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Thread: Background Material

  1. #1
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    Background Material

    Hi,

    I'm not sure this is the correct area to ask, but seemed appropriate since it is somewhat related in a studio setting!

    I wanted to know of any recommendations on Background material paper.
    I have a newly built studio space in my basement but my ceiling is only 7.5 feet high!

    I have seen many 107" / 9ft wide paper, either as paper or made of cotton fabric.
    I wanted to know of any materials or brands that you stand by?

    I am also thinking of using some sort of panel frame in black to be held up in the ceiling to control light, anyone with similar issues?

    It will mostly be used for people/portraits and the occasional product shots!

    Thanks in advance.

    Po
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    Re: Background Material

    Hi Po.

    Most of the backdrop papers are pretty standardized. 4', 9' or 12' wide. They come in long lengths so you can pull it out, shoot and just cut it off where it's been walked on. Savage is the most popular Brand.

    If you would be using the same color or two all the time (white/grey?), then vinyl is an option.

    IMO, the large cloth backdrops are best looked at in person if possible. They can very greatly.

    One tip I can share for a smaller studio is to not get a cloth backdrop with a pronounced patterned because in a confined area it is difficult to get the subject far enough away from it to throw it out of focus. Also, hang the backdrop the night before and secure a clothes steamer to steam the wrinkles out then let it hang over-night.

    You will face some difficulties with such a low ceiling height. I have a similar issue and it is a real PITA when working with lighting that should be up higher than the subject. Umbrellas really do not work very well beauty dishes are better, as are the shallow soft boxes some manufacturers offer.

    Product shots using paper aren't as effective as those shot on matte vinyl or plexiglass because when shooting a close up of a smaller object the paper texture shows up (ugly).

    Hope this helps you a little.

    - Marc
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    Re: Background Material

    Although I have 10 foot ceilings, somehow they are never high enough, so I found a dark neutral gray paint and painted the whole lot. As for background, I use Savage papers except for black were I use their matte black vinyl. The main issue with the vinyl is that it is so heavy that it tends to bend the cardboard core. I re-spooled it onto an aluminum core and that mostly helps.
    The next issue I had was that the chain-drive system I had been using to roll-up the backgrounds just were not capable of handling the weight of the vinyl sheet and just broke.
    The solution was to throw more money at the problem using the manfrotto motorized system with brackets screwed to ceiling joists. Although everything works just fine it does take away a bit of the vertical dimension, so you might have difficulty shooting basketball players in your studio.
    I suggest that you limit your subjects to average height men and women LOL
    -bob
    www.getdpi.com
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    Re: Background Material

    And another thing...
    Nine foot wide may seem like wide enough, but shooting folks on their sides as I do fairly frequently, is usually a problem. I often muse about knocking down a wall to get a 12 foot span and to also allow light-stands to fit beyond the background to the sides. My space is only 18 foot wide which is limiting but you can work with it.
    -bob

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    Re: Background Material

    Po and Bob

    I had a thought for a way to mitigate the lack of studio height.

    I'm thinking of coving the ceiling as well as the base, then light the top part

    I'm using the auto pole system, and rather than placing them against the back wall, I'm thinking of placing them 6 or so feet forward and devise some method of placing the paper to the top back-wall corner then down and outward toward the camera. That way if you are shooting a taller person or shooting more up on the subject, you wouldn't be trying to fix the background where the hair is.

    Just a thought.

    - Marc

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    Re: Background Material

    If black is the preferred background, then a sort of cyc curve in the ceiling and floor might do it.
    White would just cause too much unintended fill
    -bob

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    Re: Background Material

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    If black is the preferred background, then a sort of cyc curve in the ceiling and floor might do it.
    White would just cause too much unintended fill
    -bob
    It would depend on where the subject is wouldn't it? I usually have my subject about 5 or 6 feet from the background when working with white anyway.

    But I do get what you mean. Black would be no problem. Even dark or muted colors, when lit dark to light.

    - Marc

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    Re: Background Material

    That is what I do too which ends up meaning that small rooms need dark walls and ceilings
    I guess white could be managed, but it is often easier to color black than white with gelled lights
    -bob

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    Re: Background Material

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Po and Bob

    I had a thought for a way to mitigate the lack of studio height.

