Lighting with Gels

Lesson 12/17 - Shoot: Creating Gradient Color


Lighting with Gels


Lesson Info

Shoot: Creating Gradient Color

Coming over here to our set, let's just take a look at what we got. Kinda staged and got things a little bit ready for us. In this guy we got the teal gel, we got it taped in there, right? He's actually doubled, this gel, so we'll see if we like that. I believe that's how it was. Single magenta up top. And, this is gonna give our grade in the background a sort of gradient. And Godfrey will be modeling for us again. And, I think ... We're gonna start with the main light, which will be this one, so Chris will get that on. Want to again, be mindful of the modeling lights, you know the modeling lights will melt the gels, it gets pretty hot, these lights, so we will turn them off and we will be kind of choosy with them. But, we need them to kind of focus and to see the light in the beginning. And, if I could get my man Godfrey over here, that would be awesome. This is so I can stand on something, because you're so tall. Alright, and I think I'm actually-- Since he's so tall, I'll be able to...

get away without this arm on the C-stand, Chris. Yeah, I think so. Yeah. Glad you concur. Good to be on the same page. Same page, yeah. You know, I think, Chris we want to take that just a little bit more from this side of the shot. Sure. God, let's give him a chair. Just because he seems so out of reach when he's just looming over me. (laughs) Don't even know if I can light that high. I think, Godfrey, on that light you're gonna have to go back a little bit. Cool, and let's center that light to the background, Chris. We won't turn that one on yet, we'll just deal with this yellow one. We'll just build them one at a time. Cool, so we're gonna come in with this guy. Chris is gonna get his light meter. And this is, what is this? Twenty degree grid on the front, right Chris? Yes, it is. Okay. Alright, so it's not the narrowest, and it's not the widest. Is this the widest? No, this one's the narrowest. The narrowest. Okay. So this is a five degree grid. Other way then. Okay, it's the tightest grade, right? Yup. You wanna pop, sir? Come in reading light. 22.3. Alright, that's way too much. We wanna come down. That fades great, right? That's what we say. That's 8.7. 8.7, okay cool. Let me come down here. Wait wait wait. Let me get rid of the power and read it once more, Chris. That's 8.2. Okay, cool. Alright, we'll live with that. That fade is great. So, bring that one in. Hit him right here. I'm looking for my catch light, just wandering it around, seems like it could be a little bit lower. Cool. Right on. And I'm gonna take this guy off. Can I get that model light on for just one more second? Just so I can focus. Great. Cool, let's bring your head a little bit over this way. Okay, perfect. Eyes to me. Okay, I gotta turn my wizard on. Turn my model light off. Turn my auto-focus on. Work it out, Clay. Lunch has me slowed down, Godfrey. Just slowed me down. Alright, sweet. Okay. So we're just looking at what that yellow light's doing. Looks a little under. We have the blacks crunched up right now. Where are we at right now? That's where we're at right now. That's just plus a stop of exposure. Okay, cool. Alright, so I just should come up on this light a wee bit? Yes, you should. Alright, let's try one more. Great. Then we just shoot a little bit wider, make sure we have enough room here. Alright. Looking good? Mmhmm. Okay, cool. So what are we being careful of? One, trying to be careful that my light doesn't spill all over my background, right? That's one thing we've been looking at over and over again. Doesn't really have the flavor or the sauce that we want it to have yet, or the ... You know, just the simple one light, it's gotta be the light with the gel on it, it's not really going anywhere, but how do we build it up? The first thing I'm gonna deal with is my background light. And let's just show this studio audience our proper light. Alright, and I kinda want to get that glow-ey sort of over-lit to dark look on my background. So, I'm gonna over-light it down here, and then that gradient is gonna come off. So, I have just a regular reflector on there right now. I'm gonna see how that looks. You ready? I got you. Oh, you do? Yup, so that's eight. Sorry, 2.8. That's 1.4. Let's just check it. Let me see it. That's just the background light. Just the background light, Chris. Thank you. So we're just looking at the background light, seeing how that gray is. It could definitely come up a little bit, Chris. Maybe come up two stops. Sort of an abstract, strange shape there. That's 5.65 now. Okay. I'm keeping my camera set to where my main light was. It's not dark enough. Let's try throwing the grid on that, Chris. I think it's spreading out too much, so