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Old October 25th, 2007, 12:06 PM   #1
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What gels to buy for a kit?

I need to buy some lighting accessories but I really have no idea what to buy.
I think I should buy gaffer tape but what size is the appropriate size? What's a good all-purpose type of gaffer tape? Is the Permecel any different than the General Brand that B&H sell? Is black the most common colour people buy, or white?

What I'm mostly confused about is what gels to buy. I think I prefer the idea of clipping gel sheets to the barn doors of my ArriLite 1K and my Arri Jr 650. But I still don't know what size gel that would be really.

I was looking at these:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ter_Tough.html
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc..._RoscoSun.html

Which are both 20x24. Is this an appropriate size? It says "filter" though, does that mean it's intended for those filter holders that they recommend?

Also, what are the most popular gels in a gel kit? I'm not too concerned with effect filters, just diffusion & color correction. Is Rosco a decent brand to get, am I looking at the right items?


Thanks guys.
I really don't know much about these matters.
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Old October 26th, 2007, 12:12 AM   #2
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Hi Craig,

Generally...

Gaffer's tape is one of the great joys of this business. Yeah, the good stuff is kinda expensive. But it's so versitile and useful that most of us never begrudge the cost. Over time you'll find that there are subtle differences in brands. Also differences between a new roll and an aged old roll. And between a roll that's been left in a hot sun for a month. Quality fresh Gaff is moderately easy to peel from the roll, and balances it's stickiness with removability. It will hold tight for a while, but with patience, it can always be carefully removed without damaging the surfact it was used on.

As to color it depends totally on what you're trying to do. Black is useful, not only for taping stuff together, but because you can stick a strip on anything and kill a light reflection.

White is great because you can write on it. And it's cool for dressing a lav on a white shirt, etc.

Grey is also a standby because it's a neutral color and doesn't stand out. When I have to tape electrical across doorways, I typically reach for grey, because then I'm not using my black or white which, as noted above, can be used for more specific stuff.

This is entirely personal, YMMV.

As to gels, those are standard cut sheet sizes. It's expected that you'll cut what you actually need from those sheets. A sharp blade is your friend.

The most popular gels come in two specifics types and a broader category.

The specifics are color temperature correcting gels.

CTB takes tungsten instruments and shifts their color closer to daylight.
CTO takes daylight sources, and shifts them closer to tungsten.

Both are commonly used to correct mixed lighting issues on location.

Finally, the big other category is diffusion. There are lots of different kinds of difussion gels. Different light spreading capabilities, different opacities, and some aren't gels at all, but heat resistant materials like spun fiberglas that allows you to diffuse a hot light that will be on for a long period.

Most pros I know carry the gels required to do these basic tasks, (color shift and diffusion) for all the lights they commonly use.

Then typically, we carry a few "party gels" in brighter colors - to add a pretty glow on a background wall, etc.

Finally, yes, Rosco is one of the long standing quality names in gels.

Those are some of the fundamentals. You should contact the Rosco, or GAM, or similar web sites and have them send you a sample swatch. You'll find a few hundred gel variations, and if you read the discriptions (eg, Full stop MINUS green - used to counteract the green spike from some flourescent lamp types, etc) the gel swatches alone can be a very educational evening's reading!

Good luck.
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Old October 26th, 2007, 08:30 AM   #3
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Thank you very much for that informative response. I appreciate the time you put into that.

I'm going to go ahead and get a few Rosco filters I think. I was looking at their website and reading the descriptions there and I think I know what I need now. 24x20 seems like I would be able to clip them to the barn doors. So now I just need to figure out whether I'll need 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, etc.

I guess I'll also just get a few colors of gaffer tape and discover which ones I use the most. Since the tape will be sitting indoors, I'll probably be okay with B&H's General Brand.
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Old October 26th, 2007, 08:32 AM   #4
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Anyone ever used Lee filters? They seem to be what Vistek sells here locally. They don't have Rosco I don't think.

I think I've decided on these though... they seem to give me all the diffusion or color-correction that I would need.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ter_Tough.html
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ter_Tough.html
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ter_Tough.html
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ter_Tough.html
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...lter_Full.html
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ilter_1_2.html
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc..._RoscoSun.html

Any thoughts on the diffusion filters I chose? Good/bad?

Last edited by Craig Irving; October 26th, 2007 at 11:38 AM.
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Old October 26th, 2007, 04:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Irving View Post
Anyone ever used Lee filters? They seem to be what Vistek sells here locally. They don't have Rosco I don't think.
The three major gel manufacturers are Rosco, Lee and GAM. You will run into different manufactures especially if you are at all involved with theatre stage lighting. As far as film lighting I have usually encountered Rosco-brand gels. Lee would be equally as good, just get the right color.

The differences between the two are that they use different numbering schemes for their colors. You will see the first letter of the manufacturer placed in front of the gel number... L133 (Lee 133) or R102 (Rosco 102.)
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Old October 27th, 2007, 08:41 AM   #6
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The last diffusion one you linked, the 216 (3026) is a very popular one (anyone else care to chime in?). For now, while I'm still using all tungsten hard sources, that's my go-to for diffusing these bad boys.

As a bare minimum, I keep all grades of CTO and CTB plus some 216 in my kit. Whenever possible, I take more, though, including some color effect gels. Once, I had a shoot where the producer wanted the green shirt of this environmental activist to pop more, and a fake plant to be more green. Luckily, I happened to have a 1/8 plusgreen in my kit (don't remember why), and I was able to save the editor (who was going to be the colorist as well) some time.

Anyway, I'm rambling. Basically, you want to be uber prepared, but what you've selected is a good start.

