Choosing Colored Gels for Lighting
Colored light filters can be used with speed lights, onboard and external flashes, and strobe lighting. Colored gels allow photographers and videographers to correct poor lighting, create visual effects, and convert colors. Photography gels can also add vivid color contrast to videos and photos, creating a pop art effect.
What Are Color Light Filters?
Colored light filters absorb unwanted shades and hues, only allowing specific light colors to pass through. For example, blue gel filters would filter out warm red and green light, allowing through only cool colors such as blue and purple. Options such as color correction filters and gels make warm orange and red light, such as tungsten light, look more like natural illumination.
Theater gels got their name for the colored gelatin used to dye the muslin or polyester fabric sheets that people hung in front of theater lights. The colored fabric sheets would dry out quickly, and pose a potential fire hazard. Lighting gel sheets are the filter and gel accessories that most resemble the old-fashioned theater gels. Modern versions of gel filters feature heat-resistant polycarbonate or polyester plastic instead of fabric. Most colored gels used for lighting in video and film are tough, and can resist drying while producing stronger effects than older gel methods. Quality theater gels take longer to dry out but do eventually need replacement due to fading or distortion.
Variety of Gel Filter Kits
Gel filter kits containing primary, secondary, and tertiary colors come in circular and square sheets. While most kits include frames, filter and gel frames are available for loose gel sheets. Gel filter kits are a practical and economical solution for creating or correcting lighting.
B&H Photo and Video has photography gels in a variety of colors and sizes, along with frames and clips. Find other lighting equipment such as extension arms, softboxes, and remote-operated lighting to improve your imaging.