What is a gobo?

Bermuda shorts
Forever cursed with the mark of Bermuda.

One time I was working an event for the Bermuda Department of Tourism and wasn’t paying close enough attention. I took a gobo out while it was still hot and got half of the word “Bermuda” burned on my hand, kind of like that guy from Indiana Jones. Does that answer your question of what a gobo is?

Just kidding, a gobo is a stencil or pattern placed in front of a light source and projected onto a surface. It’s commonly used on walls, floors and drape. It’s a relatively cost effective option for branding events.

Tree gobo
Here’s an expertly drawn example of a christmas tree gobo on drape

You might consider using a gobo for an organizations logo, or something specific to that occasion. (For example, some internal projects have their own logo, or a quarterly slogan or motto) Gobos can also be used for decorative purposes, either graphics related to a theme (“Christmas”, “James Bond”) or abstract patterns.

Most audio visual companies will be able to get a gobo made for you, or if you anticipate using them often you can get some yourself and travel with them. (They’re only a couple inches across) The lowest cost gobos are monochrome steel stencils, but it’s possible to get glass gobos with fine detail and many colors.

Have a question? I’m glad to help!


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