Gobo Lighting – What is it?

You may not have heard the term gobo lighting, but you’ve probably seen its extraordinary effects in theatres, entertainment venues and particularly on dance floors where lighting designers can manipulate shapes to create moving light images.

Events by Knight are experts in stage effects and the moving image. We know how best to combine the two to really bring a themed event to life. Gobo lighting is fun, popular and can be custom made to reflect brand images, logos, numbers and lettering in a multitude of colours and effects. The use of gobo isn’t new, but it’s an art which has been transformed by advances in technology and can now create far more detailed and impressive shapes than ever before.

So what is gobo lighting?

Here we lift the lid on the gobo, what it is, how it works, what it’s used for and its unique ability to bring a tailor made lighting solution to any event.

The term ‘Gobo’ is an acronym which stands for ‘Go Between Optics. It is a small stenciled circular disc, used in lighting fixtures to create a projected image or pattern.

Go Between Optics describes the location where it needs to be positioned in the light path of a lighting fixture to create its effect. Gobos are either made of steel or glass. Steel gobos are basic, have a short life span and are typically black and white, whereas glass gobos are more detailed, have a longer life span and are described as coloured. A third type of gobo which is emerging onto the market is designed for LED fixtures and is made of plastic.

Diameters of gobos range from approximately 20mm to 150mm depending on the fixture its used with. If used with a static fixture, projected images will be stationary, but if installed in an intelligent fixture, the image can be moved throughout the event space.

How is gobo lighting used?

Gobos are used with projectors and light sources to create lighting scenes. They may also be used for architectural lighting, interior design, etc, projecting a company logo onto a wall for example.

Events such as corporate functions, gala dinners, award ceremonies and product launches increasingly use gobos to promote their branding and give their event an attractive visual presence. They’re also used at wedding celebrations to feature the bride and groom’s names or initials on walls and dance floors, with the actual glass gobo later being given as a souvenir or memento of a memorable day.

Why use gobo lighting?

For promotional effects, gobos are far more modern, fun and aesthetically pleasing than banners and corporate signage. They’re also far more versatile as they can be used to create moving patterns, images and shapes. Think falling leaves or raindrops, snowflakes, etc, they’re vibrant, relevant to your theme or event and audiences will love them.

How do you create a customised gobo?

Three things are needed to create a customised gobo – a profile fixture, gobo holder and projection surface – which come together as follows:

The profile fixture is the light which takes the gobo in its light path and focuses and zooms the gobo.
The gobo holder holds the gobo in place within the profile light.
The projection surface is the dedicated area where you’re planning to project your gobo on – a wall, a drape, a dance floor etc.

Effective gobo lighting really can bring an event to life. Whether you’re planning a corporate function, a private event or a family celebration, talk to our event planners today on +44(0)203 130 4040 or contact us via the website.

We’ll be delighted to talk you through gobo lighting, how it can enhance your event, make it stand out from the crowd and contribute to a memorable and successful occasion.