Filmmaking 101: Lighting gels

Filmmaking 101: Lighting gels

Welcome to Brading images. We are a Photography and Videography studio in Manchester, Salford, Irlam. We primarily do music videos and family photoshoots in the studio. We particularly enjoying doing: Newborn photoshoots, one year old photoshoots, toddler photoshoots, kids photoshoots, fairy photoshoots, mother daughter photoshoots, maternity photoshoots and siblings photoshoots, here, in manchester!

Outside the studio, we run a film club called The Stage and Screen Academy, where we teach filmmaking 101.

There are many different lighting gels you can use to change your lighting source.

You would use ND gels to adjust how intense your light is, without changing any other aspect of the light. These gels are see through black. They might be called ND3, ND6 or ND9. ND9 will darken your light more than ND3.

Diffusion gels look like see through white. The more see through it is, the less strong it is. A full diffusion gel would be marked 1/1, which is a lot stronger than say a ⅛ gel. These gels aim to diffuse lights, and so make them and their shadows softer. You can soften a light by bouncing a light on a white wall or on a reflector, but you may not always be able to, or want to do that. 

You can also change your light’s colour temperature.

LED lights often come in daylight. If you put a full CTO gel, or Orange gel in front of it, then you will transform it into a tungsten light. By doing this however, you will lose some of the intensity of the light.

If you put a full CTB gel, or Blue gel in front of a Fresnell, then you will transform your light into daylight. Again, by doing this, you will lose some intensity.

You can also use coloured gels, which are great to colour a background wall, in a TV studio for example.

So let’s recap. ND gels affect light intensity, diffusion diffuses the light, CTOs and CTBs change the colour temperature and colour gels colour a light.

Leave a Reply