If you’ve ever visited an event or wedding and noticed the projectors making swirling patterns on the dancefloor, then you’ve seen a Gobo projector in action. Gobo projectors come in a range of different shapes and sizes and are most commonly used as staging or audio/visual equipment at events, concerts, and clubs.
Gobo projectors were once exclusively used by professional riggers and stagehands, but nowadays, there’s an increasing market for LED Gobo projectors aimed at domestic use. LED Gobos are either mains power or battery operated and offer a wide range of programming options and features.
|1. ADJ Products Projection Lighting Effect Gobo Projector
|2. CHAUVET DJ EZGOBO LED Gobo Projector
|3. YKGOBO 40W LED Logo GOBO Projector
|4. DragonX Gobo Light Projector
What is a Gobo Projector?
A Gobo projector (short for ´go-between optic´) is a piece of audiovisual equipment that most commonly uses a small stenciled circular disk to project images or patterns. The Gobo projector itself is not new technology and has been used in event and stage lighting for many years all over the world, although more recent advancements in lighting technology have brought about LED-type Gobo projectors.
There are three main types of Gobos used in the industry today: steel and glass Gobos, and more recently LED Gobos. Steel Gobos are more basic and often referred to as “black or white” due to their limited stenciling capacity. Glass Gobos are referred to as color Gobos as they can project a more detailed and colored variation of images and patterns.
We’re going to focus on LED projectors today so let’s see what they can do.
What is an LED Gobo Projector?
LED Gobos are relatively new to the market and were first introduced around 10 years ago. They use powerful LEDs to project images and patterns using a Gobo stencil, although the stencils are more commonly made using transparent film. Most of these projectors use powerful white LEDs and are favored in the market today due to their low heat output, making them safer to operate and install.
Where are These Projectors Used?
Traditionally, Gobo projectors were used in staging for events such as concerts, gala events, movie sets, cinemas, and clubs. With the rise of domestic LED Gobos, it is now common to see them used in the home or for smaller events such as weddings, music events, small concerts, small plays, and theater productions.
List of common uses for LED Gobos:
- Large events
- Theatre and Film
- Art galleries
- Business promotional events
- Award ceremonies
- Product launches
- Weddings and other social events
- Wall decorations
- Shops and retail outlets
Do LED Gobos Need A Dedicated Projection Screen?
No, while LED Gobos will always work best in environments with no ambient light and when projected onto an even white surface, the powerful projectors can often project images or patterns long distances and onto uneven surfaces. Modern LED Gobos can be very powerful and capable of projecting an image even in medium levels of ambient light.
Depending on what LED projector you need will depend on the distance, or ‘throw’ that can be achieved. There are two types of LED projectors on the market, ‘short throw’ and ‘long throw’ projectors.
Key LED Gobo Features
When shopping for a Gobo Projector, there are a few key features that are important to look out for. First, work out what you intend to use the Gobo projector for, and will you be projecting onto the floor, a wall, or another object? Are you projecting a short or long distance? This will help you decide how powerful the LED projector needs to be.
Let’s look at some of the most common features of an LED Gobo:
The LED color of most projectors on the market today is bright white in color. This provides a clear and powerful lighting source perfect for projections. An LED projector will use multiple LEDs to create a powerful enough light source.
Wattage (W) refers to how powerful the LED light source will be. The higher the value, the more powerful the light source will be. For example, a 20W LED projector will be far more powerful than a 5W LED projector, and this will allow for the projection to appear more bright.
Improvements in LED technology allow for LEDs to give out more light energy with far less heat emitted.
Low energy LED lamps can produce a far greater light output using much less power consumption than a conventional halogen bulb or other light sources. For example, a 5W LED will produce between 300-500 lumens, which would require a 50w halogen bulb to produce the same lumens output of brightness.
Another measure of brightness is lumens (lm), and a lumens rating is very common when discussing the specification of projectors in general. Lumens refers to how bright a light source is visible by the human eye. The higher the lumens value, the brighter the light source will appear.
An example is a candle is approximately 12 lumens, fluorescent office lighting is 400 lumens, and film set lighting is around 1000 lumens. Most 20W LED projectors will be capable of producing 1600 lumens, considered ample for projecting vivid images or patterns up to 20 feet, even in low levels of ambient light.
Some projector manufacturers will use a LUX rating instead of lumens. LUX is a measurement of the intensity of light. The higher the LUX value, the brighter your LED projector will be.
Many LED Gobos will come with a set of color gels, which allow you to switch the color of the light being projected. These gels are often red, green, blue, or yellow.
LED Gobos vary in size depending on the size of Gobo they use. They usually range from 20mm (¾ Inch) up to 150mm (6 inches) in diameter. The larger the diameter, the further a pattern or image can be projected without it looking blurred.
