Color Temperature

Color temperature is a characteristic of visible light that has important applications in photography, videography, publishing and other fields. The color temperature of a light source is determined by comparing its chromaticity with a theoretical, heated black-body radiator. The temperature (in Kelvin) at which the heated black-body radiator matches the color of the light source is that source's color temperature; for a black body source, it is directly related to Planck's law.

Color temperature is a standard method of describing colours for use in a range of situations and with different equipments. Color temperatures are normally expressed in units called kelvins (K). Note that the term degrees Kelvin is often used but is not technically correct (see below).
 
Color temperature means the temperature of an ideal black body radiator at which the color of the light source and the black body are identical. (A black body is a theoretical radiator and absorber of energy at all electromagnetic wavelengths.)


For video operations the relevant temperatures range from around 2,000K to 8,000K; these are common lighting conditions. In practical terms this usually means selecting lights, gels and filters which are most appropriate to the prevailing light or to create a particular color effect. For example, a camera operator will select a "5600K filter" to use outside in the middle of a sunny day.
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