I'm going to put a pretty wide grid on there, kinda focus it so it doesn't fan out so much. Ready. Yeah, I'm gonna try this. Cool. Yeah, let's tilt it down as it pulls all the way back. And can we come up a little bit in power? Yup. You tilted it down? You wanna stop? You're bringing it up in power? Yeah. One stop and tilt it down. You got it. So these back lights, you kinda gotta finagle and wiggle and you know, it's a lot of panning, tilting. I think that even the model light there will help just us demonstrate it a little bit, Chris. Just turn it on for a second. Sure. Cool, could we feather to the right a little bit? Cool, so now I can start to see a little bit more what's happening. Actually to the left. Yeah, cool and let's come up a little bit in power with it, Chris. Alright. That was about half a stop. And I do think the gradient is a little bit tricky, because it can look good, or it can look a little bit horsey and gimick-ey sometimes. I don't know if you've messed with it, so I think it's a fine line. It's starting to look good for me, like just a good glow back there. Let's go up one more stop, Chris. Done. Alright, cool. I'm having a heck of a time focusing this. That's looking beautiful for me, right? Let's bring in the yellow light again, any questions here at this point? Any questions online? Anybody wondering about my background light? Wondering how we're getting that glow nice? It's looking sweet. And what is that abstract shape? Looks like a strange ... Clay, one question from over here. Technical question. When you add the grid, does it lower the exposure? Anything you put in front of the light is gonna lower the exposure. Half stop? Stop? Or you just kind of test it out? It's gonna depend on the degree of the grid. A five degree grid is a lot of little dots, right? It's a lot of little holes. That's gonna probably eat more than a stop. Whereas a wider grid, bigger holes, not gonna need as much light. But they're all black things going in front of the light, and they're all gonna take away and subtract some light. ProPhoto is making these new ones. Can we shoot those new ones, Chris? Sure. They're making these new ones that are just like this and they slide right over the head. These are a little bit too small for my purposes, but they, I think they're really just trying to make stuff more and more portable for everybody. And less and less gear. But, these are I think helpful. And, you know there's crazy people online that paint straws black and make these out of straws. Have you seen those things? So, I'm all about a-- I teach a demonstration in frankenlight where we make our own beauty dishes out of lasagna pans and stuff like that, right. Cause it's like, who says that, I mean, I like this gear. It's great, well-made gear, but who says you have to spend so much money on a beauty dish? You can, and I encourage you to do it. Make your own. You go ahead, shoot that, Chris. Go ahead. Just focusing for you. Go ahead, shoot that. Yeah, make your own light modifier. Alright, it's looking good. Looking better, looking better, looking better. It needs more flavor. You know, and this is maybe, sometimes as far as people get with gels, they kinda stop here and are like, "Oh, I'm lighting with gels." I don't know. It's not enough for me, you know. I want to go bigger, harder, stronger. So, what we're gonna do is Chris is gonna fire up that beauty dish from the back corner. And if we could get a closeup shot of it, remember it has that nice purple gel on it. And, of course, because I want it to be a focused light, I don't want it to be spilling everywhere, everywhere, everywhere. Actually, let's just shoot it the way it is and see how it fs stuff up. I can say that, right? I can say, "F stuff up", right? I hope so. (laughs) Just see what a nightmare it creates for us. Did it fire, Chris? Yeah. Is it ... What power setting is it set to? Looks like 3.1 or 3.7. Yeah, let's bring it up a bunch. Like, to two stops maybe. That's two stops. Alright. Great. Is it really firing? Yup. Really? I don't see it at all. Do you guys see it at all? [Audience Members] Yeah. Yeah, you do see it? Okay, I'm looking for it. I'm like where is this thing? A little bit, alright. I hardly see it. You wanna walk it in? Can you pan it? Where is it at now? Right now? For power? Yeah. You're at like, 5.1. Alright, let's go all the way and max it out. Let me just see it obnoxiously strong. We there? Oh, yeah. Maybe it'll do something ridiculous that I love. (laughter) Let's give me a good look, just pivot out a little bit. Just face away, face away. Cool, turn your head this way, chin up high. Chin over a little bit more. Gimme some eyes. (laughs) (audience laughter) Follow me, like this way here, chin down just a little bit. Let me just see this guy. Let's see what's happening