Custom Gobos

Custom gobos add that extra personalization to your event.  From wedding monograms to custom designs for theatrical productions we have extensive experience in turning your idea into the perfect custom gobo for your needs.  We've answered the most common questions about custom gobos below and feel free to contact us with any questions.

Gobos 101

If you've never used gobos before there's a few important things you should know about them.  The most important thing is that gobos can only go in certain fixtures, specifically profile type fixtures which have a slot for holding a gobo and a well-defined beam.  Wash fixtures such as fresnels or PAR cans are not designed to focus the light correctly for a gobo projection and can't be used for this purpose.

Gobo Fixtures

Another important note is that custom gobos usually take at least a week to arrive once we receive an order.  While we can turn around gobos in as little as a day (providing we have an order by 10am Pacific Time), this does mean a rush fee on top of overnight freight charges.

Finally, while gobos are considered an "expendable" item they should last for many years when used properly.  It is normal to see a slight discoloration or warping of metal gobos, however a poorly focused fixture will result in a black spot and a very brittle gobo.  Glass gobos can last a lifetime if treated properly, however they can also be easily destroyed when used improperly or in a fixture which gets too hot.  Please pay close attention to the notes which come with every glass gobo (a copy is included on our glass gobo product pages).

Gobo Types (Steel, Glass, or Plastic?)

The first step in ordering a custom gobo is to decide what type you're looking for.  Depending on your situation you may choose a plastic gobo for LED fixtures or as a cost effective alternative for short runs using traditional fixtures.  For the highest quality image take a look at glass gobos which range from simple grayscale designs to full-color masterpieces.  If you're just looking for a custom design without breaking the bank then you'll probably want a steel gobo.

You can think of steel gobos as a stencil where cutouts are made for light to shine through.  This keeps the cost down however it does require what we call "bridging" in order to support certain elements such as closed loop letters (A,B,D,O,P,Q,R,4,6,8,9,0) or certain artistic designs.  In most cases this "bridging" is not very noticeable and you can always request a proof with your order if you're worried about how it will look.  While you can add a color filter/gel to the front of your light the steel gobo itself cannot have any color.

Steel Gobos and Bridging

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Apollo (all)Rosco (all)
Steel Steel

Glass gobos on the other hand don't require any "bridging" since they are printed directly on a piece of glass.  This allows for more detail and can even include multiple colors printed directly on the gobo.  Unlike steel gobos, glass gobos have different levels depending on the number of colors you require.  The most cost effective is a simple grayscale glass gobo which is similar to a steel gobo but doesn't require "bridging" and offers the ability to have shading.

Beyond grayscale glass gobos there are also 1-color, 2-color, and full color glass gobosPlease note that while white light is not considered a color, the black blocking plate is.  This means if you wanted a logo with both blue and white light you would need a 2-color glass gobo (blue color + black blocking plate).  While it's possibly to make a gobo without this black blocking plate it will result in a washed out logo (see illustration below).

Glass Gobos and Color Plates
We do not recommend the use of glass gobos in older fixtures, such as the Altman 360Q, Altman 3.5, and Colortran 5-50.

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Apollo (all)Rosco (all)
B&W Grayscale B&W Grayscale
1-Color 1-Color
2-Color 2-Color
Full Color Full Color

Finally there is the plastic gobo option, while Rosco's Image Pro system has long provided a means of using plastic gobos with up to 575w fixtures it generally lasts for only 15-50 hours.  If you're lucky enough to have some compatible LED fixtures then you can use full color plastic/glass gobos at a fraction of the cost of regular full color glass gobos.

Plastic & LED Gobos

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Traditional Apollo (LED only) Rosco (LED only)
Image Pro Slide PrintScenic Plastic Cool Ink
PrintScenic Glass Cool Ink HD

Gobo Design

While most of the custom gobos we see are made from existing artwork (see below for details), there are templates available for Wedding gobos which show a range of different premade designs and allow you to fill in the text to suit your needs.  You can even mix and match different templates and specify alternative fonts to use.

Templates & Artwork Requirements
Apollo Wedding Template
Apollo Wedding Template
Rosco Wedding Generator
Rosco Wedding Generator

For custom artwork the image must be at least 400px by 400px and in any one of the formats listed below

jpg, gif, bmp, png, tif, pdf, psd, or eps*
(*text must be converted to outlines)

Gobo Sizes & Fixtures

Gobos can be made in literally hundreds of different sizes, while there are a few common sizes we see many fixtures have their own unique size.  While the gobo size won't change the price it is required so that the final gobo fits in the fixture you're using.  If you're not sure what size you need just let us know either the name of the fixture you're using it in or take a picture and email it to us, and in most cases we can determine what size to use.

Common Gobo Sizes