Shoot: Split Gels, Warm and Cool Color


Lighting with Gels


Lesson Info

Shoot: Split Gels, Warm and Cool Color

All right, beautiful, eyes to me just a little bit, turn the shoulders slightly towards me. Yeah, perfect. Arm a little bit lower here. Yeah, let's look a little down towards your arms there. Beautiful, all right. Trying to make some art here, man, that's what I'm doing. Yep, let's look down towards your arms too. Yeah, beautiful, that's it. (shutter clicks) Any ooh, any aahs, any like aaaaahhh? Okay, thank you, I need that. Question, microphone, please stand up. I have a question here. Yep. So what would happen if you were to gel, say half of a beauty dish with one color and gel the other half with another? Yeah, we're gonna look at that half-half situation right here. Oh i thought they were just layering multiples. Layering multiples. You would get a mixed light, you're talking about that? Yeah. Yeah, I've had mixed success with this sort of situation. Although we'll try this in a second, right? Yeah, this is what you and I tried the other night, with the slit throu...

gh the middle, remember? Yeah, I tried to put a little white slit through the middle, 'cause I wanted a little white light, and a little red on this side, and white on this side, but let's just take a look at where we're at, Chris, and concur and talk and... Did our yellow go away? Our yellow went down a full stop. It's just not very intense. Okay, I'm gonna bring it down just a little bit. Sure. Yeah. Cool. And I'm just spotting it, 'cause I don't have my model lights on 'cause of these damn gels. Just kinda looking at where it is, and tuning. All right, so there's some crests, we'll try these double gels. I tend to find that when I try this sort of thing, they just kind of mix and become one color. But we'll take a look at it, right? Maybe it'll go somewhere that I didn't know. (shutter clicks) Great, and look at me Godfrey. Yeah, and just bring the head like kinda back here. Yeah. (shutter clicks) Something changed dramatically, how my background light? Yeah. Yeah. It's just a bit of flare from the beauty dish in the back. Okay. I can flag that if you'd like. Is it coming on me? Yep, it's on you. All right. We don't have a lens shade here? I can get it for you. Yeah just get me the black flag over the top. Just, that stuff always happens, correcting that stuff's real easy, right? Especially when I have a long lens. Lens shade would be ideal. Chris is just gonna come right up in here. Mm hm. It would be really better if he were a C-stand and not a human being, right, 'cause a C-stand, he can do other things instead of just being my card. All right. (shutter clicks) Yeah. (shutter clicks) That's gonna get rid of it. Right? Gone. Actually, just turn the shoulders a little bit more towards me. Right, and let's, can you just look your head back over that shoulder, and look down towards that silver cord. Yeah. And eyes to me now. Like, just roll out your head there a little bit. Just relax it, reset yourself, shake out your hands, whatever you gotta do, yep, thank you. Yep, and rock your head towards this way. Thanks. Perfect. Yeah. (shutter clicks) Just give me some fire in the (mumbles) (shutter clicks) Yep, thank you. I know my card's a little bit in that shot, but that's... The card's in my shot, it's definitely blocking the light. I even like that little bit of flare coming in from the top, I think it's working. Yeah. Right? Would you mind showing us a side by side, before the flag, and after the flag, and talk to us why you made that decision? Yeah. Thanks. Sure, if I'm not mindful, and I just include that light a little bit in my shot, see I'm gonna get a lot of flare and spill from my shot, which may be an effect you're going for, right? A lot of people do that sort of thing and it works for them. But it is flattening out my color and killing my saturation a little bit, right? Yeah. So could you step over this way just a little bit? Yeah, and turn your shoulders a little. Yep, perfect. Just want to try to work out that... Seems like my background light just went bananas, right? Might have got nudged. All right. And now we're gonna add the card. Right on. So the card is just casting a shadow from that purple light onto my... 'Cause the problem is in this shot, is the light's passing directly into my lens, right? So this next one, this black card's gonna become just a flag, it's just gonna knock that light right out for me. All right, I think this is my problem, I'm not centered here. (shutter clicks) Great, okay, perfect, right on. You see the difference then, let's just go side by side, right? I have a question. Yeah, question? And that light behind him, like it kinda needs to be adjusted every time he moves a little bit, needs to be tilted and shaped again. Right, it's better on the right than it was the left. On the left, it's totally misshaped, on the right it's starting to look better again. Question. Let's say you didn't have a Chris, you didn't have flag, you didn't have Cinefoil, and all you had was a lens hood. Would that solve the flare? Yeah, or would try to do this, right? I'd just try to throw my hand up there, right? Good. And deal with it that way. (shutter clicks) Right? Pretty much there, right? So, or I'd just, that's how I would deal with it. Lens hood's always gonna be your best, halfway there, right? We want to try one of these half-half lights, is that