    I'm thinking of coving the ceiling as well as the base, then light the top part

    I'm using the auto pole system, and rather than placing them against the back wall, I'm thinking of placing them 6 or so feet forward and devise some method of placing the paper to the top back-wall corner then down and outward toward the camera. That way if you are shooting a taller person or shooting more up on the subject, you wouldn't be trying to fix the background where the hair is.

    Just a thought.

    - Marc
    I'm gonna need to use my diagram/photo card on you Marc! :P
    I'm just not understanding it, but would like to
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    Re: Background Material

    Marc, Bob,

    Great advice! I really appreciate it and thinking of the Manfrotto Auto pole system from B&H.

    Po
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    Re: Background Material

    most people using seamless paper put the roll at the top, supporting the roll on a horizontal tube, which tube is supported by vertical tubes, floor to ceiling. plenty of gaffing solutions for this. problem is the paper roll diameter uses up some of your ceiling height at the wall.

    maybe you could move the roll support toward the camera 6', then add a second guide tube near the wall/ceiling joint and come down behind that?
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    Re: Background Material

    Quote Originally Posted by jlm View Post
    most people using seamless paper put the roll at the top, supporting the roll on a horizontal tube, which tube is supported by vertical tubes, floor to ceiling. plenty of gaffing solutions for this. problem is the paper roll diameter uses up some of your ceiling height at the wall.

    maybe you could move the roll support toward the camera 6', then add a second guide tube near the wall/ceiling joint and come down behind that?
    That would help a bit, especially if you had the support tubes painted a color near that of the background. Be cautions with the vinyl seamless as its length is considerably shorter than the paper rolls.
    -bob

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    Re: Background Material

    Quote Originally Posted by pophoto View Post
    Marc, Bob,

    Great advice! I really appreciate it and thinking of the Manfrotto Auto pole system from B&H.

    Po
    Get the "Deluxe" version of the auto poles as they have a much better clamping mechanism. I had a similar setup once using the regular auto poles, but one hot day they all came crashing down since the house expanded and they loosened up.
    I do like my ceiling mounted electrically operated background support. I can make the backgrounds go up and down at the push of a button. Since I am easy to amuse my "background clicker" remote makes a great toy.
    -bob
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    Re: Background Material

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    Get the "Deluxe" version of the auto poles as they have a much better clamping mechanism. I had a similar setup once using the regular auto poles, but one hot day they all came crashing down since the house expanded and they loosened up.
    I do like my ceiling mounted electrically operated background support. I can make the backgrounds go up and down at the push of a button. Since I am easy to amuse my "background clicker" remote makes a great toy.
    -bob
    Hi Bob,

    So I purchased the 'Deluxe' set and while I have it set up, I am concerned about the holders are the two end, since the Savage background paper is 107" wide with cardboard tube, do you guys use anything in between for potential sagging due to the weight?

    Thanks
    Po
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    Re: Background Material

    Quote Originally Posted by pophoto View Post
    Hi Bob,

    So I purchased the 'Deluxe' set and while I have it set up, I am concerned about the holders are the two end, since the Savage background paper is 107" wide with cardboard tube, do you guys use anything in between for potential sagging due to the weight?

    Thanks
    Po
    Po,

    If you are using wide paper with cardboard cores, and are going to leave them up on the Auto-Pole, they will sag in the middle and rolling/unrolling can get difficult (depending on the amount of center sag).

    I suggest getting the aluminum cores made for the Auto-Poles, and transferring the paper from the cardboard to them. The aluminum cores are essential for using cloth backdrops anyway.

    - Marc

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    Re: Background Material

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Po,

    If you are using wide paper with cardboard cores, and are going to leave them up on the Auto-Pole, they will sag in the middle and rolling/unrolling can get difficult (depending on the amount of center sag).

    I suggest getting the aluminum cores made for the Auto-Poles, and transferring the paper from the cardboard to them. The aluminum cores are essential for using cloth backdrops anyway.

    - Marc
    Hi Marc,

    Thanks for your help! Is it worth it for paper?
    I just discovered after my message last night that the ends can be adjusted for thickness (diameter)...silly me! That will help with the rolling down now :P

    Thanks
    Po
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