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Why are over the picture lights a less than ideal source of art lighting?

Picture lights rely on halogen and incandescent lamps that produce infrared light. This results in very high temperatures that will dry out oils and crack canvases over time. Museums that still use incandescent picture frame lighting must install special motion sensors to turn the lights on when visitors enter the room and switch them off again when they leave.This is too much hassle for the private collector, and it is also more expensive.

Can the actual intensity of light cause paintings to degrade?

Yes it can. The term “Lumens per annum” refers to the cumulative intensity of museum art lighting over long periods of exposure that can have deleterious effects on colors and canvases. Setting precise levels of illumination intensity for recessed picture lights helps safeguard the preservation of pictures, paintings, and rare documents framed in museums. This is difficult to do with picture lighting equipment that offers only two or three settings and little, if any, room for custom adjustment to the piece.

What is the best alternative, then, to standard over the picture lighting?

Both private collectors and gallery curators almost unanimously agree that the vest best and safest sources of picture lighting are commercial grade art projectors. Art projector lights offer the advantages of ultraviolet and infrared filtering and do not mount to the frame. This is crucial to museum aesthetic, where classics look much better when there is nothing over the painting to distract the viewer’s eye. However, typical art projectors can be very bulky, hard to adjust, and cause severe damage to ceilings even when installed by professionals. It is also very hard to adjust lighting levels in some projectors, making it difficult to match lighting intensity precisely to color and form. Some projectors also produce a beam that is visible to people standing to the side of the room. This does not look good in a refined setting and therefore offers serious drawbacks that disqualify such a device as an ideal source of picture lighting.

Does the Phantom Contour Projector Truly Resolve All of These Issues?

As artwork lighting experts, Phantom Lighting took projector technology to a whole new level by introducing the Phantom Contour Projector. Our foremost concern in this new design was developing the highest level of protection for priceless works of art. While most art projectors provide some form of UV shielding, we have developed fixtures and precision optical design that negate its power altogether. We have accomplished this without diminishing the ability to fine tune the projector for optimal picture lighting angles and light intensity levels.

The name Phantom Contour itself refers to one of the most unique attributes of our art projectors—the ability to shape illumination to the exact dimensions of a picture. Phantom lenses offer the highest level of photometric performance currently possible as compared to other framing projectors. They can be fine tuned with such precision as to actually hide the beam of light itself regardless of viewing angles. This creates a “lighting from within” effect when the beam strikes the picture and frame. This light is further filtered through special glare shielding that prevents it from “spilling” over the wall around a painting and thus eliminates resulting shadows behind the frame.

To learn more about Phantom Contour Projectors visit our lighting blog or contact a lighting rep in your area.