6500k & the REAL point of Industry Standards

Following up my previous post on implementing 6500k lighting in the edit room…

I did a search in the TIG (Telecine Internet Group) mailing list on this issue. Bob Currier of Synthetic Apeture (and creator of the very good Color Finesse color correction plug-in and software) had the discussion-ending post on why colorists follow the SMPTE standard for using D65 light in their suites:

“There is a standard and it’s 6500K.

This has nothing to do with making the image in the grading suite match the image at home.

Instead, it has to do with consistency so that all our 6500K standards-based grading will appear compatible when shown on Aunt Millie’s badly mis-adjusted 9300K TV. If some of us are grading on 6500K monitors and some on 9300K monitors, things will look rather poor indeed when they air back-to-back. Not only will commercials not match the programming, but commercials won’t match each other.

Besides, Aunt Millie likes her over-saturated, blue look. If you start making that look “normal” she’ll think you broke her TV.”

‘Nuff said. Final word. I’m satisfied.

Thanks Bob.

On a related note, I also found a link from a TIG posting showing the difference in spectral output from a blackbody radiator (the Sun) and a human device attempting to imitate that black body radiator. If you go to the link, click on the “Back to the calculator” button, then select D65 and then enter 6500 for Blackbody. D65 would be your TV set or your room’s 6500k ambient lighting. Blackbody would be the sun.

Try punching in other values – a typical incandescent emits at around D35 (click on the graph to update). Notice how much more red it emits. If your camera was white balanced for daylite (D65) while shooting an interior under an incandescent light, what do you think would be the predominate color?

– pi

 Subscribe in a reader

1 Comment

  1. […] The rationale stands to this day. Back on that blog, I posted a few days later about a much more succinct reason why industry-standard lighting is so important. And if you want a chuckle, read how my lighting decision had some unintended […]

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The comment’s server IP ( doesn’t match the comment’s URL host IP ( and so is spam.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.