These projectors have allowed for smaller aperture (gobo) sizes, with many budget projectors offering 24mm. It is quite common for many manufacturers to offer various sized apertures for their range of projectors.
Focus And Beam Angle
This type of Gobo projector will also feature auto or manual focus options. Manual focus is usually for set images or patterns that do not move and therefore can be manually adjusted into focus. Automatic focus options are when the Gobo projector uses a swivel rig to rotate the image into different locations.
The beam angle is also an important feature to consider. Beam angle defines how wide the projection beam is; the narrower the better as if a projected image becomes too wide, it will lose detail and definition. The beam angle usually ranges between 5 and 15 degrees for most, with some projectors producing 25 degrees.
Indoor vs Outdoor Use Of LED Gobos
Depending on where you’re planning to use your projector, another consideration is waterproofing. The low heat output of LED projectors has made it far easier to provide projectors with waterproofing. An IP 20 grade waterproof casing specification will provide some water resistance although is not intended for wet conditions. IP 65 or higher rated projectors can be used in all weather conditions.
Another consideration when using a projector outdoors is operating temperature. This will usually be specified by the manufacturer and will provide a temperature range where the projector will operate at optimum performance, usually between 25F and 75F. While using a projector in temperatures outside of the recommended range is possible, it may cause the projector to work poorly, or in extreme weather environments, not at all.
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Buying Guide – Top LED Gobos
With plenty of LED projectors on the market, it can be difficult to find the best one for your needs. We’ve made this easy for you with this handy list of our best-rated projectors.
- ADJ Products Projection Gobo Projector (Best Indoor Projector)
- Chauvet DJ EZGOBO Gobo Projector (Best Portable Projector)
- YKGOBO 40W LED Logo Gobo Projector (Best All-Weather Projector)
- DragonX Gobo Light Projector (Best Budget Projector)
ADJ Products Projection Lighting Effect Gobo Projector (Best Indoor Projector)
The ADJ Products Gobo Projector is a powerful 12W LED Projector that is ideal for indoor use in venues such as bars, clubs, retail shops, and business promotional use. The projector comes with a 26.8mm Gobo size and includes 4 Gobos: 3 metal and 1 glass. It also includes 4 color gels in red, green, blue, and yellow.
There is also an FX switch that allows for a slow rotation of the Gobo and the projector IR is compatible with the ADJ UC IR wireless remote. Other features include manual focus, a super bright LED bulb with very low heat output, and a beam angle of 13 degrees. For staging and installation, the projector includes a mounting bracket and safety hook.
- Bright white LED
- Output wattage: 12W
- High-quality optics with a clear and powerful output
- Includes 4 replaceable gobo patterns (3 metal, 1 glass)
- 4 color gels (Red, Green, Blue ; Yellow)
- Gobo size: 26.8mm; Viewable size: 24mm
- Manual focus
- Very low heat output LEDs
- Beam Angle: 13 degrees
- Long Life LED: 30,000 hrs
- Lux @ 3M: 540 Lux
- Compact lightweight design
- Includes hanging bracket and safety hook
- Switchable Voltage: 120V/60Hz or 230V/50Hz (IEC type plug) / Power consumption: 12W max
- Dimensions (LxWxH): 8.5” x 8” x 4.75”/ 217 x 206 x 121mm
- Weight: 7 lbs. / 3 kg
Indoor use has been recommended by the manufacturer. It’s ideal for clubs and discos, bars, restaurants, weddings, fairs, business, and domestic use.
- Excellent quality optics using super bright LED projection
- The lightweight and compact design allows for easy mounting options
- Switchable voltage allows for 110v or 230V operation
- Small aperture size for Gobo
- Gobo rotation FX is very slow
- LED projector is not the brightest and moderate ambient light can wash out the projected image
CHAUVET DJ EZGOBO LED Gobo Projector (Best Portable Projector)
The Chauvet DJ projector is a compact and lightweight projector that’s ideal for on-the-road promotion or events. The 10W cool white LED projector is bright and perfect for indoor use and can be operated by mains power or by a lithium-Ion battery with over 5 hours of running time.
This Gobo projector is clearly marketed at DJs or wedding performers as it comes with 10 ´wedding ready´ Gobos and uses a 25.8mm Gobo size to project crisp clear patterns or Gobo templates.
Another great feature of this projector is its scissor clip with eye loop and magnetic base, allowing for the projector to be easily mounted on any metal surface with no screws required. The manual zoom also allows for short or long-throw projections, and the wireless on/off operation is available with the included remote control.
