Frequently Asked Questions

#1 - What is a GOBO?

In the film and television industry, a "gobo" is a fairly large sheet of material - typically one to two meters square - made of metal, wood, or foam-core. It has some sort of pattern cut into it, and is placed in front of a powerful lighting fixture to project a shadow pattern onto the background scenery. It "goes between" the light and the action, hence the name "gobo".

Because these pieces can look as if they have been stamped out with a large cookie cutter, they are also referred to as "cookies". In a similar vein, a branch of a tree is sometimes moved slowly in front of a light to simulate light coming through foliage. Never ones to use a simple words such as "branch", film people refer to these natural gobos as "dingleberries".In a tradeshow or production, we don't usually have the space to hang large sheets of material, or to wave bushes about in the wings. Nevertheless, we often want to project patterns of light and shadow on the stage, so the gobo has migrated to the theatre, but in a radically different form.Instead of being a large sheet of material in front of a lighting fixture, the theatrical gobo is a thin metal or glass template which is inserted into the fixture itself, turning that fixture into a projector. A gobo will only work effectively in ellipsoidal spotlights or "intelligent Scanners". Gobos will not work with fresnets or floodlights.

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#2 - Can all fixtures handle a gobo?

No.It has to be a sharp edge (profile spot) with a slot for a holder and have an adjustment for the sharpness for the gobo.

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#3 - How do I prepare my artwork?

You do not need to do anything special to prepare your artwork for gobo use. Our trained graphic artists can prepare just about any image in a number of different options.

There are however some things that you can do to speed up our layout work. If you can, try to send your images in CMYK color mode. Also, place your image on a black background with the CMYK color values all at 100%. Or, try to leave the artwork layered in a way so that the background can easily be replaced.


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#4 - What types of file formats work best for gobo artwork?

We can accept virtually any type of image format. For logos, text and shapes, vector line art work best. These formats include EPS, SVG, or AI. Remember to convert all your text into outlines to prevent missing-font issues.

Here are some acceptable vector line art formats:

For photographic (or bitmap) images, you want to obtain the highest resolution file you can. If you are building the image from scratch in a program such as Photoshop, the image dimensions do not need to exceed 60mm x 60mm at 1200 DPI.

Here are some acceptable bitmap image formats:

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#6 - If my gobo gets dirty, can I polish it up?

Avoid scratching or polishing the side of the gobo with the aluminum coating.

If pinholes should appear in the aluminum layer they can be retouched and corrected with a silver pen, which can be purchased from Gobos To Go.

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#7 - The colors I see projected do not EXACTLY match those of my artwork. Why?

Every single gobo is individually made and the different layers are mounted separately. It can sometimes be difficult to make absolute matches in color when several gobos are made with the same design, especially on re-prints. Colors may be reproduced differently in spotlights manufactured by different companies, however, we are constantly striving to improve color quality.

Many different factors affect the end result in the use of gobos. Some possible examples are: the temperature and intensity of the bulb, environmental lighting and even which surface the image is being projected upon.

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#10 - Sometimes gobos shift or spin in their holders and make it near impossible to program accurately. Is there anything I can do to correct this?

If this occurs, a simple dot or two of silicone will hold the gobo in place. When you need to extract the gobo from the projector the silicone can be removed from both surfaces very easily.

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#11 - Is there a correct way to install a GOBO?

With the material we use to create custom gobos, we recommend that you take care in handling each one. However, the edges of our gobos are polished and therefore are not as susceptible to errant cracks as other manufacturers.

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#12 - Is there a front and back to a GOBO?

Yes! The black side of the gobo must face AWAY from the light source. The reason for this is because the Blackline material will absorb the heat from the lamp and can crack the gobo.

The reason we make one side of the gobo have a black surface is to reduce halo effects. Halo effects occur when the light rays bounce around inside the fixture and off the reflective side of the front of the gobo. By making this surface the least reflective as possible, we can reduce the halo effects drastically so that the projected image remains crisp and clear.

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#13 - Will A Gobostogo Gobo crack if it has finger prints on it?

NO. Our products are resistant to breaking under high heat even if they have oil from your fingerprints on them. Because the edges are polished and ground to a smooth finish, we have significantly reduced the stress risers in the glass. By doing this the gobo will not crack if it has fingerprints on it. We do however, recommend that you take care of these gobos while handling and installing into fixtures.

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#14 - Do you sell metal gobos?

No. We have a streamlined process for imaging any digital artwork onto durable heat-resistent borosilicate glass with a metal bezel around the outside edge for added protection.

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