The First 100 Years: From Gel & Foggers To Paint & Rotators - Adding the Rest of the Range

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.

Joel Svendsen December 29, 2011 Questions?

About Joel Svendsen

Marketing Director: 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. Joel's knowledge about Rosco's products and how they're used in each of our different marketplaces makes him well suited for bringing the stories in Spectrum to life.