the plan? And then move into the, okay. So you can just take two seconds if you wanna just kick it right over here. Let's just take this guy off. Sure. You want to swap this for the half-half? Actually, I'm gonna put 'em close to that light blue background with the half-half. Yeah we'll change that to the half-half. (equipment crackling) Clay, we have a question from the internet, from Saheed. Can this type of gelling be done with speed lights? It can, and there's a great photographer named Pari Dukovic, who does a tremendous amount of work, he works for the New Yorker magazine a lot, he works a lot with speed lights and he kills it with speed lights, right. The one thing you can do with speed lights that's awesome is you can zoom them, right, spot them out, on a good speed light. You can also wrap them with Cinefoil and make like really good snoots on them with just some black foil or black paper. So yes it is possible, you may need to be turning them all the way up when you use thick gels, and you may need to be cranking up your ISO a bunch when you're using a lot of gels, 'cause they're just not as bright as these lights. Right on. So let's check this. Maybe we just kill our other lights so we're only looking at this. One at a time? Yeah. And I'm just gonna throw this cord over there for a minute, Chris. Yeah. All right. So this is Holly and Dee's idea, is that right? Okay, so the Holly and Dee double light extravaganza. All right. So this to me already, it feels like July 4th for some reason, right, you know. It's got that sort of firework quality to it, you know. Just when I think about the colors that are baked into... Where am I? (light beeps) So we'll just try this out. If it's an epic fail, maybe they can lose it from the program, right. Just end up on the editing floor. It's showing photo pods. Yeah, well it looks pretty cool on that background there, right? Like it's looking like it should be great. (light beeps) And I'm gonna try to shoot it... Here. And then somebody had an idea about a soft box too. Did you have an idea about a soft box too, that we want to check out, just while we're checking out here stuff? Come on over, Godfrey. I just thought a beauty dish might work because you're separating the ways in which the light is moving. So here you have red and blue light right next to each other moving in the same direction, whereas you have the internal bounds to help separate colors. I just think it might be a little better. It might be a little bit better. We should probably get you on that, be over there rustling in the corner if you want to do that. All right can we give 'em, there's a beauty dish there, right? Yeah. There's a whole bunch of gels and a scissor over there, and let's just throw a roll of tape at him. Does he have tape over there? Nope. Let's give him some tape. T-Bone, catch. (man laughs) Right on. Hey, you know what, just step out a minute. Hey Chris, I just wanna roll this paper out, could you do that with me. Yeah, do you wanna gaff it? Or just put it down with (mumbles) Gaff would be great, or a couple of (mumbles) I can do two No I want 'em right up against it, so with a hard angle. Just like that? Yeah, let's just do this for now. Here's one more. Okay. And could you go to that little bit of a wider lens, Chris? Sure. Coming up. All right, experimental lighting with Clay Patrick McBride, your host Godfrey, right over here, yes. Yes, yes, yes. Oooh. See if we can make this work. Want a meter? I do, I'd love a meter reading. Is this the only thing that's firing right now? Yep. You ready? Yep, go. Five six two. Five six two. All right, I'm gonna do a little bracket in case it's a little bit wonky. Who's got the game face on now? (shutter clicks) Is it? The top one looks the best, I think. Let's see it over here. I can't judge that. Let's see the top one there, Chris. Right on. That's some kind of digging. What was that exposure, Chris? That was just plus 1.7, which is what we had left over from before. What was my exposure at the camera, five six? At meter? Yep, yeah. Mm hm. Right on. Yep. Is there another full apple box there for me, Chris? I can get you one. Just 'cause I want to be a little bit more... So definitely doing some crazy weird voodoo up there, right? You know, it's got some strange fallup on it. Boom stand would be great for me, but I'm just gonna live with it. What if I shoot through the gels like this? That's crazy. (laughs) Right? (shutter clicks) okay, how we looking? Saturated. Saturated. And did it just kinda like blend into one color in a weird way, right, but with the edges, oh no, that's looking pretty weird. Yeah? Yeah. All right? So, question? Another thing I was thinking is maybe 'cause they're already flooding inside of the reflector, maybe a piece of Cinefoil in the middle to divide the colors so that they... Yeah, that gets into the thing, when you start putting stuff here, it doesn't do anything to the light. Not even behind the thing? No it's like, if you wanna, like... Yeah. Yeah, it doesn't, it's not gonna really subtract it away. I mean you could play with it, but I know that's a dead end street. Microphone over here. Yep. What if you added another ungelled light to kind of add some dynamic and make it less saturated on him? On his face? Yeah. Right on. That's a possibility. We use this tightest, tightest, grid, right? We use white light from this light. And improv here. All right, I can even use a mono light, which is awesome. Right? Did you know you were gonna have your shirt off all day? (Godfrey laughs) Did you see that comin'? (Godfrey mumbles) Yeah, okay, all right. 