here. I don't think ... I think I need to put a grid on that background light. I think it's just crazy, too much everywhere, right, spilling, kind of killing us. Yup, totally. So, throw a grid on that, Chris. Yeah. Yeah, and I want it to just graze the side of his face a bunch more and maybe not be so much on his head. Let me see what the position of his-- You wanna walk to the side a bit? Um, let me see. Yeah, walk it this way a little bit more out. So, right now I think ... How would we do this, right? Right, so the edge light's a little bit too here right now. I'm bringing it out to the side to just bring it more around the side of his face. Probably gonna have him turn into it a little bit, too. So, yeah, it's all edge light back here until it gets over here and then it's side light. So, we wanna keep our edge lights back here. I also sometimes don't like when they jump on the nose. When they like, spill all over the nose. But, that can work or not work, it's a case by case basis. You feel good in there? About to be. Tight, tight? Everything tight? Yeah. Okay. Groovy. So, again, it's spill. It's contamination. It's that rigamarole. You feel good about where that thing's turned? Pan it just a little bit this way, Chris. Thanks. Great. That's still at max power. Might be too much but we'll see. Coming back a bit. Sometimes I worry my face is gonna seize up like this. Like I'm just gonna lock up like that. How we looking? Chris, you wanna come over here and talk to me? Sure. I need some counsel. So, you got a lot of spill on the shirt again. A lot of spill on the shirt. We want it more on his head, correct? Exactly. So that means we can raise up the light a little bit and angle it down. But see how important it is that we have a mid-tone that he's wearing. So, like, how much more the mid-tones grab tones than maybe something black, if we threw something black in there, it wouldn't be picking up as much color. So, wardrobe is effective here. Here, let's tilt that light up a little bit more on his head. And Mr. Godfrey, just give me a little bit like this. You've got some wild beard hairs just wrangling crazy. Okay, great. I feel like the intensity could come down maybe. Let's just bring it down one stop, too. You got it. Two stops or one? Just one stop. Thanks, Chris. You're welcome, Clay. (laughter) Alright, tighten up hard. Trying to do the game face, the ice grill. Actually just bring your head down a little bit. Think deep thoughts right there. Without moving your head too much. Yes, that's what I want. I think this light's gonna be too high, but we'll see. And bring your chin up. Just like, let's leave the light there and just bring it straight up, straight up. Yeah, and just let it kinda fall back here. Like I'm a mirror, so it's not so much back this way, it's like a little bit more to the side. Not so back this way. Follow me like I'm a mirror. No, you're going straight back. I want you to come ... Alright, Chris has got it. (laughter) (audience laughter) Yup, now look at me. Yup, perfect. You can turn your head a little bit to me. Yeah, I think I liked where it was more. Like stronger in power. Here? Yup. I do like this look you're giving me there now. I think we can work with this one. So you wanna go up a stop? Let's go back up a stop, and now I'm gonna add my magic teal and all these colors are Mrs. McBride approved. (laughs) Alright, bring that in, Chris. Thank god Chris is here. I couldn't do this without him. Aww. Yeah, Chris. Yeah. (audience claps) I'm here all week. (laughter) We brought the magenta back up, eh? Yeah, we brought it up a stop. Okay, beautiful. I'm feeling this. Yeah, it looks like 2.85 on this fill right here, Clay. On this fill? Yup. Okay. I'm gonna do something a little bit weird with this light. I'm gonna take it and I'm actually gonna point it, just so I'm just grazing the side of his face over here with it from the back. So, it's a little bit like an edge light, very broad, and I just want it to all pick up over here. I'm worried that this yellow is a little bit broad for me, Chris. You wanna tighten it up? I think I might like ... Where's my model light? Oh, there it is. I might have you just bring your hands over here for a second, just to shape it a little bit. Sure. So this could be again, cinefoil that we put into place, but I'm just having him, seems a little broad, I want him to subtract it, make a little bit more of a narrow beam. So, he's just subtracting a little light there. We brought in our teal. And let's go back to where we were, where we were like ... (grunts) Coming back here. Alright, is the teal working? Stronger? What do you think, Chris? I think it could be stronger. What do you guys think? Stronger. The audience says stronger, let's check it. Yeah, it doesn't look as saturated. What's it looking like