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Old August 9th, 2007, 08:53 AM   #1
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Need to have an 18' muslin background

I'm hoping to hang a 10x24 muslin background between 2 lightstands, or 3 if center support is needed. (If 3, I don't want the feet of the stand to interfere with the muslin drop). So I'd be hanging the muslin so that the long dimension is parallel to the floor. I'm hoping to achieve a background that's at least 18' wide. Does anyone have any experience doing this?

It seems I could do it with 2 Bogen/Manfrotto 085B boom kits and a 3rd lightstand in the middle (somehow connecting to the two booms facing inward), but this is a very expensive solution. Since I already have lightstands, I'm basically seeking a modular crossbar that could be put together to a length of 18'.

The solution needs to be portable. Thanks in advance.
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Old August 9th, 2007, 09:28 AM   #2
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18 feet is a long distance for *light weight* pipe. Depending on
the weight of the muslin you will get a lot of deflection in the center
which can be a real problem if you want your cloth smooth.

IMO, It would be best to have center support somehow (tie off the to ceiling?).
If that is not possible, one solution is to get heavy duty
crank stands with half coupler-"cheaseborroughs" on top.
These "half couplers" lock around 1.5" black iron pipe holding it
in place on top of the stands. Buy some black iron pipe
(2 x 10' long peices, you could have them cut to 9' at home depot)
and threaded pipe couplers to link the pieces together. The
cloth should have a 4-6" jute strip sewn across the top and grommets
placed every 9-12". Tie line "shoe laces" for each grommet.
If it is light, you could use spring clamps to hold the cloth.
If you are sure of the height you always want, a pipe pocket sewn across
the bottom to hold 1/2" black iron pipe for weight.

This rigs is HEAVY and not very portable. There will be
a bit of deflection. Truss is much better at this, but . . .

Maybe some one else has some far better idea ( I hope).
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Old August 9th, 2007, 06:31 PM   #3
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Patricia,

I just did a shoot where I hung muslins using an extendable cross bar made by Photoflex which fits the studs on ends of the light stands. But that only runs 12' across max.

On a tight budget I think you could use two magic clamps (one secured to each end of the light stands) and run a lightweight metal electrical tubing (found at hardware stores) between them. I'd give it a try before the shoot and make sure you secure the stand with sand bags.

Hope this helps,

Marc
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Old August 9th, 2007, 10:29 PM   #4
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A cheap solution would be three light stands and two telescoping paint poles. You can easily find these at 12' in length for about $40 each. If you don't put support all the way across the top and instead depend on tension, your light stands will be pulled together and down by the weight of the fabric. You would need insanely strong stands with very heavy weights to hold a backdrop up with tension. I suggest telescoping poles because anything longer than about 6 feet is a hassle to transport. A 4' long three-section paint pole will extend to about 12' maximum with about 10' being rigid. Some overlap of the sections inside each other makes the pole more sturdy.

I have a 24' paint pole (don't ask) that can run about 20' rigidly but it must be supported in the middle. I can also use it as a 18' light boom by using two extra 8' pieces of lumber to turn it into a leaning tripod. I put weight on the bottom of the paint pole to keep the weight of the light hanging out over the scene from pulling the rig over. I can't extend the full 24' in boom configuration because the pole is not rigid enough and 8' lumber as the legs isn't enough for something super high.
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Old August 9th, 2007, 11:02 PM   #5
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??

Hi all:

What am I not understanding about this thread? I did a shoot today at Fox with a 10' x 20 muslin and all I had to hold it was two C-stands, two sandbags and I used an Arri kit light stand for the center. Why would anyone want to drag around all of this other speed rail, 20' long pipes, heavy duty light stands, etc.?

I used it draped with tasteful drapery-like pleats that I created with a few clothespins and I shot some of the interviews with the muslin stretched flat. An Arri 1k open face with a couple of scrims, a floor stand and some gels completed the very nice (if used too often) looks.

I don't understand all of the drama and heavy equipment you guys are all using to setup that most common of backgrounds, the lowly muslin ;-) When I fly to locations, I don't even bring C-stands, I just bring half a dozen grip clips and use whatever is at the location, drapes, windowsills, etc. to affix the muslin. It only weighs about a pound or two.

Easy.

Dan
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Old August 10th, 2007, 12:42 AM   #6
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Thanks for all the responses.

Dan, thanks for your post but I'm not understanding you entirely. You stretched the muslin between 3 light stands positioned at 0', 10', and 20'? No pole at the top? Can you be more specific? I was wanting the muslin stretched flat (and continuously so) for 18'. It's to be a backdrop for dancers. I don't have walls or windows to fix anything to.
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Old August 10th, 2007, 11:24 AM   #7
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Pattrcia,

This might be of some help.

http://www.photoflexlightingschool.c...t_2/index.html

I was surfing the site and stumbled across this.