'Cause I do it at home every day. (Clay laughs) All right. I lost my grip, Chris. I got it, Clay. Thank you so much. Bless you, Chris. Bless you my friend. There you are. All right, yep, let's go up a little bit higher with it, tilt it a little bit down. Is this what you're thinking? Okay. All right. And we might have to read that a little bit? Yeah, let's turn off that one. I'll just pan it out. Hard to do. Yeah, not really, if I do this. Perfect. Okay. Okay, you ready? Uh huh. (light meter beeps) Five six six. And the other one was five six, huh? Mm hm. All right. Let's try, we gonna be starting even Steven, and see where they go. So if we read 'em together I think it's probably gonna be F8, let's read 'em together, Chris. Sometimes when lights are equal in power... F8. And they get combined, they become greater, right? When they're equal in power. So it's F8. (shutter clicks) Give me some adjustments there, Chris, a little zoomed in, I think. Yeah. Right on. (shutter clicks) So, four. That's where we're going now. So you can see it does lighten up the face a little bit. And we're definitely hitting the body. Can we get the arms crossed there a little bit? Yeah. And what I could do is, I could maybe pull this guy down so the white light's cleanly hitting his body, and I'm just gonna pull this down, kinda feather it off so it hits below him a little bit more. It's almost like a reverse... And eyes to me. (shutter clicks) Take a little step forward. Yeah, and that's gonna be a lot hotter, right Chris? (shutter clicks) Right on. Wow that's crazy. I don't know if we're going anywhere good right now. I wouldn't say so. No, it's nowhere good. Nowhere good. All right. So that's the white light phenomenon. Can we see where we started there? With this? Yeah. This was just a split light in half, you know. It's kinda doing what you think you're doing, but it's not really gonna divide it, since it's so close to the light, right? This is the same thing with the gels very close. This is shooting through the gel, which is crazy. Kinda like how that looks just 'cause it's so weird. I've noticed there's been uptake in use of half-colored filters for the actual lens. Do you have any experience with that in comparison to using gelled lighting? I've used gradient filters for sky, like, ND for sky, to bring sky down, right? But not the color filters? I definitely used to have a ton of like, just weird diffusion filters. I stopped using them over the years, yeah. The picture of Norah Jones was shot with blue on the lens and blue on the lights, you know. So sometimes I will do that, I'll put a color on the lens, color on the lights, and just go somewhere really monochromatic and crazy. But never the half ones, you know those fun filters. I do like those things, those really kinda horsey filters like star filters. I love trying to make those things work for me in a good way, those things that are real kinda cliched fun filters. I don't know, I nerd out on that stuff and try to make it work. How we doing over there, Picasso? He has that task with the beauty dish that I was working on last night, which is an actual nightmare to have to execute. Okay, right on, so he needs a couple of minutes. Any other questions on light? One time for a technical question from Jay wanting to know, that you're using the 1000-watt D2s. Would the 600s bring you down too far, or could you... No, you could, you know, you might just need to bump your ISO up a little bit, but you know, 500, a thousand, all good. Do we have a rule on the ISO, like how high you wanna go, is it depending on the... Yeah, I'm not afraid, like, I'm not afraid to shoot, in this situation, I would keep it around 100 to 400, right? 'Cause we're in the studio, we have a lot of lights here. But when I work outside and on location, these cameras are so good now, right, I'll shoot at 800, 1600, I'm not afraid of that. And if it goes a little noisy, I just kind of embrace that, you know. Just a general question, like, let's say you do a shoot for a magazine or some high-end client, do they have some kind of preference on the ISO range, from your experience? No, I mean, I'm getting hired to be a gritty photographer, you know what I mean? So that kinda comes with my playbook and like it comes with the look of my work, so it's not really an issue, you know? I mean it would be an issue if I shot the entire job in JPEG and not RAW, then the client would be kinda mad at me. I've even done that in my life, you know, by accident. But the ISO, I want to deliver what's right for the picture, so I'm gonna try to hold onto my images' integrity as best I can. Is there one more question here? Yep. This is more curiosity, while we're waiting for the beauty dish. I want to have a look on the background, the split. Oh yeah, we could try that, yeah, cool. So come out, yeah. Kill the white light? No, we're just gonna bring, we're gonna need the floor stand and the backlight stand, wherever that was. I got the floor stand. Right behind you. Can you pull that? It's on there forever, isn't it Chris? It might just be on there forever, Clay. I think it's just a little janky. It might be there forever. No (laughs) There you go. There you go, great, uh huh. Thank you. Applause