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Color Media Manufacturers and Color Shift?

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by TupeloTechie, Mar 17, 2009.

  1. TupeloTechie

    TupeloTechie Member

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    I was chatting with a local LD the other day and he was telling me that Rosco and Lee colors tended to shift to the red side of the spectrum and GAM shifted to the blue side. He was suggesting that I take this into consideration when selecting gels in the future, mainly saying that the best blues come from GAM. Has anyone else heard/dealt with this before? and where does Apollo come in at?
  2. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Frankly, I think the "best" colors are whatever you like the best.
  3. derekleffew

    derekleffew Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    TupeloTechie, I suspect your local LD was speaking of a perceived conception/misconception, rather than any scientific evidence. A look at the SED graphs of the products of Rosco, Lee, GAM, and Apollo shows he is mistaken. As Alex said, whatever works is the best. Statements such as "GAM has the best blues" are merely opinions--color choice is highly personal and subjective.
  4. awhaley

    awhaley Member

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    One of the first projects in my grad school 'Color' class was to cut apart the Rosco, Lee, and Gam gel books and make a 'super gel book' that included all colors by these three manufacturers, organized in a way that made sense to me. This was an incredibly useful project and I still use this gel book to choose color for every show. It's made me a complete 'color manufacturer agnostic.'

    With my lack of religion clearly stated, I will say that Gam has some VERY nice blues and that when they're run low on the dimmer, many Gam colors tend to stay 'cooler' than Rosco colors that appear similar at full intensity on the dimmer. You can't make generalizations, because both manufacturers make colors with many characteristics.

    When choosing color for a show with a light lab (or a single light source at home) I ALWAYS dim a color I like and look at it at 30, 50, 70, and Full to see how it shifts. Sometimes a lot of shift is useful... if you need to use a system of lights for two purposes in different scenes... and sometimes it's undesirable, like when you need to be able to run a big scene with the lights at 30, with one area boosted to 70 to draw attention... but you want the whole scene to have the same quality and color.

    Art
  5. tcahall

    tcahall Member

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    Any chance that this "shift" was age related? As mentioned, the SED graphs are pretty clear and any shift thru the dimming curve is more closely related to the change of color temperature of the lamp than anything the gel is doing. However, it is possible that these gels age differently depending upon the dies used to create them. While I haven't noticed anything to substantiate the statement, age related variances would seem to make more sense.

    Tim.
  6. Kelite

    Kelite Apollo Staff Premium Member

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    This is a great topic, and has garnered some very insightful responses proving the worth of our 'little slice of heaven' - the ControlBooth.

    Without bringing much new info to the table, I will heartily agree that:

    *Lamp age certainly influences the shift of color, especially when dimming is taken into consideration. The minimal use of CDM and other cool color temp (and non-dimmable) fixtures within the theater are somewhat a non-issue, but tungsten sources obviously can and do show their age.

    *Organic dyes used within the manufacturing of both deep-dyed and double-coated gel are subject to age (to some degree, however immeasurable), and UV exposure fades color in the normal lighting environment. Fading of darker saturated colors are more obvious to the naked eye than lighter transmissions such as yellows, pinks and lavs.

    *Each individual gel transmission (regardless of manufacturer) gets the final thumb's up from someone within the organization, presumably to fill a void within their range of color, or to satisfy the needs of a specific designer or group of designers. While brothers and sisters within a family often have similar physical traits (eyes, nose, etc), gel shift tendencies may also show these traits as the color designer may lean more blue or red. Remember, each of us view the exact same color a little differently due to the arrangement of the rods and cones within our eyes. Also, and as importantly- as the eye ages, the sensitivity to the blue end of the spectrum begins to fade. Hence all the retired 'blue hairs' walking the mall during the winter months do not see their hair and the curly locks of their aged friends as blue. We do- because our eyes are younger and more sensitive to the portion of the color spectrum.

    According to the Age Poll within a recent CB thread, I'm afraid we may have a few members that have difficulty with blue shift due to their advanced age. But I'll leave well enough alone and not go there... :)
  7. awhaley

    awhaley Member

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    Kelite, thanks for weighing in with an expert opinion! I'm sorry I didn't include Apollo gel in my giant uber-swatchbook! It will be in there next time. :) I'd never thought about the fact that each color designer may have certain tendencies... I wish there was a way to find out who designs which color. This would be interesting both academically and artistically as colors from within a 'family' would conceivably play well together under some conditions.... but i guess this is what they train us as lighting designers to pieces together... we can't expect you gel manufacturers to do ALL the hard work for us!

    tcahall, age does change gels, but I'm pretty certain the OP was referring to the way a color shifts while it dims. You're right, this shift comes from the lamp's color temperature shift, but different gels which may appear similar at full intensity may look very different at 30 percent, because some blue gels notch out the warm parts of the spectrum better than others... so when the lamp throws more red at them they will pass more or less based on their transmission at the wavelengths that are less prevalent when the lamp is running at full intensity. This absolutely SHOULD, in my opinion, be a consideration when selecting gel for any light that will run at lower than about 70% during the show.

