Rosco Spectrum

Sharing ideas through the prism of Rosco.

Remember you can always find product info on the Rosco website

Posts Tagged ‘fluorescent paint’

Halloween is a time for ghosts, get-togethers and of course CANDY. If you want a unique treat for your Halloween party this year – might I suggest some blacklight candy:

This candy will sharpen you up and make you ready for a bit of the old ultra-violent:

Ummmm… I mean… ultra-VIOLET.

One of the most frequently asked questions we receive at Rosco, especially around Halloween time, is what gel to use on theatrical fixtures to turn them into UV blacklights. Unfortunately, my brothers and sisters, the tungsten lamp in those theatrical lights does not have the Ultraviolet energy needed to excite the fluorescent and phosphorescent pigments you want to make glow.

Sure, I can suggest R383 Congo Blue combined with R375 Cerulean Blue that will effectively remove the visible and let the UV pass; but filters only remove wavelengths of light – they can’t put energy into the beam that doesn’t already exist. That’s why those cheap purple ‘blacklight bulbs’ sold at novelty shops around the country never work – there’s no UV in there!.

What you need is a source rich in UV to begin with – like fluorescent bulbs, metal-halide, CID and other arc sources or an LED flashlight like Becky used in her candy video above. Using gels on sources with high amounts of UV is problematic though because the extra ultra-violet will make the dyestuffs in the gels fade ultra-fast. However, installing Rosco’s new Permacolor #3660 UV Pass Filter in front of a UV-rich source will do the trick perfectly. The formulation of the filter necessitates us to coat both sides of the glass, so this filter is more expensive that the other colors in the Permacolor range – but its dichroic formulation will hold up for many hours inside your newly created blacklight.

In the above video, I placed a piece of the Permacolor #3660 UV Pass dichroic filter into our X24 Effects Projector, which has a UV-rich metal-halide source, and projected a ghostly blacklight effect onto some UV sensitive spider web material I bought at my local Halloween Superstore:

Blacklights are only effective when they shine onto materials that will fluoresce, or excite under UV light. Rosco manufactures a wide range of paints and tapes that will glow brightly when you hit them with blacklight.

UV effects are often associated with Halloween and nightclubs. But an imaginative designer found that blacklight solved his director’s dilemma while mounting a production of Eurydice by Sara Ruhl. The director wanted the stage floor to be a solid color for the ‘Overworld’ scenes and have an abstract water concept for the ‘Underworld’ scenes. Designer Gregg Buck used Rosco’s ClearColour to paint the abstract water design on top of the solid colored floor:

ClearColour goes on clear under normal light and appears as bright fluorescent colors under UV – so, in the ‘Overworld’ scenes, the stage lights are on and the blacklights are off, leaving the floor a solid color. The blacklights come on when we enter the ‘Underworld’ scenes and the floor transforms into the abstract water effect. To learn more about how Gregg Buck created this scenic element for the Department of Theatre and Dance at Sam Houston State University, click here.

Similarly, a church production of Phantom of the Opera needed a solution for their set design because they have no way to move larger set pieces off-stage. They had to look for creative options, like ClearColour UV effects, to take their audiences from the Paris Opera House into the Phantom’s Lair using the same set pieces:

Christian Youth Theater Group’s “Phantom of the Opera” set design before adding UV paint

Rosco ClearColour used to enhance the Phantom’s Lair by accenting the organ pipes and rock mortar

Full stage shot with ClearColour Red and Yellow creating lines of fire along the rock wall, and ClearColour Blue highlighting the mortar of the rock wall

If you’d like to learn more details about how Jim Kumorek used ClearColour to create his Phantom of the Opera set piece, check out this month’s Church Production Magazine.

Whether you’re adding a blacklight effect to your stage production or just making your pumpkins fluoresce at home – Happy Halloween from all of us at Rosco!


In this final Spectrum chapter examining Rosco’s 100 year history, we continue to look at the events that influenced Rosco’s development and, in turn, shaped our industry. So far, we’ve learned how Rosco got its start and how gel, gobos and fog machines were introduced. As of today, we have several hundred products from ten different product lines – many of which have their own story of how they got folded into the Rosco family of products.

For example, the original Roscopaint line was inspired by conversations with painters who wanted to “clean up” the use of dry pigments and who hoped Rosco could devise a simpler solution without sacrificing the colors available in dry pigments.  The first Supersaturated product was a colored concentrate sold in pods that a user would add to a white or neutral base.  By the 80s, this system had become popular among scenic artists giving Rosco, traditionally a lighting company a new foothold in the scenery market.  Seizing an opportunity, Rosco acquired Iddings Paints, a 50-year old maker of popular scenic casein paint.   After this, the Rosco scenic paint line expanded rapidly,  soon including Off Broadway, Fluorescent paints and Roscoflamex fire retardants.  Today the entire scenic line includes scenic paints, specialty primers, clearcoats, coatings and brushes.

In addition to theatrical paints, Rosco has developed specialty paints for TV and film applications. Rosco Video Paint is widely specified as the standard for Chroma Key as well as digital bluescreen and greenscreen effects.  Fun fact:  Chroma Key Green is our best selling paint, surpassing even the most popular theatrical colors & primers!

Noted British lighting designer and gobo guru, David Hersey conceived of interesting lighting effects that could be created if only he could rotate two gobos together inside an ellipsoidal.  Armed with this idea, Mr. Hersey and his development company, DHA Lighting, engineered and began manufacturing some of the earliest gobo rotators.  Building on our already established gobo relationship with DHA, Rosco recognized that other lighting designers might use such a product if we made it available to them.  Rosco brought the DHA Gobo Rotator, AMU Effects Wheel and other effects devices to designers and technicians around the world.   Rosco’s Double Gobo Rotator is, to this day, the most robust gobo rotator available and continues to get specified into jobs that need a bullet-proof machine to spin their gobos.

