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Thread: background and supports

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb background and supports

    I'm thinking of getting a background for use at home, for my wife and baby since we don't have any uncluttered walls.

    I have a few questions.

    are the stands same as light stands? the top stud looks randomly different.
    the Cross Bar doesn't seem standard either. I have 1x 2m +1x 3m, so I could just get another couple 2m (?)

    what backgrounds are there? I've seen muslin in a shop, and some plastic dimpled stuff in a studio, I'm not sure what the options are or the properties of each.

  2. #2
    Ausphotography Veteran Analog6's Avatar
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    You could make your own backgrounds too by buying material at a store like Lincraft. There are so many different textures in fabrics you could experiment with, velvet, satin, gauze. And sheets from the linen cupboard could double as backdrops in a pinch.
    Odille

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  3. #3
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    good idea, strangely I don't have pure white sheets

    I'm wondering about the stand, is 2m enuf? only $17 a stand. I could just get the Cross Bar instead of a set.

  4. #4
    You can get printed canvas backgrounds in different patterns, that seems to be all the rage these days
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  5. #5
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    Another backdrop option is the collapsable type; they dont require stands as such and they come in a variety of 'standard' colours, often a different colour on each side (blue/green or black/white etc.).
    I have a couple of them and they work well - once you get the hang of re-folding them they store in small spaces, and they are easy to transport in the car.

  6. #6
    Hi reaction, I actually bought a background stand set with the cross-bar with the intention of actually using them as light-stands as well. The ones I bought were near identical to "light stands" I had bought previously. So I just bought the little spigot that goes in the top to take my strobes.
    D7000, D300, Nikkor 50mm F1.4D, Nikkor 18-200mm, Tokina 11-16mm F2.8, Sigma 8mm F3.5, SB800, 3x SB600


  7. #7
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    hm I'm not familiar with the spigots at the top. it's hard to see in online pics

    I've seen the collapsables, but I'm thinking wife and baby sitting so I want something hanging and seamless.

  8. #8
    I made an adjustable background holder out of some pvc pipe from bunnings, and bought some material from a fabric store..was cheaper than buying a proper background stand and does the job for me

  9. #9
    Mic

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  10. #10
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    how much is muslin material? on the bay 3x6m is about $70-80
    otherwise it's 3x3, now that won't be enuf if I want some ground to show.

    if I get my own, I have to sew the edges!!!


    thinking getting the basic white, and either a black or grey?? why is there 150gsm and 170gsm muslin? they both look just as translucent
    Last edited by reaction; 09-06-2011 at 11:56pm.

  11. #11
    Bit of an old thread but I have tried a few things out in this space.

    I use seamless paper backdrops - 2.7m wide/about 11m long rolled out. Its a personal preferance and not necessarily the most economical choice.

    I first bought a no-name Background Stand set - basically two light stands and a cross bar that breaks down into 4 interlocking pieces. I think this was about $200 on eBay.
    This was useful for quite a while but came with certain issues - height was occassionally not enough and the quality of the locking mechanism on the stands was poor - I had one side sink (with increasing pace over time) which is not terribly professional looking and doesn't do the paper many favours.

    The background stands have wide feet which create additional space/trip hazards

    I upgraded to a Manfrotto autopole and Expans set - was very happy with this as it made set up/break down so much faster and very small footprint, a much more professional look and easier to use multiple coloured papers. However, two major limitations - I tended to be a little lazy and leave the paper rolls on the Expans after a shoot...sometime for days. This was a bad idea as the cardboard core would sag under its weight, creating wretched ripples through the seamless. The system isn't terribly portable and I have had a pole lose tension on the roof which, while very rare I'm sure, isn't a fun experience.

    Now I've just shifted back to a background support set again for portability and stability reasons. I have upgraded to a Manfrotto portable backdrop set which appears to be more sturdily made (at additional $ cost) to the first one I owned. I bought from Amazon and I think the total was about $280ish delivered in 4 or 5 days. It still has the wide base (just like a pair of light stands) and I lose the ease of the Expans system...but I think it will be much better suited to my typical process and I'm dead keen to take some paper outdoors soonish to try a sunlit studio Should be fun! Oh - and easier to hang fabric etc from a background stand with a cross bar too - I've played with this previously and you can create some cool looks fairly inexpensively (though you do get some strange looks at Spotlight).

    Anyhoo - not sure that helps your decision process - the key I think is to figure out what sort of use you want to put this to and make sure what you buy doesn't limit that. And...if this is something a child will be near...buy something sturdy!

    Good luck

  12. #12
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    how much are seamless paper backdrops ? I've seen some seamless before, but it wasn't paper. More like plastic with dimpled material. Didn't look cheap.

  13. #13
    Seamless paper runs about $120 a roll for white, sometimes more. Harder to find colours up around $150 in my experience. 2.7m wide x about 11m long.
    I can jam a roll in my hatch back but it is a close fit.

    There are more economical solutions available - but I like the look the paper provides personally (and have no interest in cleaning or steaming muslin or vinyl...laziness has a cost!)

    The advantage paper has is that it tends to sit flat if looked after (store vertically, not laying down). When it gets dirty or too rough to use, cut that section off and put in the recycling bin. The down side is...it does wear once people walk on it. Clean shoes helps but the only thing that really limits wear is not walking on it. Just something to think about.

    I go through a number of rolls in a year, and get quite a few shoots done per roll of paper if I take some basic care.

    There's a reasonable selection of stores that stock seamless, online and physical.

  14. #14
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    Another two cents worth:
    If you have the space to assemble and not move the gear, then stands and crossbar plus paper, vinyl or muslin might be your best option.
    Paper is heaviest, then vinyl, 100% muslin and non-woven cloth (I personally avoid 'non-woven' cloth).
    The muslin does tend to crease, and may need to be ironed or steamed before use.
    Light weight cloth is generally very transparent so be carefull what you have behind it.
    If you intend transporting your equipment then its a matter of personal choice; bags full of heavy lights and cables, soft boxes/umberellas, light stands, backdrop support, backdrop material and camera.
    I choose a couple of collapsable's, two or three lightweight light stands, three speedlights with diffusers, and a camera.
    My first backdrop support system was made up using two 2.8m light stands and a 3mtr length of 19mm Aluminium tube with holes drilled at each end to slip over the top of the stands and secured with 1/4" wing nuts.
    This made for a very sturdy system which worked with the heaviest of material.
    Good luck

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    and my 1 cents worth, for the cross bar i use the yellow painters roller pole.cheap,sturdier then most bars u get,can vary the width. just drill two holes at either end to go over spigots.

  16. #16
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    just the info I was looking for.

    Many thanks
    Cheers
    MakRo
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  17. #17
    Just wondering how do you get the wrinkles out of a muslin Back drop when you are working mobile'

    Mark
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