Colour Rendering Index - What Is CRI?

The Colour Rendering Index & Lighting

The type of light bulb you use in your photography studio or when creating videos could have a profound effect on the way your shot looks. This is often attributed to something known as the colour rendering index or CRI for short. This index will measure the ability of a light source to reveal colours of objects in contrast to a natural light source, such as the sun shining through your window.

So, what is the Colour Render Index known as CRI? Simply put, it's the measurement of light in relation to how it affects the appearance of colour. This range can also depend on the "temperature" of the light, your image may look a little more warm or there is more infrared light coming through if you are were to be under a skylight doing a photo or video shoot. 

either way you want to use lighting that will best illuminate each room depending on your needs.

Understanding the Colour Rendering Index Chart

Every type of photography or video lighting has its place on what's known as CRI the colour rendering index chart. This chart measures a scale from 0 to 100, depending on how accurately it can produce light that matches a naturally referenced light source and by that I mean Sunlight when you are out and about in the day.

In general, bulbs at the higher end of the scale will produce a more accurate CRI the colour rendering of the objects around it. This vital for use in photography and video lighting.

Color Rendering Index Chart

Colour Rendering Index & LED Light Bulbs

LED bulbs have grown in popularity recently, mainly due to their energy-efficient qualities and bright light production. In terms of CRI for LED, most LED lights produce a score of about 80 to 90 on the chart. The result is a brighter room, but with a much more natural, accurate output of light. Unlike fluorescent lighting which can still create a natural look, LEDs superior when it comes to creating that look. Aside from the colour rendering index, the number of lumens output, or actual light produced, plays a role in the overall effectiveness of an LED bulb too.

CRI for Lighting 

When it comes to choosing the right light bulbs for lighting, CRI for lighting plays a role. You want colours to be crisp and everything to look sharp, remember you can always scale things down in Edit or post production but you cannot scale up. 

The CRI scale became more popular when LED lighting began to become prevalent in the video lighting and photo lighting community and is not a main factory when purchasing a LED light.  Many modern light bulb manufacturers will post a "lighting facts" portion on the packaging to inform consumers of the bulb's properties. These facts should indicate the colour rendering index scale, number of lumens, watts and efficiency metrics. Choose lighting that has a higher CRI like our 600 or 1200 day light panels rating so you can be sure you're getting the most accurate color portrayal in your studio or video shoot.

The Bottom Line with CRI

The higher the CRI the better light it will produce, if you need any guidance then please get in touch with our photography & video support team who will assist you in everyway they can. 

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