“We’ve all walked into a wedding and seen a large, looming, empty space in the middle of the ballroom. Some call it a dance floor; I call it a canvas.”
~ Tommy Evans
In the past few years, everyone has been talking about GOBOs (also called a lighting monogram or projection). And, almost every couple we talk to – at some point – ask us about a GOBO for their reception. Let’s cover what a GOBO is, and if you need one…
What is a GOBO?
Why spell it GOBO and not gobo? The word “GOBO” stands for “GOes BefOre”, so it’s technically an acronym of sorts, and my High School English teacher would probably hunt me down if I didn’t observe the rules of the English language! A GOBO is simply a template placed in front of a lighting source used to control the shape of emitted light. Most GOBOs are made of steel, and provide a white (light) on black (surface) appearance. These are the most economical, although there are glass GOBOs that have don’t give that “stencil” look, or can even provide high-resolution, full color imagery. These are often impractical for weddings because of the cost.
We also have a couple of other options available, that you won’t find with most wedding entertainment companies. We can put your image on a ImagePro GOBO Slide. This is a good substitute for a glass GOBO. It’s much less durable, and is only rated for about 24 hours of projection (which is perfect for a wedding). The cons is that the black areas aren’t perfectly black, and they’re not quite as bright (but really close). The cost is the same as for a steel GOBO.
Lastly, we are the only company to offer Environmental Projection at our events. This replaces the traditional theatrical fixture with an LCD video projector, allowing us to custom-design graphics to fit your space. The source now is still imagery or even video, allowing subtle movement, animations, or full rate video to be displayed. This is the most technically challenging (which is why other companies won’t do this), may require more equipment, requires more time to plan and deliver properly, and is more expensive. But, I will say, the results are amazing!
What type of design can I do?
Most of the steel GOBOs that we design for clients are a monogram, or maybe an elegant graphic with their names and date. The options are quite endless here, although a steel GOBO is cut like a stencil so there are some limitations as well. Another popular option is to do a texture (also called a “breakup”, though I don’t like to use that term when we’re talking weddings) on the dance floor or canvas. This may give the look of moonlight filtering through a tree, or something more abstract. There’s a huge variety of patterns available.. An ImagePro Slide can be most anything, really.
Do I Need a GOBO?
Here are a few questions to consider:
1. Will you have a canvas to project it on? While many couples choose the Dance Floor (and it does help give purpose to that space before the dancing starts), once your guests begin dancing, then you won’t be able to make out the GOBO design. You an also opt for a wall or other space, just be aware of any distracting elements such as exit signs, thermostats, etc. If you are considering a GOBO, we would be happy to visit your venue with you to discuss a suitable canvas.
2. How dark will it be? If you are planning an afternoon reception in a ballroom with a lot of natural light (like at a Country Club with a beautiful view of the golf course), then it may be too bright. Projecting a GOBO on a wall that will have up-lights may cause it to wash out as well. Environmental Projection definitely requires a lot of control over the lighting in the space
3. Do you have a Theme that you want to carry through the reception? A GOBO is often a good way to tie your invitation into your reception by including your monogram or “logo”. I remember one couple that had a “Sherlock Holmes / Travel” theme. So, their GOBO was there initials around a compass point.
If you have any other questions, please ask.
What can I expect to pay?
Our rates for a custom GOBO design, production and projection run around $250.00 for existing clients. Standard patterns are usually less, but may average out because you usually need more than one. Environmental projection starts around $1,000 and goes up, depending on the projectors needed and the amount of design work required.