Home Theater Lighting Ideas

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Too much room lighting degrades the picture quality. Your goal is to have a 100% black room. In fact, you should not be able to see your hand.  However, too little room lighting can fatigue your eyes and make the room creepy and unlivable. Therefore, it is permissible to use just enough light to illuminate the room to limit eye strain.

However, if you use a light projector it throws just enough light in the room to remedy this problem. Turn off the lights. If you must use lights, use NTSC standard 6,500o K light bulbs so the light will not skew the color rendition on your television and place the light behind the television.

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Install a separate dimmable task lighting zone over your listening position.

Home Projection Room Lighting

Run a separate AC-line for all lighting in your room to eliminate interference with your audio power/video signal.
If possible, choose a room with no windows.
If you do have windows: Avoid light glare on the screen by placing the screen at right angles to windows.
Cover windows with thick opaque curtains to block 100% of the light entering the room and minimize acoustic reflections.

Remote Controllable Lighting

As you now see, your lighting system is important. I used the popular Lutron GrafiK Eye. This is one of my favorite compliments from my system. People are really impressed by remote-controlled slow fade on and off.

  • This system is completely remote controllable for three zones.
  • Enables control of low voltage lights.
  • It has 16 preset scenes.
  • It has three zones.
  • It can control low voltage and incandescent lights.
  • I need to purchase a magnetic transformer for my low voltage lights.
  • It can control the fade rate.

There are no light switches in my room. I use the Grapik Eye switch on the exterior entry.

Room Color Pallet

Your screen will reflect light back and will wash out the image, reduce your contrast ratio (level of black). Whatever colors that are in your line of sight will be reduced from the image on the screen. So, if the wall is green, your screen will seem to lack green. Using a color palette that helps control lighting will give you up to 40% more video dynamic range (brighter and higher contrast).

Dark, Rich Colors

They skew a viewer’s perception of the image on the display by making the picture look more like the surrounding hues. Therefore, you should avoid vivid colors.

Home Movie Theater

Light Colors

Reflect back to the screen and wash it out. Likewise, you should avoid light colors.

Neutral Grey

It preserves and enhances color perception. As recommended by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE)’s, you can optimize your viewing environment by painting the room a neutral grey color, especially around the screen’s field of view. This color actually looks great in my room. My wife was very pleased. In fact, this is one of my top five complements of my theater. One person has matched the color for home theater. This color of grey is best because this color has an equal amount of all colors in it, so any light reflected off of it will be exaggerated or reduced equally across the color spectrum.

The Kodak 18% gray card is a visual reference for choosing materials. This can be purchased at a camera shop. The gray card is equivalent to a Munsell notation of N 5. The Munsell Neutral Value Scale runs from a matte white notation of N 9.5 (90% reflectance) to a matte black notation of N 2.75 (5.5% reflectance).

Other Neutral Colors

If you must deviate from neutral gray, the references the Munsell ‘nearly neutrals’.

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