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Jérôme Keller

top ten gels

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Hi, I'm fairly new to film lighting and was wondering what the more experienced of you consider to be their top ten as far as gels are concerned. In other words, what kind of gels would you take to lighting heaven (and there is such a place, I BELIEVE!) if you could not take more than 10? Feel free to elaborate why you are using them as often as you do and for what kind of set-ups. Any help through gel jungle is highly appreciated.

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There are basic gels that every light kit should have (color correction and diffusion), which can be broken down by density. After that the gel package gets more specific to whatever you're shooting.

 

Color correction would include various densities of CTB, CTO, Plus-green and Minus-green. Basic diffusion typically includes Opal Frost, 250, 251, and 216. There are plenty of others that have become more popular in recent years, especially different densities of gridcloth.

 

ND gels come in handy, but are more often used on windows instead of on lights.

 

So then you're down to whatever specific colors you need for your shoot. For example whatever color pack you prefer to emulate sodium vapor streetlights; Straw for sunlight, or "party" colors for effects or nightclub interiors, etc.

 

There's no end to the colors one could use, but basic daylight/tungtsen color correction is essential, diffusion is essential, and fluorscent green/magenta correction is right up there but dispensable in a pinch. So it's not really a matter of what ones you prefer, it's more a matter of which ones you need!

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I've been making up small rectangular boxes out of plasticore that house pre-cut gels, at appropriate sizes, for all my lamps. It's fast and easy when you're on set. In each box I carry Full CTB, 1/2 CTB, 1/4 CTB, Full CTO, 1/2 CTO, 1/4 CTO, ND 9, ND 6, ND 3, 216, 250 and Opal. I also carry a small assortment of pre-cut Full minus green and Hampshire Frost.

 

All the various boxes fit into a milkcrate. Will post some pictures once I'm done.

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Well only ten is tough. Besides the standards CTB, CTO, and +/1 Green, I use Roscosun and CalColors. I'm a Rosco guy so here's my list:

 

Opal (light diffusion with a bit of sharpness)

216 (it's a standard but wonderful)

Tough Rolux (great for combining multiple sources into one)

Chocolate (for more stylized look)

Gaslight Green (for more stylized look)

Cosmetic Peach & Cosmetic Burgundy (use it for some skin tones)

Cyan 60 (for more stylized night)

Blue Green (same reason as cyan 60)

Bastard Amber (sunlight)

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I'm a Rosco guy so here's my list:...

 

I too am a Rosco guy :)

 

My list is pretty much the same as Barry's, but I'd also like to throw in some of the Storaro collection. Really deeply rich gels that I like to use in bar scenes or for anything that requires really strong and unrealistic colored lighting.

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Of course I'd take correction gels but could cut the list down by doubling some densities. Hopefully this would allow me to take my favorite standby gel CID to tungsten #237. I do not use it as a correction gel but more for effect. It's a great modern street light look in backlights. Hard to describe in words and looks scary on the swatch but try it in context - I've hooked up many of my customers with this one.

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Of course I'd take correction gels but could cut the list down by doubling some densities. Hopefully this would allow me to take my favorite standby gel CID to tungsten #237. I do not use it as a correction gel but more for effect. It's a great modern street light look in backlights. Hard to describe in words and looks scary on the swatch but try it in context - I've hooked up many of my customers with this one.

 

I totally know what you mean. I was gaffing a gig and trying to match a street lamp sodium vapour with an HMI Par and trying all these combinations of CTO and whatnot and the DP just happened to have a scrap of the CID and I tried it and it was perfect. I think I might have thrown in a little bit of 1/4 or 1/2 Plus green as well and it was a perfect match.

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Aside from the standard color correction and diffusion gels, I seem to always have a gel cocktail of Golden Amber and Deep Amber on hand. I use that combination for anything from mercury vapor to stylized sunset stuff. I've also used it as a completely unjustified soft backlight for African Amercian skin tones.

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Interesting topic for me as I've been a bit of a camera tech nerd up until now and would like to learn more lighting.

 

If you dont mind can I throw in an extra twist:

 

If one were to be doing a B+W shoot what top ten gels would be in your kit ?

 

I am planning a shoot in 16mm B+W stock soon - It will be mostly low key indoors, think Tarkovsky's 'Stalker' (well... at least I can try!) - if you were shooting color with a mind to desaturate to B+W in transfer would you think differently in lighting than for shooting the real deal ? (Plus-X for instance)

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I'm thinking that lighting heaven would have every gel ever made that just appears out of nowhere (probably in big racks like that scene from the Matrix), and all the time in the world to tweak the lighting setup :)

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nobody mentioned cts yet? [EDIT: ok, one] i almost always prefer it over cto. i've lit two entire features for two different dp's with white diffusion (216?) as my only diffusion so the others can't be *that* necessary, if you can only get a few. as for theater/party gels i carry a small bag with every little piece i've ever found on the floor on the set/theater/party. they are very useful but there's no need to carry rolls or even sheets.

 

/matt

Edited by Matt Sandstrom

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Of course I'd take correction gels but could cut the list down by doubling some densities. Hopefully this would allow me to take my favorite standby gel CID to tungsten #237. I do not use it as a correction gel but more for effect. It's a great modern street light look in backlights. Hard to describe in words and looks scary on the swatch but try it in context - I've hooked up many of my customers with this one.

 

What is CID? Anyone?

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Here are the gel boxes that I built (mentioned above) for each on of my lamps. They're built out of plasticore and cut to the respective lamp size.

 

gel01.jpg

 

gel02.jpg

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Here are the gel boxes that I built (mentioned above) for each on of my lamps. They're built out of plasticore and cut to the respective lamp size.

 

gel02.jpg

 

nicely done. can you come help me organize my record collection? = )

 

-isaac

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What is CID? Anyone?

 

CID means a Cool White or Daylight fluorescent lamp.

 

The LEE #237 CID to Tungsten gel is the same as Rosco's #3310 Fluorofilter, they look like CTO's with a hint of minus green to cancel out the green spike.

Edited by Jonathan Bowerbank

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CID means a Cool White or Daylight fluorescent lamp.

 

The LEE #237 CID to Tungsten gel is the same as Rosco's #3310 Fluorofilter, they look like CTO's with a hint of minus green to cancel out the green spike.

 

Cool white is not daylight (4300 vs. 5600), and CID gel won't balance either of them to tungsten. Lee 237 is about the same density as double CTO, with more a little more magenta as you noted. This is also why it helped match an HMI par to sodium vapor; it takes at least full CTO (sometimes more) to bring an HMI to tungsten, and about another 3/4 density to bring tungsten down to sodium's color temp. The extra magenta helps match the pink spike in sodium.

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