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Old July 10th, 2009, 07:48 PM   #1
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Anyone here built thier own Cyclorama? Advice?

I am in the process of making a permenant seamless wall aka Cyc... Has anyone here done this or have and tips or prints so I dont have to reinvent the wheel. I have pleanty of space, the wall space is 24 foot wide by 16 foot high x 70 feet in lenghth. Im thinking of making like a 20x20 foot cyc. I have the basic idea I think, I need to make supports for the radius, bend the plywood, seal the seams, etc... What i am perpelexed on is how to figure the radius curve, make the supports etc..I did some searching on the net and found a couple time lapse videos, but nothing really close up.

If someone could point me to a site or plans/drawings, i woulod appreciate it.

Thanks
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Old July 10th, 2009, 07:54 PM   #2
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No plans, unfortunately, but I can relate that we had a contractor build a cyc wall for our on-line live studio; they first tried masonite, didn't work, had to take it out. FInally they used drywall, scored on the backside so it could bend smoothly --- cut lines horizontally ever couple of inches for the bend, which has a radius, I believe, of 18 inches, but I'm not positive -- and mounted it over plywood standards cut to that radius and installed on 24" centers. They smoothed it all out with drywall cement and sanded it smooth, it looks real nice. Next week I can attach a snap of the room if you want, studio is locked at the moment and it's been a reeeeely long day....hth / Battle Vaughan/miamiherald.com video team
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Old July 10th, 2009, 08:12 PM   #3
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I would love a photo...Masonite didnt work eh??? if you able to get me some shots of the framing behind and on the sides that would help too!

thanks.....

Dave
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Old July 10th, 2009, 10:11 PM   #4
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Aargh, sorry, the construction was finished months ago and I think they would take umbridge if I dis-assembled it! But Monday I'll shoot some jpegs of the finished work and attach them to a message here... iirc the plywood structure was simply the form of the background cut into plywood pieces, with them braced together to form a frame upon which the drywall was laid. The contractor said the cuts were a "coffin cut" which is how wood workers make cuts in the back of a piece of wood so it can be bent to form the dome over a casket...if you get the idea....some drywall "mud" and sanding took care of the rest...our still photo studio at one time had a cyc wall that had been made out of large styrofoam blocks, cut somehow to shape and covered with the same drywall concoction --- didn't work as people kept stepping on the foam or punching holes in it with light stands...the video studio, so far, is holding up fine. /bvaughan

PS: the masonite didn't work because there was no way to keep the joints from showing...they tried drywall tape over them but the sheets, being thin, move around with temperature or humidity or being bumped,and the joints popped through. The drywall, so far, is holding up nicely.

Last edited by Battle Vaughan; July 10th, 2009 at 10:14 PM. Reason: addendum
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Old July 10th, 2009, 11:39 PM   #5
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I had occasion to do something somewhat similar (an arch over a door) last year.

Initially I used the coffin cut approach with drywall. This was with a radius of about 20 inches.

However, what I found was that normal drywall, unlike plywood (which the coffin cut approach works very well with), is just really not something that bends gracefully. What I wound up with, even with my back cuts spaced 1/2 inch apart, was a series of flat surfaces, rather than a smooth bend. While I am sure I could have eventually put on and sanded enough drywall mud to smooth it, I found a better way. Over the top, I glued (with construction glue) a piece of stiff formica, which nicely made a very smooth curve. The formica was just stiff enough to bend well, but still not follow the flats on the drywall. This was then very easy to final finish and paint.

This might be worth a look as well (much cheaper than formica and made for this very purpose):

Flex Gypsum Board

-Mike
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Old July 11th, 2009, 04:07 AM   #6
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I built one using techniques similar to that when building boats.

1/2" plywood is used to make bulkheads with the proper curve. Cut notches to fit 1x2 stringers. The bulkheads are spaced every 2 feet. The stringers are spaced along the curve every 4 inches.

You can build sections like this, depending on how long your 1x2s are. Probably 8 to 10 feet.