Bill
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Old August 10th, 2007, 11:51 AM   #8
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Patricia,

If I understand you correctly, you want to rig a stable and inflexible top crossbar so that the fabric can hang without sag or drape.

That means whatever crossbar material you use must be rigid at length or must be supportable by multiple stands - which in itself are pretty expensive.

Most lightweight materials that are also rigid are expensive. I'm thinking extruded aluminum rail in a I-beam configuration - available but not particularly cheap - or some kind of truss system as has been mentioned.

The other option is to trade off portability and use rigid steel. There are stair railing manufacturers like Buttonloc that make removable rigid rails, but they're pretty heavy. And companies that make connectors that use standard steel pipe for the same purpose.

But I'm afraid that long span, lightweight, rigid, AND inexpensive rails are pretty hard to come by.

Good luck in your search and let us know what you find.
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Old August 10th, 2007, 02:58 PM   #9
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Bill H. -- I like the idea of two telescoping Photoflex bars. There will have to be an extender on the middle lightstand so that the feet of the lightstand don't show. But with a C-stand maybe the extension wouldn't have to be very long.

Bill D -- I actually did find a reasonable solution in terms of a crossbar, but I"m not sure how to hang the dang thing. I got a 25' aluminum flagpole on e-bay which is 2" in diameter, very sturdy, lightweight, and in 5 sections. But attaching it to 3 lightstands in a reasonable way? I'm not sure ...
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Old August 10th, 2007, 04:23 PM   #10
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Don't know if this would work for you, Patricia, but it's worth a look...

http://www.msegrip.com/mse.php?show=...ducts_ID=24108

HTH...
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Old August 10th, 2007, 05:03 PM   #11
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Patricia,

In the text they say to use the pin from a Super (Maffer) Clamp but any 5/8" stud will work.
Provided your stands have 1/4"-20 thread on the top of the 5/8" stud.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...=124751&is=REG

Bill
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Old August 10th, 2007, 05:37 PM   #12
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Just read where you found a 2" aluminium pole.
On ebaY search for o clamps now if I remember correctly the stud on those is 3/8"-16 but with a little effort that stud can be replaced with a 1/4"-20 bolt. then using a 1/4' threaded coupler you can now attach the o-clamp to the top of the stand, again providing your stands have a threaded stud at the top. Some light stands do some do not.

Bill
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Old August 10th, 2007, 08:16 PM   #13
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Hiya

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patricia Lamm View Post
Thanks for all the responses.

Dan, thanks for your post but I'm not understanding you entirely. You stretched the muslin between 3 light stands positioned at 0', 10', and 20'? No pole at the top? Can you be more specific? I was wanting the muslin stretched flat (and continuously so) for 18'. It's to be a backdrop for dancers. I don't have walls or windows to fix anything to.

Hi Patricia:

This is a lot harder to explain than to show, but I did not snap any stills of the setup.

1. Setup two C-stands, 40" with 40" arms.

2. Extend arms at 90 degrees.

3. Affix muslin to C-stand loosening grip head, insert muslin into grip head, tighten grip head.

4. Drape muslin on both C-stands over 40" extended arms. Affix muslin to arms with grip clips and or C-47s

5. Spread C-stands out so that muslin is draped between.

6. Raise C-stands to desired height.

7. Muslin with sag in the middle. Use one or two Arri or other brand light kit stands. Affix muslin to 5/8" stud using grip clips. Raise to desired height.

8. Affix sandbags to each C-stand and lighting stand base and spread apart enough to stretch muslin to desired taughtness and remove wrinkles.

Done.

No speedrail, wacky, heavy duty BG holders or Mafers needed. This is very basic gripology 101.

Dan
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Old August 10th, 2007, 09:14 PM   #14
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Thanks for the details, Dan. It certainly seems easy and something I can try without having to buy extra hardware.
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Old August 11th, 2007, 12:15 AM   #15
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Yeah, now that you've posted that you've got a crossbar you're happy with, it's just a matter of supporting it.

I think I'd start out with 3 medium duty tall light stands, and just buy 3 Mafer Clamps (aka Bogen Super Clamps) to hold it.

The Mafers have a lockdown stand receiver that would mount to any light stand and keep the clamp part horizontal - then just clamp the flagpole across the stands. The clamps would keep the flagpole from spinning.

Sandbags would be smart for the stands, but assuming you'll be happy with draping your background away from the stand legs, you should be okay.

Finally visit Home depot for a bunch of medium large spring clamps (grip clips) and stretch, clamp and raise to taste.

That's where I'd start, anyway.
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