Neutral Surround For Displays And Bias Lighting
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Here’s a recent explanation of this issue I thought would be helpful to this community. Perhaps is will warrant “sticky” status.
The best surround for video displays is a neutral color. Neutral is technically what will reflect all colors equally- gray to white. The Kodak 18% Gray Card is one such technically neutral gray reference, and is relatively common in photo supply stores. Kodak has been putting this product on back order in recent history, so it may be difficult to find. There are other companies that also produce an “18% photo gray card” product that is equally good. The shade of gray is a bit dark for some tastes, but it can be used as a sample that can be scanned by most paint retailers. Simply add more white base to lighten it to your preference. It can also be used to match fabrics, etc., if another background is desired instead of paint. However, the ambient light used in the vicinity of fabric samples may contaminate the perception of neutrality.
My company provides Munsell gray reference sample sets in multiple shades of gray (including white). SMPTE uses the Munsell Color Order System as their reference for surface colors discussed in their viewing environment recommended document ‘SMPTE RP166-1995.’ Munsell notation paint is VERY expensive if ordered from them (acrylic lacquer), and not really suitable for walls. Here’s a link to a source for Munsell notation equivalent latex paint: http://www.rpimaging.com/store/PID123 . The 18% photo gray card is approximately equivalent to a Munsell N5 notation.
The wall doesn’t have to be a solid color. It can be less monotonous to use a pattern and texture of mixed neutral colors. A little imagination and innovation can make the wall behind the display attractive and interesting. In ‘Digital Video Essentials’ Joe Kane depicts the walls in the animated section discussing viewing environment principles covered in a woven grass type wall paper. It features multiple subtle shades of neutral gray, a subtle pattern, and texture. A good point to remember in lobbying for a neutral wall behind the TV is that neutral goes with any and all colors used elsewhere in the room.
Best regards and beautiful pictures,
G. Alan Brown, President
A Lion AV Consultants Affiliate
“Advancing the art and science of electronic imaging”
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