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Backdrops - cloth or paper?

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    spSquared
    spSquared  4 United Kingdom
    20 Mar 2010 - 10:08 AM

    This question may have been asked before and I apologise in advance if this is the case, but I've recently started using studio lighting, and at present have a white cloth backdrop; I'd like to add others to increase the range of effects available, but am unsure whether I should go for cloth or paper; I find that my white cloth backdrop although compact and portable, has the disadvantage of creasing - I know I should iron it more frequently Sad but given its length it's quite unwealdy; a paper roll I would imagine might be quite heavy, plus transporting it could be more awkward;does the paper curl and require constant flattening? My other concern is that if children are to be the subject of the photograph, I'm not sure how children standing/sitting etc. on paper will work? Could others please give some opinions on what works for them and why? Many thanks in anticipation,
    Regards,
    Sue

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    thewilliam
    20 Mar 2010 - 10:31 AM

    Paper works really well but it's fragile and needs frequent replacement. We use white vinyl - you can get it from Studio Decor and other places. Cloth backgrounds will stuff into a bag so are more easily carried and can be washed when dirty.

    Bucephalas69
    20 Mar 2010 - 10:45 AM

    Paper is fine but only on a solid floor with people without shoes.
    You do have to tear it off on a regular basis which ultimately is wasteful.

    Vinyl is far better. It should last for years if your careful with it (shoes are ok, even heels if it's on a solid base) and it's easy to clean with a JML magic eraser.

    Cloth backgrounds are not so great for high key. Light is absorbed by it by different amounts depending on the angle the light hits it.

    nishad1994
    20 Mar 2010 - 11:53 AM


    Quote: Paper is fine but only on a solid floor with people without shoes.
    You do have to tear it off on a regular basis which ultimately is wasteful.


    I agree !! Smile

    Nishad

    cameracat
    cameracat  108578 forum posts Norfolk Island61 Constructive Critique Points
    20 Mar 2010 - 12:47 PM

    Cloth is a pain in the butt, Unless your into " Ironing "....Sad

    Paper as mentioned works well, But is a consumable item....Sad

    Vinyl is more expensive, But you don't have to iron it, and its easy to clean, Lasts for years....Smile

    The pop up cloth types are not bad as they stretch when open, So creases are not such an issue, They are very portable once you have mastered how to get them back in thier bags.....Wink

    If you have lots of space to work with 8 X 4 or 10 x 5 ft sheets of MDF or Hardboard, Can make different sets for many purposes, Though you do have to paint & store them.....!!!

    Different textures on a number of studio walls, If your lucky enough to have a dedicated studio, Can be very useful....!!!

    User_Removed
    20 Mar 2010 - 12:50 PM

    They all have there uses - for a white background I agree the vinyl is the best but if you want it to go grey it's not so good - paper is better but as pointed out has its limitations. Cloth is my least favorite but again has its uses. If I were only allowed one background it would be a grey paper - remember you dont have to use it full length?
    Neal

    newfocus
    newfocus  8644 forum posts United Kingdom2 Constructive Critique Points
    20 Mar 2010 - 10:47 PM


    Quote: If I were only allowed one background it would be a grey paper

    That's been working well for me for a bunch of large product shots recently. You do have to be careful about footprints and you do have to see it as disposable (I give it to my kids to draw huge pictures on which they love Smile ). Cloth's definitely my least favourite too - too much tedious ironing time needed as others have mentioned.

    Britman
    Britman  81669 forum posts England
    22 Mar 2010 - 11:22 PM

    Talking of white background, is smooth plastered wall paint matt white a good idea for high key style shots, or is it likely to absorb to much light?

    I'm thinking of just getting some vinyl for the floor then have it curve up over the skirting onto the painted wall.

    BigRick
    BigRick  82085 forum posts United Kingdom3 Constructive Critique Points
    24 Mar 2010 - 11:18 PM


    Quote: If I were only allowed one background it would be a grey paper

    That's been working well for me for a bunch of large product shots recently. You do have to be careful about footprints and you do have to see it as disposable (I give it to my kids to draw huge pictures on which they love Smile ). Cloth's definitely my least favourite too - too much tedious ironing time needed as others have mentioned.

    Not if you have a steam iron that works vertically.... i just hang the drop, and hold the iron up to it.... doesn't take long, and stays crease free as it is already hanging on the backdrop support. Smile

    spSquared
    spSquared  4 United Kingdom
    11 Apr 2010 - 10:13 AM

    Thanks for all your input - I decided on a paper roll in the end, and am well pleased with it Wink it's probably me being 'clumsy', but how does one deal with the paper unrolling - I bought two large clips to clip the ends of the roll when on the backdrop stand, but found that when I needed to dismantle everything the roll unravelled - FAST! Getting it neatly rolled up again was not easy, given it's width; I should explain that I am using it in my living room as I don't have space where I could leave it set up permanently, so this is going to be part of the procedure each time I use it; which leads me to my next question - as I was intending to transport the paper roll, for example, to a clients' home or premises, might it be a good idea to buy other rolls in a narrower width, in case space is restricted? Please can anyone advise according to their experiences, or suggest how to deal with the practicalities?

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