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What’s up with gobos and why use them?

June 24, 2022

Sample projects where gobos on lighting fixtures were used

What is a Gobo?
A gobo is a circular disc attached to a fixture that allows lighting equipment to project different images or patterns. The word gobo originated from the phrase “go between or before optics” which describes its position on a lighting fixture. Gobos are not a new technology but rather a classic tool used in the event industry everywhere in the world.

Why use gobos?
Instead of using banners and signages or other tangible event decorative, gobos are very good alternative because they’re reusable and can be customized for other future event needs. You no longer have to buy art materials or fabric that will only be used once to elevate the look of your event. Using gobos in the long run can be more practical and sustainable both money and environment wise. Gobos can also be used in the full range a moving light provides (color, rotation, zoom) making it easier to highlight the certain designs creatively depending on what results you wish to produce. 

When and where to use gobos?
It all depends on the kind of event you’re planning to put up, but gobos are more commonly used for stage, film, and ceremonies. The potentials of gobos are not limited to these settings. As long as there is a need or desire to create projected patterns or images through lights and shadows, gobos can be and will be used in spaces where these lighting outputs are not naturally occurring.

What are the different types of gobos?
Gobos usually come in 3 types: steel, glass, and plastic. Steel gobos are basically used for patterns or stencil images usually known as the “black and white”. They are typically durable but also tend to have short life span. Glass gobos on one hand are used for more detailed and complex designs. They are also typically described as the “colored” gobo having similar approach to stained glasses. Although it may have longer life span compared to steel, since it’s glass, it’s more fragile to work with. Lastly, plastic gobos also known as the “transparent” gobo are typically designed for LED fixtures since other lights may run extremely hot and can melt plastic. It is reasonably durable compared to steel gobos and less fragile compared to glass.

How to use gobos?
There are foundational requirements in using gobos. There’s the profile fixture, gobo holder and the projection surface. But if you’re someone who wants to make sure that the application and usage of these gobos are at its best, it’s wisest to leave the job to the experts. ES:ME team’s premium services include excellent lighting design and equipment. Contact us and we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process on how to use gobos for your dream event.

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