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What is Color Temperature and Why is it Important?

How Mastering Color Temperature Can Drastically Change the Mood of your Shot

One of the most crucial aspects of visual storytelling is setting the mood and tone of your scene by utilizing color. Whether you’re trying to capture a warm, cozy living room, or perhaps your shot takes place outside during overcast, having the correct color temperature in your lighting can make or break your visuals.

Before you delve into how to use color temperature effectively, you need to understand what it is.

Color temperature refers to the relative warmth or coolness of your light source. It’s measured in Kelvin’s (K), with lower numbers indicating a warmer, more orangey light, and higher numbers indicating cooler, bluer light.

Color temperature can drastically change the mood of your shot. When you shoot with a low color temperature, you create a warm and cozy visual. A higher color temperature is more likely to look cool and distant. Utilizing color temperature can help achieve specific desired effects depending on the scene.

Two similar scenes from the music video “Things We Don’t Say” that utilize different color temperatures

Hobolite Ambassador Chris Haggerty demonstrated this during his recent shooting of the music video for the song “Things We Don’t Say” by Casey Edgar, produced by Stormlight pictures.

Shown above is the same actress portrayed in two different environments. In the first photo, we see her inside her home. The light is warm and emulates late afternoon going into dusk. In the second shot, she is outside. The blue-toned light enhances the vision of the overcast skies behind her. Though both shots are similar in placement, the mood of the environment completely changes how the scene is portrayed.

Finding lighting equipment with a wide range of color temperatures is key to getting shots like Chris’. You’ll want to look for an LED light that can produce both warm and cool outputs at the same strength. A great bi-color LED option is the Hobolite Avant, with a color temperature ranging from 2700K-6500K.

To bring your shots to the next level, get to know your environment and set the mood for it. Utilizing color temperature can take an amateur shot to a cinematic visual story by simply changing your lighting settings.



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