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Using Colored Gels
Old 02-03-2003, 03:04 AM   #1 (permalink)
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I am trying to do a shoot with colored gels. I ended up buying a pack from AlienBees. I want some recomendations on using these gels on models. Right now I have a AB800 with 48" white/silver umbrella. Would I use the gel on the strobe and bounce off the umbrella? I tried it but it made the whole scenery whatever color the gel is. Ive seen some examples on the web where they use colored gel but it doesnt change the color of everything in the picture. Any ideas or suggestions on the use of colored gels? Thanks.
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Re: Using Colored Gels
Old 02-03-2003, 03:21 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Basically, If you only have one light and you put a blue gel in front of it, everything is going to turn blue. If you want only part of the inmage to turn blue, you need two heads or flashes.

I think I remember a Dean Collins video back in the '80s where he only used one head but he had about a bazillion reflectors and lite panels set up. I believe he was sponsored by the reflector company.

What he did was put a diffusion panel in front and above the model. The flash head was up high. The flash went through the panel and lit the model. Above the diff. panel was a sheet of foamcore with a hole cut in it. Taped over the hole was the gel. The flash head was feathered (aimed delicately) to hit both the diffusion panel and the gel, which cast blue light on the background. The background was far back. Thanks to distance and more opaque reflectors (known as gobos or "go betweens") between the background and the diffusion panel, no light hit the background except what was gelled leaving it a nice shade of blue.
But I get the impression you are not sponsored by a reflector company.
Good luck,
Bruce
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Re: Using Colored Gels
Old 02-03-2003, 03:26 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Bruce,

Thanks for the reply. Definately not sponsored by anything [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] I wish I was. Well what if I used my SB80DX as well. Anyway I can control the colored gel hitting mainly the model only? I'm thinking using a umbrella might be a bad idea as there will be too much spill? Sorry, but I'm new to this. Trying to learn [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]
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Re: Using Colored Gels
Old 02-03-2003, 07:23 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Umbrellas are definitely hard to control as far as spill. Their function is to broaden and thus soften the light. Softbxes are more focused. I'm unclear on the one point: do you only have one flash head?
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Re: Using Colored Gels
Old 02-03-2003, 11:38 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Well I have 1 AlienBee AB800 and I also use a SB80DX which I can use as well. I don't mind getting another strobe. I would just like to know how its done. I been reading people are using grids with there gels?
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Re: Using Colored Gels
Old 02-03-2003, 12:23 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Howdy -
I'm certainly no expert, but I've played a bit with gels myself. If you gel a source, everything that light strikes will have altered color (relative to a "white" source). If you only use a single (gelled) source, you'll get only altered colors. For example, if you use a red gel, anything that is pure green will appear black, as well as black things. White AND red items will look red.
If you want to have some "false" color AND some natural color, you need to use more than one light source. (Or, as mentioned, if you have a lot of reflectors, you could split the light and gel part of it - but that's really the same thing.) You can use one gelled and one ungelled, or two different gels. I've seen some really neat stuff where two complementary colors were used, and - in the region of light overlap - the colors are "true" because the two complementary lights blend to yield "white." Certain ambers and blues do this well. The more light sources, the greater flexibility and the more skill required to get good results.
As you probably realize, the problem becomes previsuallizing the effects - how much intensity from the red-gelled source versus the blue-gelled source, versus the ungelled source, etc. This is about the limit of my abilities. I can tell you that either you Alien Bee or gelling your flash (that's what an SB80DX is, right?) and using the other ungelled CAN work, but it'll be pretty difficult to predict the outcome until you've done lots of experimenting. With multiple studio monolights (with modeling lights), it's somewhat easier. However, you could shoot a lot of film (or silicon?), keep detailed records on your settings, and by studying your results, you will eventually master your current rig.
Good luck
John
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Re: Using Colored Gels
Old 02-03-2003, 12:25 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Don't know exactly what you are trying to accomplish, but the attached photo was one large softbox to the front, a light to camera left and to the rear of the model with a colored gel and barndoors and a third light to camera right, model rear through a snoot through a colored gel.

I can't link to them, but I have some other gelled photos up at
gunfitr.net-model.com you could take a look at as well.

I myself, have been trying to work on rim lighting techniques with colored gels. The attached photo was my first go at it.

