WHAT In The WORLD Is A GOBO?

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By Nolan Apostle
Contributing Editor, Producer, Photographer
Event City Premier Magazine
January 8, 2013

Happy holidays and a wonderful Happy New Year to all from the EVENT CITY NETWORK! We wish the best for you and yours in this beautiful new year! I have had the opportunity, numerous times, to discuss the world of Events and Event Production over the last month or so, specifically the discussion of Decor and Ambiance. Being a major fan of lighting and the use of Gobos, I brought this up numerous times. It was unbelievable to me the amount of people, some of them veterans in the biz, who had no clue, in fact most of them would say something to the affect of, “What the heck is a Gobo!?! So I thought I would delight you with a little bit of information of what a Gobo is and does.

Here’s some information about what a Gobo is:

A GOBO is derived from “Go Between” or “GOes Before Optics”, it is a physical template, usually cut from metal, slotted inside, or placed in front of, a lighting source, used to control the shape of emitted light. This Gobo template can be inserted into various lighting fixtures to project a silhouetted type image. It works by blocking light around your Gobo, allowing light to pass through your image only, or in some cases, around your image, as in the original BATMAN SIGNAL – was this the original Gobo?? This results in a light projection of your “cut-out” image.

Bat Signal, the original Gobo?  Image

Gobos are usually circular and made of either glass or thin metal. The meta Gobos are much more popular in the world of Theatrical Productions, Concerts, Parties, Corporate Events, Meetings, Trade-shows, Weddings, Special Events and similar projects. They may contain a logo, words, symbols, patterns, texture, color, or a picture.

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This Gobo holder with inserted Gobo has a snowburst pattern.

Gobos are used to project images, logos, special shapes, designs, many times used for branding, sometimes for artistic purposed, decor, ambiance and has become popular over the last few years for weddings.

Image projection is a powerful medium because light can be breathtaking and eye-catching. That’s why using Gobos can be a great way to reinforce a theme, convey a message, or promote a brand. Gobos are also widely used to enhance the look of a space or event venue. For these applications, rather than using a logo or monogram, you’d choose a pattern image for your Gobos. There are thousands of patterns to choose from, but you can also design your very own Gobo pattern.

They can be called various different titles, and whether you call it a Gobo, lighting template, pattern or even “one of those light thingies,” the professional term is Gobo.

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Some of the Partners and Founders of Event City have used Gobos throughout their careers to create dramatic effects on walls, sidewalks, buildings, tabletops, ceilings, curtains, floors, side of vehicles, many different places – even on Clouds, by using patterns to project light in specific designs ranging from the wildly abstract to amazingly true to life.

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The Event City Marketplace Channel can help you create your own custom Gobo, Shadow stands, light boxes and more for any use whatsoever through our membership network of fine Gobo creators.

Now that you know what a Gogo is and what it can do for you it is time to design and have fun creating your first Gobo! View our images to help you get some ideas how a Gobo can enhance the decor and ambiance of your overall event experience and in the mean time you can also visit this Wikipedia Gobo link for more information.

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