- Bright cool white LED
- Output wattage: 10W
- Includes 10 ‘Wedding-Ready’ gobos
- Gobo size: 25.8 mm outside / 18.6 mm viewable image
- Manual zoom for short-throw or long-throw applications
- Very low heat output LED
- Wireless on/off operation with the included IRC-6 remote
- Beam Angle: 16° to 31°
- Long Life LED: 50,000 hrs
- LUX: (16°) 669 lux @ 2 m / (31°) 207 lux @ 2 m
- Compact lightweight design
- Magnetic base for easy installation options
- Lithium-Ion Battery operated
- 8.4 VDC, 1 A (external power supply: 100 to 240 VAC)
- Dimensions (LxWxH): 6.5 x 4.3 x 6.7 inches / 167 x 110 x 170 mm
- Weight: 2.2 pounds / 1 kg
Ideally for indoor use only. Perfect for DJs, wedding entertainers, or for domestic use.
- Wireless remote control on/off feature is very handy
- Compact design and lightweight allow for easy mounting to metal or other surfaces
- 10 Gobos and remote control included in the package
- Very strong magnet on the base
- Battery life is somewhat limited
- 10W LED bulb is not the brightest
- 4 hour recharge time is slow for lithium-Ion batteries these days
YKGOBO 40W LED Logo GOBO Projector (Best All-Weather Projector)
The YKGOBO projector is a great option for larger-scale indoor events or outdoor events. It has a sturdy IP-65 waterproof-rated aluminum case and a 40W LED light source that offers excellent bright projection in a variety of ambient light settings.
The package includes a color glass Gobo and remote control that allows for easy operation controlling on/off and setting the pattern movement to stationary or rotating mode.
- OSRAM LED (cool white)
- Output wattage: 40W
- Lumens: 3,200
- Includes 1 replaceable glass Gobo pattern
- Stationary or rotating image projection
- Gobo size: 37.5mm
- Manual focus for short or long throw projection
- Very low heat output LEDs
- Beam angle: 15 degrees
- Long-life LED: 35,000 hrs
- 2900 lux @ 3m, 1250 lux @ 5m
- Sturdy aluminum frame and waterproof casing
- Switchable voltage: 85 to 240VAC
- Dimensions (LxWxH): 12.56 x 8.03 x 7.91 inches / 31.9 x 20.4 x 20.1 cm
- Weight: 7.71lb / 3.47 kg
Ideal for large indoor or outdoor events. IP-65 rated waterproofing allows for year-round operation in a variety of weather conditions.
- Super bright 40W LED allows for excellent projection in various ambient light settings
- Includes a glass Gobo in the package
- The remote control allows for easy operation
- IP65 Waterproof
- Excellent projection range: Bright 40ft, Dim 65ft, Dark 100ft
- Heavy-duty wear-resistant glass lens
- The projector is quite large and weighs over 7 pounds
- Not easy to mount, requires additional clamps to mount securely
- Additional Gobo lenses can be expensive
DragonX Gobo Light Projector (Best Budget Projector)
The DragonX Gobo projector features a cool white 7W LED bulb with an extended life of up to 50,000 hours. The projector carries an IP-65 waterproof rating making it ideal for indoor or outdoor use in a range of weather conditions.
The projector also comes with a 360-degree swivel option allowing for easy installation and positioning of an image or pattern. Included in the package are 6 replacement Gobo films and 2 empty films that can be easily customized using a laser printer at home.
- LED (cool white)
- 8mm high definition optical lens
- Output wattage: 7W
- Includes 6 replacement films and 2 empty films for customizing
- Stationary or 360-degree rotating image
- Very low heat output LED
- Long-life LED: 50,000 hrs
- IP-65 waterproof casing
- Switchable Voltage: 100 to 240V AC
- Dimensions (LxWxH): 9.8 x 8.86 x 6.34 inches / 171.5 x 136 x 177 mm
- Weight: 2.2lb / 0.7 kg
Suitable for indoor or outdoor use due to IP-65 waterproof rating. The manufacturer recommends use for landscaping, weddings, discos, clubs, business, or domestic use.
- Affordable option
- Compact size and lightweight
- Included films are great
- 360-degree rotation allows for easy image alignment
- Waterproof casing allows for use in all weather conditions
- 7W LED is not very bright
- Does not function well with any external ambient light present
- The floor stand makes it difficult to mount on a wall or ceiling
An LED Gobo is a great way to add interesting lighting effects or display images for a wide range of events, from small domestic occasions to the largest gala events. There are plenty of Gobo projectors available on the market these days and they are some excellent affordable options for projecting images or patterns.
Choosing the right projector for your event can be tricky with so many features and manufacturers available. With this guide, you can quickly find the best projector to illuminate exciting lighting effects that are sure to make your event, wedding, or party a success!
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