Light Theatrics Steel Gobo Basics

16th Mar 2016

Over the last several weeks I have had clients that were interested in using gobos but really didn’t know what they

were or how they are used.  Although there are several different styles of gobos I thought that the best place to start

would be with steel gobos since they are the most commonly used.

According to Wikipedia a Gobo is:

A physical stencil or template slotted inside, or placed in front of, a lighting source, used to control the shape of

emitted light.

In the easiest terms a Gobo is merely a pattern that is placed inside of a lighting fixture that allows the fixture to

project the pattern as light.

Gobos are an easy and cost effective way to increase the production value for just about any event.  Here at

Light Theatrics we offer custom and standard stock gobos manufactured by Apollo Design Technology.  Apollo’s

online catalog is loaded with tons of premade, standard steel and glass gobos.  These gobos can be made in many

sizes to fit a variety of lighting fixtures.

Steel Gobos

Premade steel gobos are generally the most affordable.  These are small disks of metal that are laser cut with a

premade pattern from the Apollo catalog.  Standard premade steel gobos go for about $13 each and won’t break the

bank.  The one downside to premade steel gobos is that you are at the mercy of what is available in the

Apollo catalog. 

Samples of Apollo premade stock gobos:


Even though there are hundreds of premade steel gobos available for just about every occasion, you may find that

there is nothing that will work for your specific needs.  That is where custom steel gobos may be your next option.

Custom Steel Gobos

Custom steel gobos allow you the opportunity to use your own artwork to be made into a gobo. Custom gobos can be

utilized by anyone for any type of event.  Most commonly we see these used by DJs, wedding planners for custom

monograms and event planners for company logos or special events & occasions. The cost for a custom steel gobo

is $71.47 for each original piece of artwork that is submitted with duplicates available for $26.70ea.  Although the

affordability of custom steel gobos makes them a great choice to add flair to your event there is one thing that needs

 to be taken into consideration when working with them and that is the artwork.  Custom steel gobos can be limited by

 the intricacy of your artwork. If the artwork that you need produced as a steel gobo has many fine lines or cutout

spaces, it may need to be reworked and adjusted to make sure that the image is able to be held together correctly. 

To do that Apollo will add tabbing to areas that will help to keep the image intact.  Although this may sound limiting,

Apollo has had years of working with artwork and will adjust the tabbing to get the best image possible.  If you are

unsure as to how your artwork will have to be changed you may request an "Artwork Proof" at the time your order is

placed.  Artwork Proofs can take from 2-3 days to make and you will need to take this into consideration if you are

working with a deadline.


For not a whole lot of money steel gobos, either premade or custom, can add to the look of just about any event or

occasion.  Although this is just a short explanation of steel gobos we are always here to answer any questions that

you may have.  Feel free to contact us Monday thru Friday from 9AM to 5PM EST and we would be happy to help in

any way that we can. 

Light Theatrics


Be sure and keep an eye out for our next post as we'll be talking about glass gobos.