I have some grids, a set of barndoors, and a snoot that I have been playing with. Each provides a seperate form of light control which I am beginning to understand.

You will never get tight light control out of an umbrella, as that is contrary to what an umbrella is designed to do.

Of course with the introduction of additional lights, you have to pay attention to the cross shadows they might produce, like in this example, you can see the criss cross pattern created to the front of the model on the floor. I could have fired an additional light at the floor, gelled to match to burn out the front shadows, but I was busy trying to get the light to hit the model where I wanted.


Mark
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How to attach the gel to the head???
Old 02-04-2003, 04:27 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I think that is what you want to know.
First off, if you want to start mixing lights like this, take the plunge, if you can, and buy another Bee. Otherwise, you are just going to drive yourself nuts with inconsistent results. Murphy's Law is at all times present in photography and the only frame that looks right is the one she blinks in.
The only way to battle it is through control.

The most basic thing to remember is to keep some distance between the gel and the flash tube and ESPECIALLY the modeling light on your Bee. A few minutes with the modeling light on and it will fuse the gel to the modeling light or worse, the flash tube. This would be a bad thing. Your light will be permanently gelled until you buy a new tube.

Lowell makes a foldout gel frame (Tota-frame, accessory frame?) that fits into the umbrella slot on a Dynalite. I don't know whether it would fit a Bee. The frame has clips on the corners to hold gels.

Yes, you can clamp a gel over a grid spot. Or use duct tape (messy residue). Gaffer tape is pretty good as it leaves little stickem behind plus it's that really cool black color so you can be professional!

I have Dynalites and the "light modifiers" you clamp on the head are metal. I know several who use magnets to attach the gels to barn doors, snoots and other stuff. By opening the barn doors all of the way, you can clamp, tape or mangnetize the gels onto the doors

How to set your meter? That has to do with the effect desired, what color gels, what color her hair and clothes are .... Some people just want blue shadows on her and so meter the gelled head to be below (less output) than the main light. Now we get into taste. This does not mean to lick the model. This goes back to what you want to achieve. Luckily, if you've got a digital camera, it's cheaper to play. And it's best to play before you have a paid model in front of you. Find a friend or a dog to get in front of the lens and fire away.

Now that we have all confused you and talked you into blowing your life savings,
Good Luck!
Bruce
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Re: Using Colored Gels
Old 02-05-2003, 02:09 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks everyone for there input. I will most likely have to get another AlienBee to get things to start out correctly although I will try the SB80DX and single Bee combo first.
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Re: Using Colored Gels
Old 02-06-2003, 07:43 PM   #10 (permalink)
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hi, my first time ever posting a note here.

I found your gell question interesting, someone in an earlier thread mentioned Dean Collins. He had a section on "Chromeazones". It is an interesting concept at controlling a background color to provide a wide gamut of color from one gell. The biggest key to it was a simple phrase, "you have to make the background black before you can add color". Basicly, if you are trying to project a color onto a background you need to have it without color so the color of the gell would reflect off the background with saturation. This will then give you a vibrante color of the gell, if the background is a lighter neutral color like grey or even white, the color of the gell becomes more pastel. Black or Thunder Grey work nice.

The whole system "Chromezone" is a very predictable system and easy to test with either color film transparency or Digital, the principals are the same. To test this, position yourself infront of the background about 8-10 ft. away. Set your geled strobe about 18-24 inches from the background. Then start wide open and shoot in 1/2 stop incriments till closed. In your results you should find a complete range of color backgrounds.

When you light your subject by whatever means, softbox, umbrellas, or even straight raw light, measure your highlight reading and then reference your tests to find out what color you are aming at and set the background light accordingly.

It may take a few times but the system works. I find that if I keep my background light about 1-2 stops less than my highlight reading I get a pleasing saturation of the color I'm using. I normally use a black background for this.

If you are trying to add color highlights to the subject, others have given you some great advise with the barndoors. If you are getting too much spill of the color light where you don't want it, use a gobo (go between), which is a piece of whatever you have to block the light from hitting the subject. I like foamcoae because its light, hoever, paint one side black as you want to block it not reflect it somewhere else.

hope above helps.
also, the chances of me misspelling grows highre the closer my fingers are to the keyboard.
cheers.
 
 
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