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Brady Hall

Rosco Colored Gels

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Hello out there.


I was curious on what gels you guys use to simulate candle light? From both Subtle to a deeper warm color.


As well as Moonlight? From both the deeper to just a subtle cool color.


And what colored gels would go great together to simulate moon and candle light?


Thanks for the responses,

Brady Hall

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Hi Brady,


You're asking for a recipe here, which is fine, but my first answer is that it would be even better if you forged your own opinion by getting the Rosco and Lee color swatches (they're free at your local rental house) and then choosing the colors you like.

They have gels for these specific purposes, like Red and Orange gels for fire, and Bermuda Blue for moonlight, but I never use those.


To answer your question -and I will probably disappoint you because my recipe is so simple- I mainly use CTO and CTB gels, since 1/they're already in the truck, and 2/, CTO just lowers the color temperature and that's exactly what you want for a realistic candle effect (which you seem to be looking after). However, I like to add some straw (yellow) to fire/candlelight situations, to avoid going too orange, and because I like a slightly yellowish tint. Using multiple sources with slightly different combinations of diffusion and color will help simulating a fire.


As for moonlight, well, it depends on the source behind the gel (is it tungsten or daylight), but I do it with CTB. I shot films that called for some very bold, unrealistic, blue moonlight effects, but for a more realistic result the main trick is to tone it down (in camera or in post), because in my view, realistic moonlight is more about lowering the saturation than finding the right tint.

In a night exterior moonlight situation, I was shooting digital and I choose not to filter the HMIs to keep maximum output. Then I added some blue and had saturation lowred in post.


If you have candlelight and moonlight within the same shot, I would suggest not to push the blue cast of the moonlight too far, while you can at the same time go with a strong warm tint for the candle light. Depending on the camera you will be shooting on, be careful with the saturation, especially with the Canon DSLRs who looove red and are likely to clip the red channel, resulting in an uncorrectable image.


Best of luck for your shoot,



Edited by Guillaume Cottin

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Brady, my recipe:

for candle light, use CTO's on a ficker/dimmer

moonlight/nighttime, CTB's.....party gels would best, really give good orange and blue color

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