Gel Lighting of Backgrounds

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by sravan, Dec 12, 2003.

  1. I am trying to buy a background, but was planning on using gels to light them up and reduce the number of colors I need to Buy. I tried to find if any body has done this before. I see from the other forum members that it seems like an idea used by many. I have few questions about this. But before I go into them let me explain what I am planning to use this for.

    I am trying to do portraiture. For the most part location, but sometimes need the studio effect and so am looking for portable solution for the background. I have a White Lightening X800 Monobloc/strobe light that I plan to use for the background lighting. I am planning to get their GEL Kit and use it to light a background.

    What color backgroud is best for this? I thought grey might be good but which grey?

    Does this technique always result in light backgrounds? If I want saturated colors is it possible?

    What grey should the background be so that I can get both light colors and dark colors using them? Is one Background of lets say 18% grey/ Payne Grey (Slightly green)/ Studio Grey / neutral grey suffice or do I have to have a darker shade of grey to get darker effects? I know that giving more seperation between subject and background or reducing the background lights tend to darken the background but I will be working with limited space and so need to start off with darker backgrounds where needed.

    Is paper better or muslin better for this type of use?

    Also for this technique to give best results should the light be behind the background or in front (I think this question is pertinent only to muslin as muslin is not completely opaque)

    If I have a background which has a hot spot of light grey with dark grey around it will the use of this colored backlighting still leave the hotspot in the final image of the background?

    How does this technique come out for old masters type muslins (I am still talking grey but with various tones of grey)

    Also is it possible to use the same Muslin with one side one shade and another side another darker shade? If so any tips on how to make this type of muslins? I can try and dye them but none of the other threads in the forum give any instructions on doing dual color muslins. - Maybe this should be a seperate Question but I stuck it in here.
  2. Black paper is the best for this technique as it will give you the truest and most saturated colors. the light should be in front of the background.

    you should run a test for each color gel that you plan to use so that you know what intensity to use on your light for the amount of color you want. to do that, you set your light up the way you are going to use it and then you put a gray card on the background without any gels on your light and you meter that with a relfective flash meter to give you an 18 percent gray reading. then you shoot a photo of that gray card. next, you put a gel on and use various power ratings for each gel you use and shoot a picture of each. then you have the lab print them all for the exact same time as the proper printing of the gray card. you will then have prints to match any intensity that you want.

    Make sure and talk this over with your lab manager first to see how he/she wants to do it, and make sure you keep good records of what you are doing so you know what is what.

    As far as Muslins go, try Amvona. They make absolutely gorgeous muslins.

  3. there is no one size fits all backdrop, with gels on not. Buy a white, a black and a grey, then buy a bunch of gels... t

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