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The Situ Difference
Art Lighting Experts
The Situ Difference
Art Lighting Experts
We Mean Quality Products.
When we sell a brass art light, we mean it. It’s made of actual brass. Not a brass “finish” or “gold” color. It’s made of brass. We only offer quality fixtures made by a small and enthusiastic team in Sarasota, FL, USA. You won’t see painted finishes from us and it’s the same reason we don’t use nebulous terms like “designer” or “museum” grade to describe our products.
If you’re not happy with the quality, fit, finish, or light output of any of our products send it back in 30 days for a full refund. It’s that simple.
The reason other picture lighting companies don’t discuss maximum height recommendations.
They assume you’ll be content with the status quo of lighting the top 30-40” of your artwork. They offer no other option. Our products are here because we know there’s a better way. Picture lighting used to consist of screwing a halogen or incandescent bulb into a fixture above your artwork and calling it a day. As LEDs made their way into the market, art lighting companies simply adapted their old fixtures to house LEDs. The result? A continuation of a bulky, legacy design that in many applications, doesn’t work well.
At Situ, when we design a fixture, we start from the inside out. Fixtures designed in parallel with modern optical designs that let us shape and control light for further reach vertically and better control laterally. We understand that art lighting can involve compromises and have worked to engineer systems that minimize them and put you in control.
Recommended artwork sizes vs lumens.
Many companies advertise the lumens, or candela, of their products but art lighting is about proper distribution of light not just the brightness. Lumens are strictly a measure of total light output (every direction) and not a relevant metric for art lighting. Making an intense art light is neither difficult nor should it be the objective.
We use recommended artwork sizes instead of lumens, and here’s why: lumens are a measure of total light output and do not factor in more important items like coverage and distribution of light. A quick analogy is a flashlight held near a wall. At 1’ away from the wall, it shines a very tight, concentrated spotlight. Move it 10’ away from the wall, and you have a much larger, softer spread of light. The lumens would be the same, but the characteristics of the light output vary significantly. We use many specialized optical systems (including both primary and secondary optics) to help us capture, concentrate, and redistribute light that is otherwise wasted in a system of basic design.
It’s much less about how much light can be created and more about how the light is applied to the artwork. Our principal concern remains providing proper coverage and intensity on artwork of various sizes. The graphic below demonstrates Inverse Square Law, or light fall-off to the square. This illustrates the cone of light emitted by a fixture and how that light will diffuse over distance. This law is taken into consideration when providing our artwork size recommendations.
Content Based Lighting Considerations.
Exactly how much light do you want?
Generally speaking paintings that depict uniform lighting require more uniform illumination. Many abstract and modern pieces fall into this category, but many others may not. Portraits, sunsets, and somber works of art are often better served with accenting light which highlights a portion of the work. If a painting subject is subtle, sensitive, or somberly evocative, consider highlighting the central theme. A work which is bright, cheerful and uniformly bursting with light generally needs brighter more uniform light.
Quality of Light
Color Rendition Index (CRI).
The Color Rendition Index is a numerical measure of a light’s ability to display all colors as they would under natural sunlight (a maximum of 100).
Lower CRI (below 90) lighting provides muted or dull representation of color, most apparent in the orange and red wavelengths of visible light.
Put another way, CRI is a measure of a light’s ability to display colors accurately and vividly. A high CRI value (90+) will provide for vibrant, and crisp colors across the full visible spectrum. Your artwork deserves to be on display. All of our lights feature 93 – 95+ CRI values.
A quick note on claims of high CRI values on picture lights with tunable color.
Some art lighting manufacturers will make a 90+ CRI value claim on a product that also allows the user to select the color temperature. We would recommend asking the manufacturer at what color temperature you can expect the claimed CRI value and whether that CRI value will be consistent across the full beam of the art light. Often companies making these claims can do so on a technicality by cherry picking results across the color range and beam. We’ll let you talk to them about that!
All of our picture lights use 3,000k (CCT) LEDs with 93-95+ CRI values and are selected from the tightest LED bins available.
Legacy systems used 2,500 – 2,700k (CCT) temperatures to produce light with high color accuracy (CRI). The result is a very yellow or amber light unsuitable to many styles of artwork.
