View Full Version : What do you call these types of gels?
January 26th, 2008, 11:42 AM
I've heard the term "cosmetic gels" applied to mean 1) any colored gel that is not specifically designed to color correct towards 3200k or 5600k (in other words, any colored gel that is not CTO or CTB). 2) a specific rose color of gels designed to make people look nicer on camera. I like definition #1 because to me it makes sense; any colored gel being used that doesn't color correct, is really being used for "cosmetic" or asthetic purposes, wether with a human subject or something else. However, I don't want to start using the term to describe non-color correcting gels if this is widely considered incorrect. I volunteer teach periodically, and this question sometime comes up ("what do you call non-color correcting gels?"). I've heard the term "party colors" used, but that to me implies strong colored gels and not all the different intensity and color that are non-color correcting gels. Opinions?
January 26th, 2008, 01:41 PM
"what do you call non-color correcting gels?"
Color enhancing gels
January 26th, 2008, 01:43 PM
I hear and use the term "party gels" more than cosmetic. That applies to the bright party colors. Anything else is called by name, "CTB", "ND", "Frost" "Bastard amber" etc.etc.
January 26th, 2008, 02:20 PM
Thanks guys. "Color Enhancing" seems a good term.
January 26th, 2008, 02:27 PM
Lee has some colors with the word "costmetic" in the name, 184-191:
These are also sold in one of their packs:
Based on Lee's use of the word "cosmetic," it means a filter (gel) with slight diffusive characteristics and also of a color that enhances skin tone:
As this is what facial cosmetics also do, this seems to be a good general way to use the term "cosmetic."
A check in the dictionary shows the the first definition of "cosmetic" has to do with enhancing the look of the face. For teaching purposes, this seems to be a good used of the term in referencing filters (gels):
"Party gels," as pointed out already, would refer to filters that are "party colors."
Any filter is color "correcting." However, it seems the use of a "color correcting filter" suggests that the color is wrong to begin with. Thus, a color correcting filter is one that brings a light in line with some kind of standard. Typically, this would involve color temperature. For example most of the light has one color temperature and you want to change the color temperature or correct the color of another light to match.
If you are teaching about filters, it might be worth getting a copy of the Lee catalog. There are detailed charts and explanations of every aspect of the subject. (Rosco may also have a similar catalog, but I only have the Lee catalog.)
January 26th, 2008, 05:38 PM
Any filter is color "correcting."
Not quite sure what you mean by this, I think you might be confusing mired shift values with "correction". Its always been my understanding that "correction" filters, whether they be for film or video, on camera or on lights or windows, are filters designed to correct/compensate for either 3200k or 5600k light sources. Seems out of place to say "any filter" corrects, as even Lee lists their CTO and CTB as "color correcting filters". If any filter is color correcting, what is the value or point in using the term at all?
Typically, this would involve color temperature.
What else would it involve? I've never in all my years in the industry heard of a ND, Frost, or Diffusion filter described as a "correction" filter...
What we are trying to get complete novices to understand is that when they need to correct a light source to either 3200k, or 5600k, simply reaching for an orange or blue colored filter does not mean the filter would correctly adjust the color temperature. The term "correct" a light source is widely used, at least in my neck of the woods. I like the division of "color correction filter" and "color enhancing filter". I think that is the best & correct way to explain it.
January 26th, 2008, 06:12 PM
Call filters that shift the color temperature "corrective" and all the rest "enhancement".
January 26th, 2008, 08:26 PM
Sorry for the confusion in my post. According to Lee, these are their "Color Correction" filters:
They include correction, conversion, density, polarizing, absorption, etc. filters.
Thus my odd choice of word.
To get more technical, a filter that changes a light source from one to another type, e.g. 5600 to 3200, is called a conversion filter.
A filter that brings a light into line with other lights is a correction filter. This could include other things besides color temperature. See the Lee link above.
Color Correction also can refer to many things outside of filters, so it's best not to tie the term exclusively to "white balance" or color temperature. Thus the fancy color correctors in NLEs.
To my mind the word "enhancement" is more or less meaningless unless it is linked to another word, e.g. contrast enhancement filter.
I still think the best way is to choose a system, such as Lee, and go by their terms. In practice, all kinds of terms are not used technically correctly.
January 26th, 2008, 08:39 PM
Back in my 16mm days when we'd light with theatrical gels, ie., colored ones, we always called that whorehouse lighting. Then about 20 years ago the term seemed to evolve into rock-n-roll lighting, and people around here use rock-n-roll lighting, rock-n-roll gels. The others are usually called by name, ie., CTB full, half, quarter, CTO, etc. And most people seem to use Lee for diffusion and usually call it by number, like 251, etc. Except when it comes to light diffusion gel which everybody calls opal even if it isn't.
January 26th, 2008, 10:33 PM
I took cosmetic to mean a light color, presumably warm. saturated non-correction colors where "theatricals". its funny if you work east coast / west coast to hear some items called different things and you have to figure out the local dialect of lighting gear.
then there is scrim and gobo which mean different things between film, video and theater.
January 27th, 2008, 12:58 PM
I would never think of a red or green party gel if you said "cosmetic".
Cosmetic for me is the Lee series cosmetic rouge/peach/...
Paul R Johnson
January 27th, 2008, 01:27 PM
You've all got the wrong end of the 'cosmetic' stick here - as a theatrical lighting designer we use these (and Lee is my favourite) for certain, specialised uses - but you've all not 'spotted' what it is.
If you look carefully at the cosmetic colours, they are all diffused - like a mild frost with colour. A key light for tv, or a profile (uk theatre) or ellipsoidal (US theater) has the unpleasant property of creating shadows. We all know we use a key, then fill in with softlight to reduce the harsh shadow. If the artiste or subject has acne, pock-marks, or a single nasty big zit covered in makeup, then the key makes it stand out because of the shadow produced by the bumps and cavities - the cosmetic peach/pink colour is much softer and produces less visible pimple effect!
point source, bright key light is very unflattering - a bit of diffuse light colour can work wonders!
The actual colour depends on what you want - it's the cosmetic enhancement that's the important bit.
January 27th, 2008, 01:47 PM
but you've all not 'spotted' what it is. I guess everyone who has seen a gel of the cosmetic series has noticed the slight diffusion. I usually add a layer of WD because the cosmetic diffusion isn't much (like a 1/8 WD I think)