    I've also found that the manufacturer's spectrum graph and transmission percentage aren't a substitute for the designer's eye actually observing light through a gel at different intensities. I won't accuse any of the manufacturers of being anything less than scientific in this process, but I know that what I perceive when I pass light through a gel doesn't always match what I would expect from looking at the graphs... particularly when I'm comparing similar colors from different manufacturers that have very similar graphs, but very different performances in terms of perceived color at different intensities or even very different perceived intensities when they technically have the same 'transmission' number. There's no substitute for looking at light through the gel. After a while you do get a sense for it, and you certainly know what your 'favorite' colors do without seeing it again, but the value of looking at light through gel (particularly dimmable light) when picking color cannot be overstated, in my book. For me an old 3.5" Leko and a wall dimmer mounted together is an invaluable tool for color selection, but any lamp that kinda aproximates the color shift qualities of the lamps you use in the theatre will work... Could be a great place for an MR-16 lamp in an improvised holder... and you could even shutter it so it would only shoot light through a slot that matched the size of your swatchbook...

    Art
  8. Kelite

    Kelite Apollo Staff Premium Member

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    Thank you for your comments Art, very valid indeed.

    The MR16 you envision can be as simple as an Altman Micro-Ellipse or comparable fixture fitted with a donut within the gel fram. The donut can have an aperture of 1.5 inches or so, allowing a swatch to be placed in the opening for viewing the projected wavelength. This donut can be something as simple as Black Foil folded 2x or 4x in thickness with the hole cut with an Exacto knife or similar razor blade.

    Good comments!
  9. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    In the "Old Days", there really was a difference between, say, Roscolene and Lee. These days there does not appear to be much difference. I do agree that the ONLY way to judge color is to use a light source of the same color temp as the fixture you are about to gel. Even after all these years, people seem shocked at how different a gel looks on the lamp as compared to a swash book. I am also surprised when someone picks up one of my books and starts judging colors by looking at how they look sitting on their little back pages. The concept that you are seeing the light filtered twice appears to be hard for them to grasp.
  10. awhaley

    awhaley Member

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    JD, I don't think the differences we see these days are really caused by the manufacturers process like they were in the 'old days.' (There really isn't another substance on the planet like roscolene, is there? Is now a good time to lament about how every once in a while I come across a cut of it in someone's gel box and think "Why did they stop making that color when they switched to Roscolux!?!"

    I think the differences we talk about now between gel makers are just generalizations that may be the fingerprint of the color designers involved with each company, as Kelite suggested. It's not that one manufacturing process makes gels with different properties anymore, necessarily, but just that the designers that work for one company may prefer different characteristics.

    Art
  11. Kelite

    Kelite Apollo Staff Premium Member

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    I certainly see it this way.

    Also, with the growing use of analytical search modes, we track how often someone searches for specific colors within the Apollo website, whether they be Lee, GAM, or otherwise. When a designer is asking specifically for a color that fits between X and Y colors, we track its interest within the lighting community. If/when there is sufficient interest to commit to producing a run of this color- it goes to the next step.
  12. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    Would you care to share the most searched-for colors (just for fun)? It sounds like an interesting and effective way to produce colors.
  13. derekleffew

    derekleffew Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Not the most-searched-for, but here's Keith's top-selling list from Dec., 2007:
    [user]Kelite[/user] owes us an updated list.
    [I had a good time discussing marketing strategy and improvements to Apollo's website with Joel and Monte at USITT today. Could you send me Joel's email offline, as there were some things I have followups to.]

    And in the spirit of non-partisanship: one of the USITT sessions I attended was Josh from Rosco discussing various light sources and the effect color media has on them. CB member Ame was in the room, but I didn't get the chance to meet her. New glossary term for the day: http://www.controlbooth.com/forums/glossary/11817-metamerism.html.
  14. Kelite

    Kelite Apollo Staff Premium Member

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    I'll see what I can get and post accordingly...
  15. Kelite

    Kelite Apollo Staff Premium Member

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    Hi Derek,

    Glad you had the chance to chat with Joel and Monty, as they both have a vested interest in serving the lighting community. I'll pass that email address to you in just a moment.

    As of March 12, 2009 the top fifteen sellers were:

    1 AP8650 In the Pink
    2 AP4250 Apollo Blue
    3 AP8300 Diva Red
    4 AP8350 Bludgeon Red
    5 AP3600 Flirtatious Lavender
    6 AP1650 Light Textured Diffusion
    7 AP1150 Linear Diffusion
    8 AP5400 Rock'n Roll Green
    9 AP7050 Fatherless Amber
    10 AP7450 Golden Amber
    11 AP2020 Apollo Blue 1/2 CTB
    12 AP8550 Bit of Pink
    13 AP7600 Apollo Orange
    14 AP2000 Apollo Blue Full CTB
    15 AP4350 Sultry Blue

    Glad you're back from the tradeshow, and hope your week treats you well-

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