Steel versus Glass Gobos

Gobos are becoming more and more popular for corporate events, special events, weddings, trade shows, etc. When ordering a custom gobo, there are several things you need to keep in mind. You have four types of gobos (or custom monogrammed projections as some companies call it):

- Steel

- Glass

- 2 Color glass

- Full color glass

Of course, as you go down the list, you increase in price. Here is standard MSRP pricing for each.

- Steel ($89.00)

- Glass ($160.00)

- 2 Color glass ($355.00)

- Full color glass ($585.00)

**Plus shipping**

The reason the price increases so much from glass, and exponentially as you add colors, is that glass is a very intricate manufacturing process. The logo is fused into a dichroic glass. Especially when you get into the multi-color gobos, the process becomes more and more intricate. With multi-color you have multiple dichroic glasses within a central glass structure. Even though glass is more expensive, it has some significant advantages. Here is a brief comparison of glass and steel custom gobos.

Image Sharpness

A glass gobo in a standard theatrical fixture is night and day difference when it comes to the projection sharpness. Often a steel gobo has a "flaring" effect due to the optics of the fixture. See how in the picture below the scrollwork on the left part of the "A" appears slightly blurry? When you use a steel gobo, you will have this effect, especially on the outer parts of the image, as those are out of the center of the optics on the fixture. With a glass gobo, you won't experience that. Many people will place a theatrical "donut" in the gel frame holder when using a steel gobo, which helps, but doesn't completely clear up the image. The flaring is more noticeable on text in custom gobos.


Steel gobo in standard theatrical fixture


Theatrical "Donut"

Tabs, or Bridges

With a steel gobo, you have what is commonly known as "tabs" or "bridges". Think of it this way ... you can't have any free floating items. The best way I can describe this is to think of the letter "O". If you think about this from a projected standpoint. The black portion would be cut out and be what is physically projected in light. That being said, the circle in the center would be blacked out by the steel. In order to do it in steel you have to have a connector point holding that piece. With glass you do not. Many companies are extremely picky about the appearance of their logo since it is their corporate identity so they often opt to go with glass, even though it is slightly more expensive. The red circles on the image below illustrate the bridge/tab in steel versus glass.


Metal versus glass illustrating tab, or bridging

Multi-Color Capabilities

There is just something to be said about a multi-color gobo. They are often very elegant and can be very impressive when used. You can also maintain a companies' corporate identity by keep the same color placement, scheme, and appearance with the projected gobo.


One color design and two+ color design

Turnaround Time

Due to the extensive manufacturing process of glass, the turnaround time is longer than steel. More importantly, the cost for last minute rush orders is much higher as well. Rush cost on a steel is $65.00. Rush cost on glass is $175.00. Here is the general pricing breakdown for rush steel and glass gobos. For the timeline below, pretend like you place the gobo order on Monday. Timeline is for business days only. So if you order on a Friday, don't pretend like Saturday is day 2, it is Monday since manufacturing does not take place on weekends. You can still have it delivered on Saturday, you just incur another fee, Saturday delivery fee.


Monday - Place order with Sound Source. Artwork provided or approved by 2 pm CST

Tuesday delivery - Gobo charge, rush charge, overnight shipping

Wednesday delivery - Gobo charge, overnight shipping

Thursday delivery - Gobo charge, two day shipping

Friday delivery - Gobo charge, 3 day shipping

After - Gobo charge, standard shipping

Glass Monday - Place order with Sound Source. Artwork provided or approved by 2 pm CST Tuesday delivery - Not possible Wednesday delivery - Rush charge, gobo charge, overnight shipping Thursday delivery - Gobo charge - overnight shipping Friday delivery - Gobo charge, 2 day shipping Monday delivery - Gobo charge, 3 day shipping After - Gobo charge, standard shipping The beauty of gobo shipping is that they are small. So shipping charges are minimal: **All prices are approximate and may vary slightly at time of order** First Overnight - by 8:30 am - $99.91 Priority Overnight - by 11:00 am - $43.35 Standard Overnight - by close of business - $40.35 2 day - $30.27 3 day - $24.83 Standard - $15.00

Well there you have it. Just a little information and things to keep in mind when ordering a gobo. Contact our sales team if you have any questions when ordering a gobo, or need advice. Sound Source Productions Voice: (256) 513-4739


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