Colored gels for flash

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by melissa_eiselein, Feb 2, 2004.

  1. I'm looking for that colored cellophane stuff that's used on a flash unit. I've seen them used and I've read about them here on They're called gels. But when I look for colored gels on the B&H site, I come up with wratten gel filters or these colored gel squares: O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=38220&is=REG These aren't the same thing, are they? If not, can someone point me to the right thing on B&H...or somewhere else?
  2. Do a Google search for "Lighting Gels". You might find them at photo sources or
    theatrical supply stores. Rosco is one of the most well known lighting gels.
  3. You will find them in theatrical lighting sources not in photo suppliers. Use the yellow pages or the web to search for theatrical lighting suppliers. On the web the search term "colored gels" will produce a lot of hits.

    BTW, you can get a lot of those gels in fire retardant materials (recommended) as well as non-fire-retardant (cheeper but avoid if possible). There are standard colours (colour standardised) and some specials (special effects light filters) but also a wide range of non-spec colours (where colour may vary between batches or makers)

    You may find some in bulk rolls (18, 24 and 36 inch wide) that you can cut to size and some which are only available in set sizes to fit particular lighting units.

    See this article - there is also a catalog on this website:

  4. Actually, you can get the gels in some photo stores. I know that Samy's carries them.
    In camera stores you might find Lee filters (lighting gels, not the camera filters). Also
    you can also find Smith Victor kits of lighting gels.
  5. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    Melissa, what in particular are you looking for? Do you want pieces just to cover your flash? I work in the ever wasteful motion picture industry, and have slowly collected gels of various colours and Neutral Density. If you want only small sizes, email me, and I’ll see what I can do about popping some in the mail for you…
  6.<p>... t
  7. They sell the stuff in large sheets which are about 24"x24" for about $8 or so. They
    may be called "acetate filters". Gels (I have never used them) are a different material
    than acetate filters, but photographers use the term "Gel" for any filtration. Just like
    all "men" are "guys" and all women are " you guys".
  8. Gels are normally used in cameras, sometimes behind the lens for large format
    cameras. It has the property of not interfering with the focus point of the lens to the
    film. Acetate filters are the rough and ready filters used on the outside of lights.
    There are other names for them.

    Gels are named from "gelatine", like "Jello". I believe that acetate is a rather recent
    invention, and colored gelatine was used in theatre to color their lights before the
    plastics were discovered. But photographers still use the term "gel" to mean putting a
    colored filter over a light or a camera. I think if you simply used "color filter" you
    would be able to communicate to anyone what you are talking about.

    Maybe I could pick up a small piece for you. I am only 2 blocks from the photo store
  9. Melissa:

    I picked up a Rosco filter examples book. There are about 60 small swatches of acetate filters in many colors. If you want to do Tom M.'s trick of filtering a flash to 3200 degrees ambient light, you could use a #441 "Full CT Straw" Daylight to Tungten 3200 degrees K with a slight yellow bias. I picked up this book for free, but Rosco may sell them for about $8 direct. The filters in it are about 1 1/2" x 3" which is fine for a Vivitar 283/285 and many other flashes if you just use the swatch.

    Rosco has labeling on this book and it says to replace the book after 3 years. Therefore, acetate filters age and change color over time. If you put them over a flash, they will likely age faster.. I suggest you put a Kodak Color Printing filter, normally used for enlarging prints, over your flash output. This might protect the outside filter alittle. If you do weddings, you will like UV protection. However, the amber filter will filter out UV, too.

    This book has a full range of colors, magenta, green, blue, amber, yellow, red....

    The book is very handy. However, because you might filter more than one flash, you may as well spring for the cost of the full size filter after looking through the swatches. I got this book at Adolph Gasser's 415-495-3852 in San Francisco CA. Most any pro video/cinema store will have them.
  10. Melissa:<p>
    Similar to Tom's link, look at Rosco's main page <p> <p>
    and click on The Rosco Guide to Color Filters and download the pdf on the right side of the page to find very useful information on the type of gels you are looking for. You can buy the sheets of at B&H. On the B&H site, search under Lighting & Studio for the Rosco cinegel number (i.e., type in 3203 to search for 3/4 blue).<p>
    Hope this helps,
  11. I've bought colored sheets of acetate at artist supply stores for cheap. They're not pristine photographic materials such as produced by Kodak, but they work fine. My experience with the Kodak gels is that they wilt when the temperature and humidity are high.
  12. I think Kodak's filters were the high quality gels made to go in the image path, not for in front of lights... t
  13. .

    Look for GAM, Rosco or Lee gels.

Share This Page