A home decorating fashion becomes a video background.
Running out of interesting places to shoot interview subjects? Maybe what you need is a textured backdrop like television and photography studios use. If you have the extra cash, you might buy one for a couple hundred dollars. But, if you aren’t ready, willing or able to make that kind of investment, consider painting this handy backdrop yourself (and put that cash toward a light kit and some colored gels).
A Material World
You’ll need to gather a few things before you get started. At the very least you’ll need a wide paint brush, a sponge that you can destroy (the thick, bath-style sponges work better than the kitchen sink variety), and two or three shades of gray paint. A subtle range of middle grays will yield the best result. Why gray? Because a background painted blue will always and only be blue. But gray can be altered with colored light. Simply shine a light through a colored gel and your gray backdrop can become virtually any color you like.
Now that you’ve gathered your materials, you’ll need to decide what to paint and what to paint it with. It really doesn’t make much difference whether you choose a piece of paneling, canvas, a bed sheet or a piece of cardboard from a refrigerator box; the key to a good backdrop is the color and texture of the paint. Speaking of paint, if you use a cloth backdrop, test the paint and make sure it will not flake or chip off when the fabric is rolled (and you should roll, not fold it).
For Here or to Go?
If it’s important that your backdrop be transportable, you’ll want to select a cloth material or something that is small and light enough to fit in your vehicle. If your backdrop will reside permanently in one place, feel free to make it as big and heavy as you like. We chose cardboard for our example because of its light weight and its ability to be folded for storage and transportation.
Easy as 1-2-3
We elected to use our darkest gray as the primary shade for the backdrop, and used it as our base color for the entire piece of cardboard. Next, we used a sponge to lightly texture on our lightest color, then added our middle gray on top. While we created a medium sized pattern in this example, you can sponge on as much or as little texture as you like. You may choose to add only a few spongings spread here and there, or use more paint to create a tighter pattern. If you’d like a lighter colored background, simply use a lighter paint as your base color.
Our backdrop doesn’t need
to be very big because we’ll use it for shooting closeups. A textured
backdrop measuring 3-by-4-feet will work quite nicely when positioned
behind a subject’s head and shoulders. All that’s left is to affix
your backdrop to a wall, splash on some colored light, frame and