over here? Oh yeah, definitely needs some play. So you wanna go up, maybe a stop? Yup. And now I think the background, as I get ... As I sit in that box and I get lower, it changes my glow on my background, too. It's like that needs to come up a little bit taller. I'm coming up a stop on the teal. Up a stop on the teal. I'm bringing up this a scosh, my background light. Yup. Tilting up. Roger and Willco. Right on. We're subtracting some of that light. And I think ... Oh, over here it's looking sexy. Yeah, that's starting to look good. Let's come up ... Can you come up two thirds of a stop on that back? Maybe a half, half on the back? Just a little bit more punch on that background. So, I hope this is kind of addressing some of your things with the primary colors and kind of bringing it back. Do you want the mic or anything like that? Complementary, okay, right on. These are complementary with the yellow and blue, though, right? Yeah, the Easter, right? Purple and blue would be Easter I guess. Purple and yellow. Purple and yellow. Thanks, Chris. I'm not thinking. Perfect, perfect. Oh, he's got the good look. Can we get a stop down slightly? I think we're a little hot, but keep bringing that away. And let's bring my-- I'm actually gonna come down a little bit on my main light. Yup. And see what happens here. I came down a stop. We checking this? And can we compare them, Chris? Sure. To the ones before? Yup. I'm just gonna push this up, just a touch. You guys can look over my shoulder a bit. It's looking pretty fierce. Actually, I think the magenta light's a little hot. Yeah, I think we need to bring the magenta light down or just move it a bit more behind him, so it doesn't spill onto his face and his nose so much. Yeah, let's do that. Let's do both. And let's bring that teal back up. Yup. I like where the yellow is now. And then we should just knead her slowly and see where everything's at, Chris. Mmhmm. Bellissimo. Sweet. Right on. Let's check it over here. Keep looking there. Oh, that's looking fantastic. I think the glow is a little bit, it's getting a little bit supernatural and hero-ish, but, you know, for a cover of a magazine, I think that a lot of times that's where they want things. They just want the guy to seem hero angelic. We just gotta get his intention to be with us a little bit more. It seems like Godfrey ... It's just gotta come a little bit more, we gotta work on his modeling. Alright, you gonna take some of that away? Yup. You think so? Okay, cool. Right on. So let's bring a little bit more to the side. Do we want that light around the back a little bit more? We changed that magenta the way we want it? I brought down a stop, moved it back just a touch. Okay, great. Let me just see you look kinda straight up at the ceiling. More a little bit over this way. Chin towards the yellow light. Yeah, perfect. Chin down a little bit. Eyes about here. Yup. Let's see that. How's that shaping him? Had to go back one. Oh yeah. Back one? Mmhmm. It's so hard to do upside down. (laughs) And backwards. It just doesn't make much sense. There we go. That's looking fierce. Alright, Godfrey, let me just see you put up, the hand up right over her by your chest. Look up. Yeah, perfect. All the way up. Yes, alright Chris might be in my shot a little bit. Now, look to me. Chin down a little bit. Okay, give me some fire in them eyes. Come to me now. There we go. Beautiful. Square off to me now. Yup, and let's bring the chin down just a little bit. And head this way. Actually, let's turn towards this green light. Yup, see how it looks from this side. You can raise that light down, high up and down. Cool. Head comes over here towards that green light a little bit. Beautiful, right on. So I'm just like, I don't know if that yellow's my key anymore. What if I turn him away from that yellow light, what happens there? I actually turned the light off. Yup. By accident. Let's leave it back on though. I think on is cool. And I think that light ... I don't know, it's working. This is working. Yellow is back on. Alright, so let's just see those two poses side-by-side and see how they change. Sure. So you wanna see this one and this one? Yup. Yeah, a little different. I don't know, that purple is looking kind of intense, huh? Do we feel that way? Wanna trade it for something maybe? I could trade it for a different color, or just bring down the intensity a bit. What do you think? I was gonna say, it had too much purple in it. Too much purple. Too much purple. Yeah, whereas the yellow and the teal are working nicely together. (audience chatting) What's that? Flag the purple? Yeah, so it's not everywhere. So they're thinking they just want it to hit here. Oh, okay. We have a pose for just hitting it on the side of his head, we have a suggestion over here of what? No, I just wondered