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Roscolene

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by gafftapegreenia, Sep 30, 2007.

  1. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    In my attempts to further my knowledge, and the discussion on old plots, I bring up Roscolene. From what I have been able to gather, it was the dominant gel of its day. What I find most intersting was that Roscolene had colors that are not included in the Roscolux line. What were some of the more popular colors that have "died". Rosco shows on its website that it still offers Roscolene, and it is an 800 series, but somehow I feel that its a different product under the same name. I'm going to continue my search to find one on my own, but might there anyone out there that has an old Roscolene swatchbook they would be willing to part with to allow this student of light to visualize the colors of the past?
     
  2. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    I know there are "dead" colors it because it's been mentioned on this board several times, recently in a longer discussion we had about gel and its history. Regardless, I agree with your point about names, we all know theres little in the name of a gel itself. I also knew that the current process cannot replicate all former colors. With these facts in mind, I posed the question relating to my interesting in obtaining an old Roscolene swatchbook to experience some of those defunct colors firsthand. I'm not trying to say Rosco has done bad nor am I challenging progress, I'm just interested. I'm obsessive about lighting and its history.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2007
  3. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    For reasons unknown even to me, I am not parting with my old Roscolene and Cinemoid books and I've had offers.

    Seems like I'm keeping them for the express purpose of anwering questions on CB.

    In any case, as I glance thru the Lene swatchbook I do see some colors that are close to, but not quite the same as Lux, Lee and GAM. But in truth I don't care as there's enough variations from the 3 modern filter range to not make me miss any of the old gels. And I certainly don't miss the smell of acetate frying in a hot light.

    Some day the whole concept of "Gel's" will be looked upon with nostalgia. Or not.

    SB
     
  4. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    I don't blame you, for I indeed wouldn't if I had them.
     
  5. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    Oh Roscolene! What memories! I always loved their 827 pink (I think that was the one.) not that the color was that great, but you should have seen what the gel did when you hit it with black light! (Ghastly!!) Unfortunately, some of their really neat colors didn't hold up too well. I still have about 40 pounds of the stuff. It had a softer color shift to it. What I mean is that the Roscolux had kind of a hard blue balance, but the lene had almost a warmer look, passing a bit more green and yellow. Unfortunately, the thick low temp plastic base tended to curl up and form color blow-out areas even after one show. Using an old honey bee tool to perf it helped, but I found myself drifting to Lee, then to Lux on some colors. I loved their 847 Lavender, and the 858 blue-green! (doing these numbers from memory, so don'y hold me to them.)
     
  6. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    Thanks JD!, that's the kind of stories I'm interested in. How do you think the Lene would do on Source 4's, for instance?
     
  7. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    Most of what I used back in the days was 1000 Par64's with VNSP. Hot light. I think most of the color would actually hold up on modern fixtures that use heat deferral systems. Here's the thing though- Some colors did pretty well, but others were horrible! I suspect the answer to your question would be very color dependant.
     
  8. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    Interesting. I actually just remembered I found some old Lene files in the electrics shop today in the very back of a rarely opened drawer. Mostly gels in the blue, green and cyan ranges.
     
  9. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Dude, you're working my very last brain cell! IIRC, from 1984, by memory, without any external aid, even google (gasp!):

    840 was a mauve or as I recall "Smoky Pink"
    827, 828 were the follies pinks
    848 was the palest blue, possibly equiv. to X60
    849 had more green in it
    850 was (I'm cheating by looking at a 2004 Lux book) not as deep as X64.
    849 was the deepest Lav
    802 was the ubiquitous "Illegitamate Amber."
    856 was maybe the deepest primary blue
    Two colors, I want to say 828 Pink and 8xx (closest to R87) would act as what we think of today as fibre optic transfer media. The edges of the perimeter would "glow" or flouresce under ordinary incandecent light and in a frame in a fixture, well, wow. Never observed those two under UV light, but I can imagine.
    Lene colors followed a progression similar to Roscolux in that lower numbers were paler and higher numbers meant more saturation, until one went over the edge of the cliff and started over with a different part of the visible spectrum. ROYGBIV and all that.
    815 was an amber
    820? was primary red. I know that's not right. Someone please post a link to a site listing the 800 color names and SteveB and I and many others can quickly create a Lene to Lux conversion chart. There were only 60some colors between 801 and I can't recall a number higher than 856, maybe 858. You want to talk old: Roscogel used 2xx numbers. I never saw a Brigham gel swatchbook it was dead by 1976.

    I've posted before about DevonGlass 146 Blue, I erroneously called it Congo previously, being used around 1984 and in the 1996 Noise/Funk and they're still available https://grayglass.net/display/2271/0/ , but have been somewhat superceded by dichroic filters for the longest running of shows: Approx. $100US for a 10"x10" cut and color is measured in center-peak nanometers or some phraseolgy and must allow for a swing of 20 nanometers on either side of "centerline," and "dye lots" will never match. L181, Congo Blue didn't appear until 1987?
    I don't think the word cyan appears in the Roscolene swatchbook. I don't recall learning the meaning if that word until color mixing moving lights came along. But I do recall trying to convince professors that the primaries of light are RGB (additive mixing) so the colors of pigment (ink) HAD to be CMY. No, No they'd say, in kindergarten you learn if you mix blue paint with yellow paint you get green paint. But I said my father's a printer and they use CMYK, maybe I had heard "cyan" but never associated with light, only printer's ink.

