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use of gobo with lights

howard b. schwartz, m.d. , Jul 25, 2002; 09:33 p.m.

i would like to try to use gobos (?spelling?) with my lighting. what equipement do i need? i have two soft boxes and two intense spot lights. where is this equipement available? thanks.


Ellis Vener , Jul 25, 2002; 10:33 p.m.

A gobo is simply anything that goes between the light and the subject that shapes the light, usually by blocking part or all of the light path. Commercially the best source is probably those from MSE www.matthewsgrip.com They have a really fine catalog where you might just get some ideas as to how to make your own.

Scott Walton , Jul 26, 2002; 09:34 a.m.

As Ellis says, they could be anything that changes light. It could be foamcore, mount board (make sure it is a neutral color like white grey or black, each has a different effect) or the formal scrims and gobos that you can buy. The Calumet catalogue is another place.

DK Thompson , Jul 26, 2002; 11:49 a.m.

we always just use fire retardent spun or make dots and fingers out things like rosco cinefoil or metal screens. What you absolutely need though is plenty of stands and grip accesories like superclamps, articulated arms, pony clamps etc. I recommend just using whatever you can scrape together & your imagination personally...I learned alot of this assisting in big fuirniture studios that used hotlights & lit everything like a motion picture set....every light would be sculpted down with an array of little fingers made out of just tinfoil or cardboard...they used all mole-richardson light etc., but the actual gobos were just cobbled together out of whatever was on hand...as long as it doesn't burn up, you oughta be alright....find a book on motion picture lighting or something like Ross Lowell's "Matters of Light & Depth" for more info....fwiw, don't make the mistake of judging the effect from the lightsource...all that matters is how it looks from the camera position--specifically right at the lens....this is where alot of patience or a second helper comes in handy....good luck.

Ken Burns , Jul 26, 2002; 05:01 p.m.

I've worked in commercial furniture photography for decades. We are always using gobos, flags, scrims, screens, etc to control lighting for the pieces. I would recommend that you not spend a lot of money on expensive ready-made gobo equipment. Since the gobos will probably need to be customized for each use, you will be much better off using light-weight card stock, styrofoam board, mat boards, background paper, and anything else you can think of. Use clothes pins, gaffer's tape, small clamps, dowel rods, PIC stands, etc to improvise what you need. The ability to customize is extremely important!!!

Tom Meyer , Jul 26, 2002; 11:54 p.m.

Remember, after placing the gobos (or is that gobi?), look in the front of the lens from the subject's position for any reflection of the lights showing in the front element... t

Ellis Vener , Jul 27, 2002; 10:55 a.m.

Tom, they are only called gobi if you are photographing just desserts.

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