Even if you're a beginner you probably know a thing or two about gels. They're sheets of transparent polyester...they come in a bunch of different colors...they give light a different color temperature...etcetera, etcetera. However, knowing what they're used for is just the first step; the next is knowing how to use them to create different lighting effects. In this video, Ted Sim of Aputure breaks down a bunch of ways to put colored gels to work on your set and explains what different colors are typically used for.

  • Moonlight: White or silver gels work great for moonlight, but cyan and steel blue give you a more stylized look.
  • Party scenes: Bold colored gels can get you that party look and using small light fixtures is great if you want to take the look even further.
  • Sunsets:  Golden hour is magical, but it only lasts several minutes. Try placing a 1/2 CTO on top of a straw gel to make that dreamy look last forever.
  • Candlelight or fire: One or two full CTO gels should get you a similar color temperature, but you'll need a dimmer and a cookie to really sell the effect of a lively fire. Red and amber gels can make this look more dramatic.
  • Sharp red or blue: Colors can communicate many things to your audience. Using sharp red or blue can add a lot of moodiness to your scene.
  • Urban jungle: If you want to create a grungy, urban look, try sodium vapor green or sodium vapor orange. Ted suggests using these in tandem with a cyan moonlight if you're going for the cold, desaturated, dystopian sci-fi look.

There are countless ways in which to use gels. Share some of your techniques and ideas down in the comments!

Source: Aputure