A correlated color temperature (CCT) of 3,000k is a more neutral light that when done properly (93-95+ CRI) provides crisp lighting perfect for artwork of various styles and color tones. LEDs are sometimes given a bad reputation for being too cool (blue) or too warm (yellow). We work closely with our suppliers to source LEDs fit to light your artwork.
Why Use LEDs for Art and Picture Lighting?
LEDs are better for your artwork.
Our LED picture lighting systems are UV safe, infrared safe, and transmit virtually no heat to your artwork.
Heat, UV and infrared light are often byproducts of legacy incandescent and halogen art lights. These three factors all greatly accelerate the decomposition of pigments (fading, cracking, and color shifts) and will even stain and age artwork substrates.
Energy efficient: Our LED art lights use a fraction of the energy required of incandescent and halogen picture lights.
Small form factor: LEDs are the heart of our designs and products. Our optical and physical designs wouldn’t be possible without the small size and controllability of LEDs.
Longer lasting than incandescent or halogen lights: All of our LEDs are rated for 50,000 hours of use. That’s 27+ years of use at 5 hours a day.
Pictured above is a painting with pigments beginning to break down and fade from exposure to heat and UV light
Wireless (Battery Powered) Art Lighting.
Remote controls and cordless art lighting: a bad design.
For those situations where there is no electrical outlet, we provide three great options. They’re incredibly easy to install, use, and recharge when needed. These products are made for small to medium works and require the users to be able to touch the light, both to operate and to easily remove the light for recharging when needed. These products turn themselves off after 5 hours (in case you forget) but are not remote controlled for a very good reason: parasitic battery drain.
If the top of your artwork is out of reach, consider using the Rechargeable Touch Series as an uplight by mounting it to the bottom instead of the top. This often makes the difference between the light being out of reach and not. A very common solution to artwork mounted above fireplace mantles.
There are competitor products on the market but as we have our short comings (mentioned above) they have others. Chiefly, they are not rechargeable and most require that your painting be removed from the wall every time the batteries (4-8 C or D cell batteries) need to be replaced. So generally, if you run the product for 40 hours, it is time to take the painting down and replace the batteries. These products do offer remote controls and while all of our plug-in powered lights offer this feature our battery powered products do not. Here’s why:
A remote control system consists of two components. 1) A remote control that sends a signal and 2) a receiver, in this case, the art light. The receiver (the art light) must be powered 24/7 to look for the incoming signal from the remote control. The net effect of this is the art light is never truly “off” and instead constantly consuming the batteries. We colloquially refer to this as parasitic drain.
This, combined with the need to access the light for recharging, make remote controls a poor match for battery-powered art lighting. Other companies offer remote controls with their art lights and don’t disclose this, but customers often figure this out. See their reviews…
Removing glare from artwork behind glass can be a challenge with any art light. If you’re having trouble with glare on glass-covered artwork see below:
1) Install the light as high as possible relative to your artwork. It’s a matter of angles: your viewing height, the height of the artwork, and the height of the light. Moving the light higher or changing the height of your painting will allow you to“move” where the glare shows up. By changing the relative angles, the glare can be moved on to the frame (less reflective than glass) or wall. To understand, try this: Take a few steps towards and away from your artwork while looking at the glare. This will give you a sense of how it changes relative to viewing angles and height. You will, unfortunately, experience this with all artwork mounted lights.
2) Use the light as an uplight. All of our products with the exception of the Rechargeable Micro Series (due to how it’s mounted) can be used as uplights. Installation is identical except the fixture is attached to the bottom of the artwork. By changing the location of the light and consequently, the direction the light is emitted, we’re often able to eliminate glare.
3) Remove the glass. There are low glare glasses made (Museum Glass, etc.) that help cut down on reflection but that’s mainly for ambient lighting glare (reflections of people, furnishings, etc. from ambient light). It’s a matter of shining light directly at a reflective surface. No matter what, some of that light will reflect.
At the end of the day, it’s often a matter of compromise: have your artwork illuminated and experience a small amount of glare at the top or do not illuminate it at all.
Don’t be confused by “anti-glare louvers” offered by some companies. This term does not refer to glare in the artwork or glass but instead, a person’s ability to directly see the light as it’s emitted from the fixture. A properly designed picture light should have this taken into account without it being termed a feature. A confusing use of terminology nevertheless.