Spectrum Wavelengths: Yellow and the BIG GAME

In this installment of Spectrum Wavelenths, we were inspired by the BIG GAME coming up on Sunday to look at the color Yellow. We’ll examine how the color became a part of one team’s color scheme, how one particular Yellow is doing some good in our entertainment community and why the crew of GLEE chooses CalColor Yellow for color washes in the stage performances they capture on camera.

Whether you are a sports fan or not, everyone knows that there is a big football game coming up on Sunday involving the Pittsburgh Steelers who proudly refer to themselves as the Black and Yellow. The color is an integral part of the team’s identity as millions of viewers will see when their mighty, yellow Terrible Towels engulf Cowboys Stadium in a sulfurous cloud of fury after the Steelers score on Sunday.

The Terrible Towel

This yellow towel is widely viewed as the first of the “rally towels” and was created by famed Steelers broadcaster Myron Cope in 1975. In the beginning, when the craze was at its peak, local department stores were sold-out of yellow and black hand towels, wreaking havoc on their inventory as now they had incomplete sets to match up to their yellow and black bath towels. As Sunday’s kickoff approaches, I’m sure Steelers fans across the country will echo Myron Cope’s favorite phrase: “The Terrible Towel is poised to strike!”

The Steelmark Insignia

Yellow is also a part of the three-hypocycloid (diamonds with inward-curving edges) logo found on the Steelers’ helmets, which is also known as the Steelmark – the insignia used by the American Iron and Steel Institute. The diamond colors were originally chosen by the AISI to promote the attributes for steel: yellow lightens your work, orange (I always thought it was red) brightens your leisure and blue widens your world. I don’t know about you, but I could use a little more yellow around here to lighten my work load!

A typical Steelers fan

No – that is not a staged photo of me taken for the sake of this Spectrum post, Steelers fans just love telling the world who their team is. As fans look to support the Steelers on Sunday, another creative way to do that (without exposing your belly to the elements and your neighbors) is to illuminate a landmark or even your own house in yellow! A good color choice for this would be Roscolux #313 Light Relief Yellow. Not only is it a great shade of yellow for showing Steelers Pride, but the purchase of that filter also supports Light Relief – a charity that helps support entertainment technicians in times of hardship. Lux #313 is a pleasant ‘late afternoon’ shade of yellow with a slight tawny tint that makes it a better yellow choice to use on skin tones. Since 2005, Rosco has donated a portion of the proceeds generated by the sale of this color and to date has raised well over $10,000 to help support this wonderful foundation. To see the other charities that Rosco color filters support, please visit the Rosco Gives Back page of our website.

Rosco CEO, Mark Engel, presenting a check to Light Relief

I mentioned above that Lux #313 was a “better choice for skin tones.” Yellow is a tricky color because it’s a warm color comprised of red and green. The reason I gave Light Relief Yellow the skin tone recommendation is that it skews a little more to the red than the green. This skew is especially evident when trying to capture yellow light on camera. One of the most frequently asked questions we get from filmmakers and photographers is: What yellow color filter do we make to create a pure yellow effect? The answer is CalColor Yellow because, like all the filters in the patented CalColor system, it was developed to transmit only the specific wavelengths of color that the camera ‘sees’ to achieve purity. So, in the case of CalColor Yellow, it’s designed to have a perfectly balanced blend of green and red for the camera so that it appears yellow in your image without looking too orange or, worse yet, too green. If you’d like to experiment with CalColor Yellow and the rest of our Academy Award-Winning CalColor Range, it is available in a convenient CalColor Kit.

Rosco Yellow illuminates a performance of “Like A Prayer” in GLEE’s “The Power of Madonna” episode

For those of you non-sports fans not interested in football, immediately after the game on FOX, GLEE returns to your television lineup. This television show is unique in that they stage a theatrically lit performance at least once an episode! When they were preparing to shoot the pilot, the crew called Rosco stating that they wanted to fill their stage with pure, saturated colors and felt CalColor (along with our Storaro Selection) was the best way to go. Since then, GLEE has been an All-Rosco show!

Some of you more astute sports fans reading this post might feel the strong need to point out to me that there is another team playing in Sunday’s game that also has yellow in their moldy-cheese color scheme. If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. The fact is, this Spectrum post is written in Minneapolis, Minnesota and like all other Vikings fans, I’m dyeing my kitchen towels yellow and singing “Here We Go!” with the rest of Steelers Nation because I’m a fan of any team playing against the Packers.

Go Steelers!


Joel Svendsen

About Joel Svendsen

Content Marketing Manager: Joel's Rosco career began in Rosco's Hollywood office in 1999 – first in sales covering the Western US and the Los Angeles Film & Television market, and then as Product Manager for Rosco's Film & Television Products. In that time, his knowledge of Rosco's products and how they're used in each of our marketplaces makes him well suited for bringing the stories in Spectrum to life.