The sections will join up with each other and must match closely. To get a consistent curve, make a jig that will let you cut a near-perfect curve with a jigsaw. It's almost like a compass-type arrangement. The jigsaw is mounted at the end of an arm that is attached to a pivot. The length of the arm determines the radius of the curve.

Skin the stringers with 1/8" mahogany plywood. Use drywall screws and make sure the heads countersink themselves nicely below the surface. It'll give you a very smooth curve. It's the same process used to build airplanes (the British Mosquito was made with plywood on formers).

Where the edge of the plywood meets the walls can be finished with conventional drywall methods (fiberglass tape and mud). Where it meets the floor use thinset cement.

The corner was built of multiple bulkheads placed on a radius. Same stringer setup except the stringers were made of flexible foam. The corner is built last. Keep in mind that the bulkhead has to be built slightly undersized so that the buildup of foam and fiberglass will meet the surface of the three coved edges.

You can use polystyrene foam or hard urethane foam to create the corner. Once the shape is well established, it can be surfaced with three plys of 10-ounce fiberglass and epoxy. Use epoxy instead of polyester resin because it's a lot more stable on cure. Polyester resin shrinks slightly and could warp out of place if not applied exactly right.

If you do use epoxy, wear gloves. Everyone is capable of developing an allergic sensitivity over time, so be sure to protect yourself.

I don't have plans or photos, unfortunately. It was one of those projects that I just undertook and kept going until it was done.

It's a lot easier than it sounds. But it does require careful work to get it perfect.
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Old July 13th, 2009, 10:29 AM   #7
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Here are a couple of shots of our cyc wall; Dean's detailed description give a good idea of how this one was done, also ---plywood verticals cut to form, hooked together with horizontal stringers. The drywall was cut as I described then covered in drywall compound and sanded to shape. The flexible drywall mentioned is a new one on me, but it sounds interesting. Hope this is some help, I'm sorry that there aren't any photos from the actual construction..../ Battle Vaughan/miamiherald.com video team
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Anyone here built thier own Cyclorama? Advice?-miamiheraldcyc1.jpg   Anyone here built thier own Cyclorama? Advice?-miamiheraldcyc2.jpg  

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Old July 13th, 2009, 11:57 AM   #8
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Need a couple measurements

Battle:

Thanks so much for the pics, Im getting a better understanding what i need . I am wondering if I could bother your for onoe more big favor. Would you be able to get me the measurements I need.

Pic 1 is from the floor to the top of the plywood support where it meets the 2x4

Pic 2 is the widest part of the radius

Pic 3 is from the wall to the end of the cyc.

PS When I start building my cyc, Im going do a video and pic tutorial for the next guy like me!

thanks again...Im so jealous... it looks great!

Dave
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Old July 13th, 2009, 12:27 PM   #9
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Dimension 1 is 24 inches; dim 2 (from corner to the radius, as you have it drawn) is 14 inches and dim 3 is 32 inches. / bvaughan
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Old July 13th, 2009, 12:51 PM   #10
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THANK you! Have to do some planning now!
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Old July 13th, 2009, 01:06 PM   #11
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Happy to help, let us know how it works out! / bv
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Old July 13th, 2009, 03:43 PM   #12
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BTW, that 1/8" mahogany ply mentioned was more like 3/16". It might have been sold as 1/4" but the actual dimension is often less than what's on the label.

And to bend it, lay it down so that it bends parallel to the grain.

I built the edge units first, and had the three edges meet in the corner. Then I built the corner piece to blend with the three edges.
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Old July 15th, 2009, 07:59 PM   #13
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I think that regardless of what thickness they call it in inches, plywood these days is really metric - ie 3/4 is really 19mm or something like that and 1/4 is probably 5mm.
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Old July 16th, 2009, 10:16 AM   #14
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Thanks everyone.... this is a real pain in the *ss! but im documenting it with photos and video for ya!
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Old February 6th, 2010, 09:03 PM   #15
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cyc wall

Calumet sells infinity wall parts, kind of pricey but considering the effort to make one....

Infinity Walls, Cyclorama Infinity
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