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05-19-2008, 05:24 AM   #1
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Use of gels on flash

Hi all,

I am reading Joe McNally's book "The moment it clicks" and he appears to be a very big fan of using different gels on flashes. I was wondering if it was possible to make them myself from cellophane wrap. Any other ideas would be greatly appreciated.
Oh - I have the 360 and 540 flash units

thanks in advance,

Bill

05-19-2008, 10:42 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by fula6 Quote
Hi all,

I am reading Joe McNally's book "The moment it clicks" and he appears to be a very big fan of using different gels on flashes. I was wondering if it was possible to make them myself from cellophane wrap. Any other ideas would be greatly appreciated.
Oh - I have the 360 and 540 flash units

thanks in advance,

Bill
You could make your own, but if you are trying to use them to balance the flash colour and the room natural light, it would be infinitely easier to use the gels that are appropriate.

If you are using the gels to get neat red or blue or ... lighting effects, use anything.
05-19-2008, 02:16 PM   #3
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i would NOT use anything but real gels near a flash head. have you felt the head that comes off of a flashbulb? they can even melt gels, which are designed for use with hot stage lights. cellophane will definitely melt to your flash head
05-19-2008, 02:46 PM   #4
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I often use cello "gel" with no problems. One neat effect with flash filter is to use the filter on the camera lens to create a custom white balance, then put the filter on the flash head. The custom white balance on the camera will cancel the tint on the flash at the DISTANCE for which the flash is set, but the background, if there is enough separation, will take the color of the custom white balance, eg red with a red filter...It's a lot of fun for special portrait occasion.

05-19-2008, 11:47 PM   #5
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It will work!

I do not forsee a problem using gels or any colored material in front of a regular flash.
A standard hot shoe flash only creates heat for a split second. Even my ftz 500 and 540 take 4-5 seconds to recharge with the external power supply. plenty of time to cool off.
You can not shoot fast enough to melt a gel with an on camera flash.
You might look up a company called Rosco, (They even have a branch in New South Wales.) They provide their vendors with little gel sample books that are just the right size to tape to you flash. The best part is; they are free.
Here in Sacramento we have, Sacramento Theatrical Lighting, and it is where I get mine. As well as the full sized gels too, and studio equipment rentals ETC...
[url=http://www.rosco.com[/url]
05-20-2008, 01:09 AM   #6
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The flash is made of plastic which doesn't melt so why should plastic filter (gel)?
I'm after flash filter only to balance flash with tungsten lights. The problem is I can't find a simple orange plastic sheet while a sheet of gel costs as much as UV filter. For now I settled down with an orange piece of plastic cut out of CD box. It brings flash very close to tungsten light.
05-20-2008, 02:47 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the responses guys! I am wanting to do a few things with the gels including experimentation.

QuoteOriginally posted by High Roads Photo Quote
I do not forsee a problem using gels or any colored material in front of a regular flash.
A standard hot shoe flash only creates heat for a split second. Even my ftz 500 and 540 take 4-5 seconds to recharge with the external power supply. plenty of time to cool off.
You can not shoot fast enough to melt a gel with an on camera flash.
You might look up a company called Rosco, (They even have a branch in New South Wales.) They provide their vendors with little gel sample books that are just the right size to tape to you flash. The best part is; they are free.
Here in Sacramento we have, Sacramento Theatrical Lighting, and it is where I get mine. As well as the full sized gels too, and studio equipment rentals ETC...
[url=http://www.rosco.com[/url]
Thanks for the tip High Road - I have been onto their site and ordered some samples.

QuoteOriginally posted by flyer Quote
I often use cello "gel" with no problems. One neat effect with flash filter is to use the filter on the camera lens to create a custom white balance, then put the filter on the flash head. The custom white balance on the camera will cancel the tint on the flash at the DISTANCE for which the flash is set, but the background, if there is enough separation, will take the color of the custom white balance, eg red with a red filter...It's a lot of fun for special portrait occasion.
Sounds like an effective scene flyer - I will give it a go.
05-20-2008, 02:14 PM   #8
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you can't melt the plastic? hmm. Dave Hobby might have something to say about that.

05-20-2008, 02:17 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by High Roads Photo Quote
I do not forsee a problem using gels or any colored material in front of a regular flash.
A standard hot shoe flash only creates heat for a split second. Even my ftz 500 and 540 take 4-5 seconds to recharge with the external power supply. plenty of time to cool off.
You can not shoot fast enough to melt a gel with an on camera flash.
You might look up a company called Rosco, (They even have a branch in New South Wales.) They provide their vendors with little gel sample books that are just the right size to tape to you flash. The best part is; they are free.
Here in Sacramento we have, Sacramento Theatrical Lighting, and it is where I get mine. As well as the full sized gels too, and studio equipment rentals ETC...
[url=http://www.rosco.com[/url]
i'll agree to this to a point. you CAN melt other material in front of a flash, but theatrical gels, like i suggested, are designed to withstand the heat of hotlights, so are resilient to the flash, but can still crinkle from the heat
05-22-2008, 04:12 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by OniFactor Quote


you can't melt the plastic? hmm. Dave Hobby might have something to say about that.
That was a Nikon.
If you use your flash non stop (even at reduce power), you can melt athe plastic, BUT it takes a LOT of burst, so you might fry the flash tube or the capacitor first.
05-22-2008, 06:24 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by flyer Quote
That was a Nikon.
If you use your flash non stop (even at reduce power), you can melt athe plastic, BUT it takes a LOT of burst, so you might fry the flash tube or the capacitor first.
my point is, if you can do that to the PLASTIC, think of what it can do to a thin gel, over the front. and who cares if it's a nikon? like a pentax flash somehow puts out less heat for the same amount of light produced, lol
05-22-2008, 11:24 PM   #12
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I've used gel filters on the front of a Metz 60 series flash with no melt downs. The Metz puts out a whack more heat than the Pentax 540.
Remember that theatrical gels are designed to stand in front of spot lights for long periods of time and not melt, but even real gel filters are robust enough to stand up to a flash unit.
People have been doing this sort of stuff for decades without blowing themselves up.
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