which pose you want, 'cause one is towards the middle ... Yeah, I'm just looking at how the light can kind of change just depending on how the model's turned with these gels, right? And sometimes, when we set lights up, turning the model will just give us a completely different look, completely different setup, right? You know. Personally, I like that one. This one on the right? Use the mic? Pass the mic around? Trying to repeat what they're saying. Personally, I like the one on the right. You like the one on the right? Is there a voting? You have a suggestion? Give him the mic. Color-wise, is there a reason why you chose the yellow gel light as your key instead of bare? Like, did you just choose the yellow for it to complement the teal and the pink? Yeah, I thought the yellow, teal, pink would work well together, but this is looking a little bit too strong. I wonder what we could do about that, right? Let's just take the grid off. And let's, I don't know, I'm gonna be crazy here for a second. Let's tilt it up. And just have it rain down? Yup. And dial it ... Can we dial it down a bunch? Sure. It was at nine, now it's at six. Okay, let's take this dirt bag off while we bring it up. Alright, now I gotta put this dirt bag back up here. Does it feel like it's gonna stay there, Chris? Feel safe? Feel safe? I just wanna tighten it a little bit more. Okay. Tighten it where? Right here. There you go. We might get some weird flair here, too. It might work. Might be great, Chris. Let's hope so. (laughter) Alright, bring your head in. Perfect. Yeah, I feel like that's a little less crazy and supernatural for me. I was looking over here. Yeah, a lot better. Much more subtle. And the exposure could come up slightly. Yeah. Alright, perfect. And let's, I know we've been doing it all day, but maybe we just, would you mind taking your shirt off again? The gels look so good on your skin, you know? They, you know, just sucks up your skin. I think the background light could use a little tweaking. Yeah, you want me to push it up? What are you thinking? I'm coming down with it. Coming down with it, alright. Yeah, it's looking a lot nicer. And in these past three, Godfrey's really turned on the smolder, which is working. Yes, he's turning on the smolder. Let's do him standing up, like the full chest, and get those. I think we're gonna have to turn off this model, Chris. Could you kill that model? I can't until I tighten that. Alright, I got it. You could pull that chair out, Godfrey. Cool, let's ... That background light, could you flatten it out a little bit? We'll move that there. Sweet. Okay, working it out, folks. Cool, I think we may need a black card. If you could even just grab one of those flags, Chris. Yup. So we've been using huge black flags all day, but this flag could very easily live right here for me, Chris. Just let go on the bottom. Let me just put it where I want it. Cool. Yeah, and just give me the hands down here. And the head, just kinda tilt it. Maybe this arm comes up a little bit higher. Yup, your head tilts towards that green light a little bit. Yup, great. We're getting some flair now. Whoa. Yeah. That's neat. Yeah, we just need to work on the hair. The skin is where it's at, right? You know? You wanna get to the fast track of gels, do some nudes I think, right? You know? And I think there's no better way to study light than studying nude figure. When we taught that at my other school that I taught at, I just thought that like, how you see the light and how it moves across the body is incredible. Alright, so this is looking better. That background light, Chris, I don't like how it's still spilling over here too much. Can you just tether it back? To the right? To the left. Towards the teal light. To the left, got it. Just ever so slightly. Yup. Cool, but you know what we need? We need another color, right? We need something coming from the bottom.

Class Description

Color has a way of making the ordinary extraordinary. In this course, Clay Patrick McBride will explore the power of gels. He’ll show how to light and create dynamic images by balancing and accentuating color.


Vitamin Dee

Great class if you're wanting to learn how to work with gels! This class will take you through the process step by step as you build your shooting playbook. I enjoyed Clay's honest and simple approach. Clay and his assistant, Chris, make a great team as they show how gels work and show you what not to do. They make learning fun!


Enjoying every minute of this class.

Doug Richardson

I found Clay's classes and teaching style worked very well for me. For example, Clay's method of first testing one light in a multiple light set-up and the adding the other lights one-by-one was great. I recommend this class for anyone working to add different lighting styles to their work.