Our venture into gobo rotators inspired us to work hand-in-hand with more lighting designers to innovate new accessories and create unique lighting effects.  This style of collaboration has spawned many of Rosco’s top-selling lighting accessories like the I-Cue, iPro Image Projector and X24 Effects Projector.

For years, theatrical lighting fixtures were wired with a rudimentary 2P&G “pin connector”  which hadn’t changed in eons. That connector was difficult to wire, arced and shorted easily and had the ergonomics of a brick.  Richard Glickman, a bright engineer who had worked with Rosco on previous projects came to us and said “I can make this better.”  Dick’s design was fast and easy to wire, a sure electrical connection, comfortable to hold and use and the best example of improved product design.  Rosco’s Stage Pin Connector was wildly successful and that original design, now widely imitated by competitors, is still in use today.

You rarely see anyone walking around Rosco’s halls wearing a white lab coat, but we are Rosco LABORATORIES for a reason – we innovate and develop new products for the entertainment industry.  As we wrap up this final chapter focusing on the products and stories of Rosco’s past, it’s important to examine some of our recent innovations that will shape and direct Rosco’s future:

In Color Filters:

Dichrofilm – a line of dichroic coated plastic that can be installed on extremely hot lights for extended periods of time.

In Gobos:

Continued development into our glass gobo capabilities allowing us to create spectacular imagery for projection.

In Dance Floor:

A portable sub-floor system that does not need to be permanently installed allowing studios to take their floor with them when they move.

In Lighting Equipment:

The X24 Effects Projector that started off as the best water and fire effect generator on the market and has grown as other effects like Northern Lights get added to its repertoire.

In Fog:

The Delta Hazer is a water-based hazer that leaves no residue, with excellent coverage and operates quietly enough to run during the performance.

In Scenic Products:

CrystalGel‘s capabilities to glue and coat multiple substrates, along with our new, easier-to-use, line of Roscoflamex Flame Retardants have captured the adoration of scene shops everywhere.

In Photo, Film and Video Products:

The recently re-designed LitePad range of products has recaptured the global attention of users including hobbyist photographers and Academy Award winning cinematographers to illuminate their imagery.

The title of this History series is “The First 100 Years.” By combining Rosco’s extensive range of products – designed to help creative people do their job with a cast of knowledgeable people to support and sell the products into the market – undoubtedly, there will be a piece written in 2110 entitled “The Second 100 Years.”

Stan Miller’s “The First 100 Years” booklet of memories is available for download on our website.

When you work for Rosco, Halloween is the best holiday of the year! It’s the one time of year we get to show off to all of the muggles (non-entertainment folk) what we do. When the cheapo fog machines hit the Target/Wal-Mart shelves, we get to turn to our friends and loved ones and say “That’s not a REAL fog machine.” THIS is a fog machine!

Rosco's Delta 3000 Fog Machine

Halloween is also the season for fluorescent paint. Sure you can buy some one oz jars of it at your local hobby or craft store – we do that too in our three fluorescent paint kits – but we also sell it by the GALLON! Last year, I took one of our VividFX paint kits and painted my pumpkin, plus I added some of the VividFX colors to a small bucket of pumpkin seeds to make my Puker Pumpkin.

Joel's Puker Pumpkin - painted with VividFX Paints and lit with a small blacklight LED

Don’t forget about ClearColour, Rosco’s unique line of fluorescent paints that appear completely clear under normal light and fluoresce brightly when bathed with UV-rich blacklights. Check out this ghostly triptych of Mr. Vincent Van Gogh painted by scenic artist Joan Newhouse with ClearColour.

Left: Normal Light, Center: Normal + UV, Right: UV Only, painted by Joan Newhouse, freelance scenic artist

LED’s are a great way to add a little light to your scene without ruining all of the eery darkness. However, the beam of an LED is often so directional that it’s hard to get them to achieve a subtle glow. This is where Rosco’s LitePads come in extra handy – especially our 3″ Round unit. I used it in place of a candle in one of my pumpkins last year to make this particular pumpkin stand out:


I also ducted fog from the Delta 3000 into the back of this pumpkin. So, the different color temperature and the smoke gave it an electrocuted effect.

Cinematographer Pablo Rosso also wanted a way to add subtle illumination to his actors without flooding the dark, brooding set in last year’s [Rec]2 so, he simply applied 3″ Round LitePads to the uniforms of his SWAT units:

LitePads on the SWAT Uniforms in REC2

The LitePad affixed to the SWAT uniform helps illuminate the zombie girl without adding extra spill to the dark set of REC2

Nothing can bring the creepy into your Halloween decor like modifying the lighting. Another element I added to my yard last year was an X24 bathing my front yard. I swapped out one of the standard effects gobos, replaced it with a Cyan Ripple Colorwave and set the speed ultra-slow on both gobos. Throw a little fog into the yard to show off the moving beam of colored light and you’re sure to draw the trick-or-treaters in.

X24 adds a chilling effect into Joel's Halloween decor

Filmmaker, and horror effects master, Robert Hall used our X24 to add some hydrophobic suspense into his online, thriller-series Fear Clinic for The series premiers online October 26th – but as our gift to you, enjoy some videos from the series and look in the background for the X24:

Are you using Rosco products to enhance your Halloween or YouTube horror movie? Share what you’ve got on our Rosco Facebook Page

Have a fantastic Halloween from all of us at Rosco!

Beheaded! Joel as Robespierre and his wife Kim as Marie Antoinette with cake