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6 Creative Ways To Enhance Your Next Film with Gels

Joshua Noel

Learn how to easily use color gels to modify light and create breathtaking imagery for your film or video project.

When it comes to cinematography, the easiest way to create color contrast is by using gels. Typically, a filmmaker will work with either tungsten- (3200k) or daylight (5600K) balanced lights, which only provide two different color temperatures. With gels, you can manipulate color and create the mood you need very easily.

For this tutorial, we are using the color correction and color effects filter kits from Rosco.


Orange Teal

To quickly create a strong orange and teal look, throw a 1/2 CTO (color temperature orange) gel onto your 3200k key light. Then change the white balance of your camera to 3200k. If there is daylight peeking through the windows, you will have a orange teal look. If you don’t have daylight, balance any other lights affecting the background to daylight using blue gels.

6 Creative Ways To Enhance Your Next Film with Gels — Orange Teal


Golden Hour

To create the crisp look of the sun during golden hour, make sure your light is tungsten-balanced. Then use a full CTO along with either a full CTS (Color Temperature Straw) or 1/2 CTS gel.

6 Creative Ways To Enhance Your Next Film with Gels — Golden Hour


Color Depth

Looking to shoot a party scene? The Rosco Color Effects kit has your solution. For our key light, we are using a daylight blue gel. The back light has a middle rose, and the wall light has a light red gel clipped on.

6 Creative Ways To Enhance Your Next Film with Gels — Color Depth


Two-Tone Lighting

Create two separate colors by using two gels. Our key light is using a primary blue gel while the fill light uses a middle rose gel.

6 Creative Ways To Enhance Your Next Film with Gels — Two Tone Lighting


White Light “Moonlight”

To create a neutral, white light, use a no color blue gel from the Rosco Color effects kit.

6 Creative Ways To Enhance Your Next Film with Gels — Moonlight


Neutral Skin, Blue Background

This is similar to creating an orange and teal look; however, use a 1/4 CTO for your key light and balance your camera to the lights temperature. This will keep your subject’s skin tones neutral while maintaining a strong blue look in the background.

6 Creative Ways To Enhance Your Next Film with Gels — Neutral Skin Blue Background


Looking for more on lighting? Check out these articles:

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