~~Dave

PS I just discovered a new one. Cosmetic Highlight. It's a sweet pale color plus slight diffusion, all-in-one. The peach one helps give some really nice skintones. Everyone reading this should check 'em out if they haven't already.
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Old October 27th, 2007, 08:52 AM   #7
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When your bank account recovers (grin), you might consider buying a roll of ND to knock down windows and keep them from blowing out. You might have noticed on the site, but there is some CTO with ND built in so that you get both CC and intensity reduction with one gel.

So to the major color correction and diffusion categories, I would add ND as well. Especially if you're trying to tame that big HMI in the sky.

-gb-
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Old October 27th, 2007, 09:43 AM   #8
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Quote:
The last diffusion one you linked, the 216 (3026) is a very popular one (anyone else care to chime in?)
People are even using the term "216" as a name for full white diffusion. It's a very good gel, but it tends to be a little yellowish (not enough that I'd care, but I heard film gaffers complain). I recently discovered the Lee 400, which is the same grade of white diffusion as the 216 but seems to be a little "whiter". It's made of another base material that is a little harder - I guess it can take more abuse than the 216.

Quote:
When your bank account recovers (grin), you might consider buying a roll of ND to knock down windows and keep them from blowing out.
ND is also useful to "dim" your lights down without changing the color temperature. I always have some sheets of ND3, 6 and 9 with me.

Quote:
I just discovered a new one. Cosmetic Highlight. It's a sweet pale color plus slight diffusion, all-in-one.
I haven't tried that yet, but I always carry a piece of cosmetic rouge with me, even for the camera light. Before I knew this gel I always used 1/4 cto on my sun gun to better match the color of warm tungsten lighting, now I use the cosmetic rouge instead because it's perfect for warm skin tones. I think it's something like a 1/8-1/4 cto plus a little red plus light diffusion.
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Old October 27th, 2007, 10:13 AM   #9
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My basic kit would consist of the following:

1/4, 1/2, full CTO
1/4, 1/2, full CTB
251, 250, 216, light gridcloth
pack of assorted "party gels" (colors)
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Old October 29th, 2007, 11:29 AM   #10
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I really don't think I'm too fussy on the *kind* of diffusion. I'm skeptical that I would even notice a big difference at this point. I'll just get a few sheets of whatever is the most popular diffusion I think. So the 216 should do what I need it to do.

I'm really just hoping to soften the light a bit, because I'm not yet ready to buy a soft-box.

I guess now I need to decide whether to buy Rosco Cinegel or Rosco E-Colour. It's for digital video, not theater. Anyone have an opinion? The prices are equal, so I assume the quality is also.
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Old October 29th, 2007, 09:04 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Craig Irving View Post
I'm really just hoping to soften the light a bit, because I'm not yet ready to buy a soft-box.
Keep in mind that softening your source isn't only about clipping some diffusion to the barn doors. You might want to buy a gel holder. A 20"x24" one (to match the size of a single sheet) would give you some nice softening, more so than just some 216 on the barndoors.

Good luck.

~~Dave
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Old October 29th, 2007, 09:25 PM   #12
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Ah good tip. I didn't know there would be a difference.
I'll add a gel holder to my list of things to buy now then :)
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Old October 30th, 2007, 05:11 AM   #13
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Softening a source is also about making it larger. Having the diffusion the same size as the lens and right up close is not the same as having a big sheet of silk or whatever a couple of feet or more away from the light.
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Old November 1st, 2007, 04:36 PM   #14
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I really don't think I'm too fussy on the *kind* of diffusion. I'm skeptical that I would even notice a big difference at this point.
You are right when you are talking about different kinds of full WD/Frost. There's hardly a noticeable difference in the output. For example I just realized the Lee 400 I was talking about isn't even called "white diffusion" by Lee, it's called "frost". I don't really see that much of a difference though in how the light is softened by these two gels (maybe the 216 is a tad more diffuse)

You will however notice a big difference when you are using lighter diffusion gels like 1/2, 1/4 or 1/8 WD. For example a 1/8 WD gel will only soften the edges of a lightbeam, but the light will still be what I consider hard light (depending on the source, of course).
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Old November 3rd, 2007, 09:11 AM   #15
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Organizing Gels

While we're on the topic of gels and diffusion, in addition to collecting a set of gels, organization and storage becomes important when you have lots of them. I store my gels using the following two holding methods (as far as rolls go, those usually live in their original boxes).

Lindcraft Gel Packs: these have one pocket that holds gels (standard sheet size and smaller) and it rolls up and secures with Velcro straps keeping your gels in order and protecting them from handling. Easy to use by laying it out on a flat surface. I have three, one for the diffusion/ND series, one for CTB/CTO/tint series, and a third for theatricals (a.k.a. party) colors. Check it out on the Lindcraft site: http://www.lindcraft.com/product_details/G50.html

Expanding File Folders: For smaller pieces (it's handy to have small pieces ready to go for smaller lights) I keep them in three accordion multi-compartment file folders, one for the Diffusion/ND/CTB/CTO set, and another for tints and theatricals. I label the tabs with the gel type so when I ask an assistant, "put some opal on the 150 and 1/2 blue on the 300" they can quickly find the exact gel needed. It does take some discipline to sort everything back to the right section after the shoot, but if you do it as you go, it pays off in efficiency in the moment of lighting. No more hunting for the right piece. You can find these in any office supply store and I found some plastic ones that are pretty rugged. People who do theater usually use file boxes, but I don't have that many small gels and I like to be as portable as possible, all my gels and accessories and extension cords go into a single duffel bag.

Another important tip: write on two opposite corners with a sharpie the gel number. On the set when its dark and your in a hurry, you don't want to try to figure out which gel is which. Writing the Rosco or Lee number on the gel will speed things up while lighting and makes putting things back much easier.
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