the stuff on the screen?

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The truth is that you do not need them... unless you do of course.

You only need good CRI for the ambient lamps if you need to compare colors with real-life things, probably the skin tone of someone, or want to prepare the color for a tomato that looks healthy but not oversaturated.

Another reason is that you can not work totally isolated from ambient light, your eyes will stress a lot. So the ambient light will hit your hands, your keyboard, and things on your desk. Having a low-quality light illuminating this could alter your perception of colors and force you to make wrong adjustments.

If you need lights with good CRI get some on an online store.

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  • Thank you for getting my point! Really, I asked this question on many forums and a lot of people started telling me why does a color suite needs special lighting at all:) which is quite a more general question – dich Dec 30 '19 at 10:30
  • So, your point is that seeing, eg., the skin tone of my own hands badly illuminated will result in biased color correction decisions because I will (unconsciously, perhaps) reference that badly lit skin tone to the skin tone I'm grading, am I getting your point? – dich Dec 30 '19 at 10:35
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    Yes. That is the idea. The ideal conditions of a studio for color grading and specially color calibration need to be neutral gray, but those everyday things like your own hands, a person sitting next to you will "uncalibrate" for a moment your eyes or, as you say, your mind. – Rafael Dec 30 '19 at 20:00
  • Thank you! Finally got an answer for a question that bugged me so long:) – dich Dec 30 '19 at 21:27
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Your visual system has auto white-balance on by default. If you go outdoors after being indoors the light doesn't look blue, your brain almost instantly compensates for the colour temperature shift so that whites still look white.

This is a good thing for everyday life, but not so much in a colour grading suite. If your surroundings are some whacky shade of white because of the lights your brain will auto-calibrate so that the whacky shade looks white, meaning that your colour perception will be skewed.

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  • Thank you! Yet to me this looks like an answer to a different, more general question "Why do I need to care about the lighting and the wall colors in my color suite at all". I understand the general idea of a color suite environment. My question was what role in all of this a high CRI lamp has. – dich Dec 30 '19 at 10:22
  • If you look at the spectrum given off by most LED and fluorescent lights it's all over the place. They really don't provide balanced colour. – stib Dec 30 '19 at 21:43

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