Filmmaking is HARD. You have to come up with a viable story, and you’re also responsible for bringing that story to life. While performance and shot composition are important, what if I told you shifting your attention to another critical area would skyrocket your production value? That’s right. I’m talking about lighting (and Rosco Color Gels). I know you probably think lighting is daunting, right?
You don’t have time to think about lights, much less have the budget for good lights and a crew who can use them. I feel you; I was there for years of my film career. I leaned into natural light over learning what practicals, fresnels, and LEDs were. It wasn’t until I discovered how easy Rosco Color gels were to use that my films leveled up. I will share my secrets on how Rosco Color Gels can enhance your film lighting.
Why Film Lighting is So Important for Your Shots
With the rise of mood lighting, portability, and affordability of LED lighting, color gels are a game changer in today’s landscape of endless content. Used by a wide range of creatives, including theatrical lighting designers, gaffers, and film students, Rosco Color gels are essential for enhancing lighting on your projects. As a Rosco Ambassador, I’ve been incredibly fortunate to work with various Rosco lights, including the SL-1, Mini Mix, DASH, and Mixbook. While the lights are remarkable, you can use the comprehensive catalog of Rosco gels with your existing lights.
How Does a Color Gel Work?
Color gels are used in live theater and event production to correct color light, diffusion light, or create color effects. They’re popular with videographers, photographers, and cinematographers for their colored results when filming videos that need unique moods like reds or blues. I’ve used gel lighting during film shoots, music videos, and live streaming on Twitch to create mood lighting.
Gel sheets are made from very thin polyester material, and you can find them in either standard or glass forms. Gel sheets are designed to withstand high temperatures but should not be placed directly against light sources as they may melt or burn. Gel frames are essential for using gel sheets. You can use light clamps to attach Rosco Color Gels with many modern LED lights.
Types of Rosco Gels
Rosco offers a variety of specialized color gels, including Roscolux, Supergel, e-colour+ GAMColor, PERMACOLOR, and Cinegels. Roscolux is the entertainment lighting industry’s go-to range of color and diffusion filters. Supergels offer high-quality, body-colored options made of polycarbonate and are engineered to block 100% UV rays while still letting through all mesmerizing colors. e-colour+ is a comprehensive system of surface-coated color filters in the world that currently features European numbers.
With GAMColor, you have a variety of color filters and diffusions exclusively created by GAM, a division of Rosco. PERMACOLOR offers durable dichroic glass filters that come in a range of standard colors or custom-designed hues. Finally, Cinegels, the industry standard for color correction and control, winner of two Academy Awards®, allows creatives to color their worlds by compensating for different lights.
Examples of Rosco Color Gels in Action
To work best with different needs, Rosco offers gels in Cinefoil, gel rolls, gelatin sheets, and gelatin sheet kits. Cinefoil is excellent for diffusing lights & windows quickly. If you know you’ll be using a ton of one color, you can get the gel rolls. For smaller projects, I’d recommend getting gelatin sheets or even the variety packs to play around with different lights and colors.
On a recent low-budget film project, we were in an older house and couldn’t bring expensive equipment to black out the windows. As we were shooting day for night, Rosco’s Cinefoil was essential for eliminating light on each window. Pressed for time, it took a team of 4 of us 20 minutes and two rolls of Rosco’s Cinefoil to black out four large windows and make our film shoot.
We love achieving a nice blend of blue & pink lighting, as popular now with shows like Euphoria. In our film, BandAid, we quickly achieved this look by combining E049 Medium Purple, R368 Winkler Blue, and R44 Middle Rose Rosco Color Gels. We placed three LED lights around the location, added some fog for the atmosphere, and lit the bathroom and bedroom setups with three lights. Filmed on the A7sii, we achieved the hazy, whimsical feeling of a drunken late night in your feelings. Here it is in action!
As Twitch streamers, lighting improves our camera quality tenfold. Having bright pinks and purples help us pop on screen, drawing more audiences into our channel, CA in LA. We currently use the E049 Medium Purple, E126 Mauve, and E328 Follies Pink to achieve the blend we desire amongst three lights, including two face camera angles & and a two-shot camera angle.
Where you get buy Rosco Color Gels
Enough from me; you want to try these gels out for yourself! You can try out diffusing your windows with Rosco’s Cinefoil here. Amazon even has free shipping, so make sure you take advantage of that! For a variety gel pack, I’d recommend the Rosco Lighting Photo Pack. B&H even offers you the ability to save on tax through their Payboo card, another strong recommendation for filmmakers who are constantly purchasing gear.
If I could go back in time and tell myself one thing, it would be to focus more on lighting. Concentrating on crucial details makes all the difference in your film without access to huge budgets and crews. Thanks to my Rosco Color gels, I’ve created so many different looks and changes in lighting on the fly. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned professional, Rosco Color Gels are the perfect solution to enhance your film lighting.