Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Friday Photo

Color correction.

Gels come in all colors, but the two types that we use most often are CTO (Color Temperature Orange) and CTB (Color Temperature Blue).

These aren’t any ordinary colored gels – they actually correct the light’s color temperature, making a tungsten light color balanced for day or an HMI lamp color balanced for night (night exteriors are usually lit with tungsten lamps).

The color temp gels come in full, half, quarter and eighth, which gives one the ability to decide just how corrected that light should be. Extra blue-y backlight in that night scene? Probably an uncorrected HMI standing in for moonlight.

This particular example is an HMI (balanced for daylight) with full CTO, which means that on film, it’ll look like a tungsten lamp.

Filed under: Photos, up all night, Work

2 Responses

  1. Dave2 says:

    No rose-colored glasses? :-)

  2. Scott Spears says:


    I really like your photo of the CTO in from of the HMI and think it would be a good example of using gels for the film seminars I teach periodically, so I was wondering if I could use it in classes with your permission?

    I’ve loved your site and have steered some of my students who are interested in the grip department or some just thinking about the LA film biz to get an insiders view.

    Keep up the good work and I hope work picks up for you soon. I lived in LA for almost 10 years before finally landing back on Ohio running my own video biz and I know how sucky it can be when work is slow.


    Peggy sez: Of course you may use the photo.

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