Backdrops – sturdy, yet mobile

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    • #49597
      AvatarShaun
      Participant

      Hey all,

      What do folks use for portable backdrops… or does nobody use those? I like the green screen foam backed fabric here: http://www.eefx.com/eefx2/store/chroma_key_greenscreen_bk.html but am new to this.

      I’d use it for a variety of shoots, from interviews to yoga classes, to lectures, etc.

      Any thoughts?

    • #202993
      AvatarJackWolcott
      Participant

      For legal depositions we use two c-stands (light stands) with a metal cross bar on top, similar to the rig you’ve referenced. The drop, which is 5’x7′, is hemmed at the top to accept the bar.

      We’ve also used frames of PVC pipe, over which a double-sided drop, hemmed to form an envelope, can be stretched. There are quite a few instructions on the web for making free-standing frames from PVC pipe. They’re lightweight and come apart easily to transport. These are very handy in the studio, too, where several can be placed to form a quick-and-dirty setting.

      Finally, although they are cumbersome to transport and difficult to fold, we’ve used the commercially available rigid-framed backing that can be butterfly folded and stored in a traveling case.

      Jack

    • #202994
      AvatarShaun
      Participant

      That’s helpful Jack… i’m stuck with not being sure which size to go with… these look cool: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=NavBar&A=getItemDetail&Q=&sku=541213&is=REG&si=rev#costumerReview

      Plus I like the idea that they can be lit from the back and be used as a big softbox… plus they can be used sideways for 16 feet of white background..

      BUT

      that may limit me and it might make more sense to just get a stand like this: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/220985-REG/Westcott_9014_Background_Support_System.html

      and then a 10×12 green screen like this: http://www.eefx.com/eefx2/store/chroma_key_greenscreen_bk.html

      Being new to this, I’m not 100% sure what my business will be, so I want something versatile that can be transported, yet give me good to decent quality background.

      Maybe I’m asking too much.

    • #202995
      AvatarJackWolcott
      Participant

      “I’m not 100% sure what my business will be.” For me, that’s the key to your problem. The solution is not to buy anything until you have a need for it, at which time you charge enough to pay for the backdrop and add this new piece of equipment to your gear bag.

      Our company has been in business for over 14 years and we didn’t own a backdrop until recently when one of our crew began doing legal depositions, at which point the backdrop became obligatory. For most kinds of shooting though, you can create a setting from objects on hand, set up against a neutral or appropriately textured wall.

      We often do interview shoots outside to take advantage of the Pacific Northwest’s lush green foliage as a natural backdrop. When we’re shooting indoors we’ll often add (fake) shrubs and potted plants to a room to set the edges of the shot, using the back wall of the room for the background. You can enhance the look of the wall by projecting a light pattern on it — a gobo –to break up the flat surface. We carry a small venetian blind and stand with us and shine a light through this to create a shadow pattern. You can also cut random patterns in a sheet of foam core to achieve similar effects.

      The bottom line is to use your imagination to create your backgrounds and avoid buying extra equipment that you have to store and to transport until you have a real need for it.

      When you finally do buy a background piece, be sure it’s something that you can set up and tear down quickly and that it’s not cumbersome to lug around. Those collapsible background discs look great in the advertisements but can be a real challenge to fold and the large ones can be difficult to haul around on a crash cart.

      Jack

    • #202996
      AvatarShaun
      Participant

      sage advice… thanks jack. My only concern with buying for the gig, is that I don’t get to practice much with it… and that makes me anxious… but there’s ways around that..

      as for the folding one… i’m pretty good with those as I’ve had a ton of products (from tents to toys) that are like these.. i’d get the hack of it once I practiced it for a bit… they’re cheap enough… so i may get one of those as I’ve wanted a solid black or white background at times for one person, and one of these would be ideal…

      but for now.. no big backdrop or stands… thanks jack.

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