backdrops and lighting
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Old 01-26-2007   #1
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Default backdrops and lighting

I am wondering what makes a good cheap black background that stays black when you use flash. I had a canvas that someone gave me, and it is very black to look at it, but when used with a flash, it is almost completely gray. I have tried mving away from it, adjusting the flash, lots of things, but I am convinced it is the material relfecting the light. I have heard that velvet and velour work good, but what about black felt I am just curious as I want to use some black drops for some protraits, but I am not happy with what I have. Thanks.

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Old 01-26-2007   #2
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Default Re: backdrops and lighting

I properly lit, any material of any colour can be black, or white.

If your black canvas is looking grey in images, then I suggest it may be light placement/ spillage more then material.

What meter readings do you get on the background, vs what your main light is?

Before you spend money on somehting that may not help, try working out what the real problem might be.

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Old 01-26-2007   #3
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Default Re: backdrops and lighting

i use black crushed velvet, it is relativley cheap, easy to store, dont have to worry about wrinkles and if you need it wide you can just safety pin them together. and you can buy it at your local fabric store.
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Old 01-26-2007   #4
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Default Re: backdrops and lighting

Sounds like you're over exposing the background. Can you give a little more detail about the setup and possibly an example picture?
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Old 01-26-2007   #5
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Default Re: backdrops and lighting

Real black velvet is very expensive, in the neighborhood of $30-$40 per yard . Black velveteen is much cheaper but does not absorb light the way real velvet does..

If by background you mean something to place behind the subject at a good distance, than many fabrics can be made to be completely black. *It's just a matter of having a background that is large enough to fill the view and far enough away from the subject and the lights.

If you mean a background that you use very close to the subject or if the subject touches or is actually sitting on the background then real black velvet is the only truly black material.
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Old 01-26-2007   #6
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Default Re: backdrops and lighting

i bought the crush velvet for $2.99 a yard and it works good for me, i have the subject about 3-4ft from the bg, i attached an example just to show what it looks like, dont pay attention to the lighting, i was just messing around.
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Old 01-26-2007   #7
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Default Re: backdrops and lighting

Thanks everyone, I will give some more things I just found on the internet and the tips that everyone provided here a shot this weekend. *The canvas has a sort of sheen to it, so that is why I think it is the canvas causing the issue. *Hence I think it is the reason the guy gave it to me. *I would like the subject right on the background, but I am flexible. *
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Old 01-26-2007   #8
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Default Re: backdrops and lighting

I use black flock paper... I used to work in an industry where we used lasers and we used flock to absorb the laser light. It's cheaper than real velvet and absorbs light as well or better...

http://www.edmundoptics.com/onlineca...=1502&search=1

Only problem is it comes in fairly small sheets so it depends what you want to do with it.
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Old 02-14-2007   #9
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Default Re: backdrops and lighting

don't know if you need anymore suggestions, but I use black felt. It doesn't reflect light or have a sheen to it. You can get it on sale at the fabric store.
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Old 02-15-2007   #10
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Default Re: backdrops and lighting

Thanks Jess, I have picked up some felt before you mentioned it, but it is a great (cheap) answer to my problem, and you can get very large sheets of it. Works great.


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