All About LED, Stage Light

What You Need To Know Before You Customize A Gobo Projector

custom gobo for art gallery

If you have ever been to a theatre or a big party, you may have noticed lights in the shape of patterns or images. These stunning displays are possible because of gobo projectors, and they are incredible for all kinds of uses. While they are sold in premade patterns, you can also get custom-made shapes.

If you plan on getting a gobo projector customized, there are a few key things to think of. Keep reading to find out what you need to know before you customize a gobo projector!

What is A Gobo?

Gobo stands for Goes Before Optics, and it is a stencil through which light can shine through to display a particular image on a flat surface. This template can be in the shape of any object, and its main purpose is to change the shape of the light.

What You Need To Know Before You Customize A Gobo Projector

The Design

The reason you’re probably customizing a gobo is to have a unique design printed. This can be a particular logo, initials, or even words. So, before you customize a gobo projector, make sure you’re 100% sure about the design you want.

Determine The Size

Gobo size

Choosing the size of your design is a pivotal step in the customization process. You must decide this early on. This will vary based on what you plan on using the gobo for, as well as the space that is available to you. 

There are four standard sizes that the gobo comes in:

  • B Size, which measures 86mm
  • M Size, which measures 66mm
  • D Size, which is 54mm
  • E Size, which measures 37.5mm

If you do not need a very detailed design to be projected, you can choose one of the less standard sizes, such as 28.6mm or 24mm. These are perfect for chunkier designs or blocky ones, while the standard sizes above are better suited for patterns that require more precision. 

Type of Gobo Projectors

There are multiple types of gobo projectors available in the market of various materials. Make sure to figure out which type of projector will work best for your needs.

1. Transparency Gobo

This is the most commonly used style of the projector. These are made using high-quality, thick glass with same-day turnover times! In addition, the gobo goes through a heating process which makes the dark colors very vivid, ensuring a clear projection. 

These gobos also come with color variants, so if you require a multicolored projection, the color transparency gobo will do the job just right. The vividity of the colors remains true for this one as well, and this is why it is so popular amongst corporate clients. If you want to project a logo, this gobo does it well. 

While these are a great all-around option, it should be noted that you can only get these to work if the light fixtures are specifically made for transparent gobo projectors.

2. Steel Gobo

The steel gobo projector has the templates cut out into the steel, allowing the light to pass through it. Both the steel gobo and the light fixtures needed to work it are also much more affordable when compared to others.

Steel is a strong metal, so these gobo projectors are quite durable if you will be using the same gobo for an extended period; using steel guarantees no small accidental damages.

One drawback is that the steel limits how accurate the patterns can be. For example, in the case of letters, some will require connecting lines such as the letter A or Q, among many others. This means that the projection will not be as clean as that of the transparency gobo or glass gobo. 

Since these are inexpensive, companies manufacturing them may not have proper designers on board, which means you will need to choose easy-to-make designs, or they may ask you to pick from their personal collection of patterns. 

3. Glass Gobo

For those who need the most precision and accuracy in their projected designs, the glass gobo does the job phenomenally. Glass gobo projectors come in black and white, greyscale, and colored variants. Therefore, when deciding what you need the projector for, it is imperative that you choose whether the color is at all important to you. 

The greyscale lets the intensity of the color change depending on how much light is passed through the template, while black and white do not even do that. The color glass gobo comes with one, two, three, or full-color options.

While glass gobos are the most expensive of the options mentioned, they also work the greatest with intricacy. However, due to the fragility of glass, there is more upkeep required to protect it from scratches, and these are easily broken.

Of the black and white, greyscale, and colored options, the latter is pricier than the other two because of the work required to make it. 

Tools You Will Need

Even if you have the right lights for the gobo projector, you cannot work it until you have some other equipment. Therefore, you should look into obtaining all of this before you receive your customized gobo or even before you order it.

1. Projection Surface

You need a flat surface to project the image onto. Plain walls or projection screens are the best options for this. 

2. Profile Fixture

To focus and zoom the image projected, you have to use a profile light so that it can take the gobo’s light into its own light path. 

3. Gobo Holder

The gobo must stay still while you project your image onto the surface, so you will need a holder to keep it from moving.

Summing Up

Once you have gone through your requirements for your customized gobo projector, you are ready to actually go through with it. Make sure to spend enough time deciding how important precision, vividity of colors, and durability are to you. Once you know what you want, the entire process will become much quicker and will leave a smaller margin for error.


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