for Chris, applause for Chris. I know, that's crazy. All right. All right, so that's just a turtle stand with a stud in it, right. It's just a C-stand base with a stud, really low to the floor, and we won't even add the front light yet, we'll just look at the background light, see what it's gonna do, see how it's gonna behave, see what funky voodoo it's gonna give us. Because it's so low to the floor I'm gonna actually put it on this. Yeah, you can have a seat on that box, please. I think I'm just gonna probably have you feather and pan tilt that head. Ready when you are. Yep. Could you come a little bit this way on the box, just walk the whole box over too. Yeah, these four-foot backdrops, I'm not a fan of them, they get really small very quick, and I don't like working on them, but sometimes, (shutter clicks) in a situation like this where you're setting up a couple, they work great, right? So how we looking now? Maybe I'll stop down a little, I'll go to and just bracketing in the background, under-exposing it a little bit more, seeing if it will be a little bit more saturated. Maybe that gel... Does it look a little uneven or something weird going on there? Just a bit. Can we slide zoom, like flood out that hat a little bit? Sure. Is it flooded out all the way right now or... Now it is. Okay. Can we walk it back towards him a little bit more? Just trying to get the light to fall a little bit more evenly. When I walk it back away, it's gonna flood and spread more evenly. I'm also making an adjustment on the head to see if I can make it (shutter clicks) fall better there. Is it falling any better? It seems like it has a really hard line in it, right? Mm hm. Okay. Can we just... Can you hold this for a sec? Yep. (equipment crackling) Okay, I'm just gonna spin it around, and instead of it going straight this way it's gonna be right on the bottom blue and the top. Right, is that what it is, right on the bottom blue and the top clear? Yep. Okay. (shutter clicks) Yeah, see, I hate to say it, but I've never had any success when I try to take two gels on one night, you know? Yeah, I've seen it work for people. I can never seem to get it to work, right? I guess it's gonna depend on the shot you're making, but um... Let me just... Can we try it with the front light just to see what happens? Yep, it's coming in. Front light's coming in right now. Take this, Chris. Sure. All right. T-Bone, what you got, what you got for us? Half blue, half yellow. Half blue, half yellow. Gonna be easy to see. Can you throw it up there, you know how to do that? Right on. (T-Bone mumbles) Yep. Vertical split, horizontal or an angle? Your call. Really, this is your baby now. I might even make you shoot it, uh huh? I hit the wall. I hit the wall about five minutes ago. Well. Look at that. (laughs) All right. (light beeps) Should we kill the background light and just look at it by itself? Sure. Okay, right on. Can you deal with the Canon? I know you, or are you a Nikon guy, or...? No. Okay. So let's just see what you got here, did you get a good shot of that? We got half yellow, half blue. Half yellow, half blue. Okay, right on. And where would you like in position to your talent? Well really I just want to see if it's possible to get two colors off this, so... My experience, it never quite works, but you can go for it. Give a light meter reading. Sure. I'm bringing it pretty close, just we can see it better. (light meter beeps) Two eight four. Two eight four. (light meter beeps) We're gonna need more light than that. Let me come up a little bit. (light meter beeps) Five six. Five six even? Mm hm. All right, let me go to eight. (light meter beeps) Eight. Eight even. F8's great, yeah? My focus is on this button, yeah. You have that. And I might just bring in a little black flag for you. (Clay chuckles) It's not gonna be back there. Look where Chris is. Does it look a little over, under? How's our exposure? Exposure looks good. (camera beeps) Is this in your shot right now? No, okay. You've got a little bit. Yeah, you start to see it a bit here, you've got the yellow on this side and then a bit of a cooler temperature here. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, it seems like it could even be... Does it look a little hot on the bottom there, Chris? On the bottom, on his shoulder, I mean. Maybe a little bit. Yep. I was just bringing in that flag to see if we could shape that light a little bit on the background more. Off the background. Is that in your shot? Um, yeah. Okay. Now it's perfect. (shutter clicks) I'll just shoot one with it not working there, so people can see what I'm doing, just how I'm taking it up the background. Identical shot. With and without the flag. (shutter clicks) Right, so... Yeah, you can see in the flag in the background just helps take it off the backdrop so that we can have control over it. Yeah just put them side by side? Cool. See, you see the flag's just kinda subtracting all of that light. And it is giving you a little bit of warm cool out of one light, right? It is doing it. It's subtle, right. I think the problem with yours is it was really diametrically opposed colors, like the red and blue were so separated that they were kinda just messing with each other, but here in the subtlety of it, we do get kind of like coolness in the shadows and a nice warm yellow tone in his head, right?

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.