    One final tome. Sometime in 1983, I sent this letter to Rosco Labs: "Gentlemen/Ladies, R77 is Green Blue, and R93 is Blue Green. Yet R77 falls in with the 'blues' and R93 is in the 'greens'. Shouldn't the names/numbers be the other way around?" I don't know the name of the man who wrote me back, I think it was the owner/founder. "Dear Derek, Your letter has found its way to may desk for response and has caused much consternation among the hallowed halls of our facility in Port Chester, New York. One engineer said 'the first name indicates the base, the second name, the modifier.' The next engineer said 'the first name indicates the modifier, the second indicates the base.' ... Here's one of our newly released large format "designer" swatchbooks. Thank you for writing." The designer swatchbook was a blue vinyl approx. 4"x6", sized such that IIRC one could hold a color in front of a 3.5" ERS to see the filter's impact on a colored object. The book included R05, Rose Tint, which was brand new, and described to me by my preferred theatrical supplier as "half of R33." Tastes great, less filling?

    SteveB, feel free to correct me on any/all of the above. And I SO regret tossing/losing my Dura 60/70, Gelatran, Roscogel, I'm forgetting at least one unknown manufacturer, Cinemoid (tho all those color became Lee) I don't really miss any Lene colors, due to burning holes thru with T/H lamps. Roscolene and Cinemoid couldn't take the heat, so they had to get out of the kitchen. Reason was not due to dyes dying (unreproduceable); that was the reason Lux started adding the "-A" suffix. SteveB your comments about intuitely visualizing Lux and Lee without looking at a swatchbook are exactly my sentiments. Yes, Lee Filters color order makes no sense whatsoever, but I can describe the effects of 90% of the L101 thru L211 with my eyes tied behind my back. I've told KELITE (sp?) from Apollo as much, and he understands.

    gafftapegreenia, go to http://www.derekleffew.com/gelhistory for more information.
     
  10. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    I remember that discussion from a while back, in fact I think I took part in it. However, thanks for the more in-depth details, gel has such an unknown history.
     
  11. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    I ran console tonight at my space for a one-off. The previous night a colleague had run console for a different one-off and I noticed that he had taped a piece of white gaff tape next to my own, listing the rep. spot colors, on which he had written his own description of the colors:

    - Lt Amb next to my R03 (I only list the Roscolux color number).
    - Med. Amb next to R18
    - Lt Pink next to R33
    - Lt Lav next to R52
    - Lt Blue next to R64
    - Med. Blue next to R68

    I was momentarily puzzled as I know that he too is an old timer and knows this stuff, but maybe not. I can absolutely and dead certainly visualize (by this I mean what it looks like on stage) pretty much every color in the Roscolux and Lee books, excepting the newer 4 digit Rosco and 700 series Lee and I have no clue as to GAM and Apollo.

    I've always understood intellectually that the human eye (and brain) can differentiate something like 5 million hues and I have understood that the couple of hundred gel choices available from the assorted manufacturers should - in theory, be a very limiting factor, but for some reason it's not and I (and other designers, I'm sure) feel very comfortable with the existing choices.

    I'm also aware that you really need to use the color in a light, on stage, lighting people and objects to really SEE what it looks like.

    Thus I have no need to remember what Roscolene "looked" like as there's no point really. Even if it were available, we wouldn't use it, even for certain colors. Too many disadvantages and to a certain extent your design decisions usually start with what you already
    know and REMEMBER.

    I would be curious to pick the brains of some of the Broadway designers - Natasha, Brian McDevitt, Ken Billington, Don Holder, Hal Binkley, etc.... as to how they visualize the assorted ML's with CMY dichroics and as to how they go about mixing/matching to conventionals using gels.

    That in, my mind would be educational, probably more so then reminiscing about Roscolene, though I understand the OP's desire to know more about the foundation that was created way back when, about color and it's use in the design process.

    SB
     
  12. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    My original intent was to gain a swatchbook so I'd be able to make sense of older lighting plots and old textbooks, as well as have a piece of history and gain an insight into the history of the design process. However, don't worry about me getting stuck in the past, my Apollo swatches are well thumbed.
     
  13. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Nope, not parting with my Cinemold or Roscoline and other old swatch books either... sorry.

    On the other hand, I do have a bunch of their pre-cut gel that could be parted with left over from an old TD friend of mine that wouldn't use anything but in certain situations. He had file cabinets still full of the stuff and these were the scraps that I have but never use. Between this and those gels that were old when I got to my old theater in becoming the care taker of their inventory. Decent amount of Roscoline in my gel files that I don't ever intend to use.

    Apolo's new swatch book, cool, so is that of the Lee and Rosco new swatch books.
     
  14. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    Right now I have the swatchbooks for LEE, Rosco, GAM, Apollo, Goboman and Formatt. Im working on getting a book for Chris James and Cotech. OCD? a little? maybe?

    You know I didn't really think anyone would want to give up their old swatches, but as they say, "it never hurts to ask". I wouldn't give away my old Roscolux swatches, oh that tiny sliver of the current swatchbook.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2007

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