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Old February 10th, 2008, 12:03 PM   #1
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All Black Background Issues?

I'm interested in using a black backdrop for some of my interviews.

Am wondering if this can cause any special lighting issues? Perhaps with lattitude being that I will have truly black in the shot.

Also are some black materials better than others, e.g. black velvet over black cotton?

Thanks for any observations!
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Old February 10th, 2008, 01:46 PM   #2
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I use commando cloth; it's available from any theatrical supply house, and you can have pieces sewed together for whatever size you need. Some equipment rental houses also will have it too--if they rent out a chroma key backdrop, they probably also have a black commando cloth background. Lots of online places have it. Here's one: http://www.sewwhatinc.com/commando.php but you wouldn't want to buy it here because they only sell a full roll. Just look in your yellow pages under theatrical supply.

I have a piece that's about 8 or 9 feet wide, 12 feet long, and I had a full width loop sewn in the top so I can hang it easily from a rod suspended between a couple of C-stands.
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Old February 11th, 2008, 06:02 AM   #3
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I did an all black except for one spotlight shot recently. We had most of the room covered with "super black" theatrical cloth (one that really absorbs light) but we didn't have enough to cover every spot. So I turned the master pedestal down to -15 in the HVX and even dark grey areas went black. You have to be careful with such a low master ped in camera, because whatever is dark will become totally black. The look was great, though.
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Old February 11th, 2008, 09:13 AM   #4
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I purchase all my fabric needs through dazian. they handle all the broadway needs and have the widest loom size I've ever seen.

google them.
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Old February 11th, 2008, 05:10 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Bill Pryor View Post
I use commando cloth; it's available from any theatrical supply house, and you can have pieces sewed together for whatever size you need. Some equipment rental houses also will have it too--if they rent out a chroma key backdrop, they probably also have a black commando cloth background. Lots of online places have it. Here's one: http://www.sewwhatinc.com/commando.php but you wouldn't want to buy it here because they only sell a full roll. Just look in your yellow pages under theatrical supply.

I have a piece that's about 8 or 9 feet wide, 12 feet long, and I had a full width loop sewn in the top so I can hang it easily from a rod suspended between a couple of C-stands.
Hi Bill:

Hmm...Commando Cloth? Is that really the same stuff as Duvetine? I know Duve is flame resistant/retardant, is the Commando?

I'm just trying to figure out if this just another regional term or if everyone knows Duve as Duve and Commando Cloth is something different?

Best,

Dan
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Old February 11th, 2008, 08:53 PM   #6
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What are you wanting your black background to look like? Are you thinking totally black? This is what I did recently for a shoot... probably a 30x30' room, my subject about 6-8' from the black background with a 1k light as a key. My black background was a black cotton cloth that I bought from a photo background selling on ebay. The key for good blacks are keeping light off the background. A bigger room helps with this as you can get your subject further away from the background.

And yes, I know there is microblocking in this image. It should disappear when I actually color correct the image and push the blacks down a little.

Matthew
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Old February 12th, 2008, 10:31 PM   #7
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Matthew, what is microblocking? I think the image looks great ;.

To all, I'm considering going with a velor/velvet type material b/c I'm assuming it will have better sound absorbing qualities. I'm using an MKH-60 indoors and room reflections can sometimes be a problem.
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Old February 12th, 2008, 10:38 PM   #8
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Matthew, what is microblocking? I think the image looks great ;.

To all, I'm considering going with a velor/velvet type material b/c I'm assuming it will have better sound absorbing qualities. I'm using an MKH-60 indoors and room reflections can sometimes be a problem.
If you look at the left side of the image you will see small blocks of black and not so black blocks. It basically has to do with compression and how badly it handles blacks sometimes.

To be honest, that's not really going to help much with your sound as your subject is facing the opposite direction. The sound is still going to go out from the subject, hit the wall, bounce back towards the subject, be picked up by the mic and then be absorbed a little too late. Your best bet is to build a "box" out of blankets around your interview space. But of course, a lav is FAR better for doing interviews. I use a shotgun also 90% of the time, but it's only for backup.

Matthew
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Old February 12th, 2008, 10:41 PM   #9
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And yes, I know there is microblocking in this image. It should disappear when I actually color correct the image and push the blacks down a little.

Matthew
Sorry for this, but what is microblocking?


[EDIT] SORRRRRY! I didn't see the answer below. My bad. I don't know how to delete a post, otherwise I would.
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Old February 12th, 2008, 10:42 PM   #10
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Dan, all the theatrical supply houses both here and the ones I've seen on line seem to call it commando cloth, same for the film rental houses around here. It's fuzzy, fairly thick, cheap, and fire retardant. I think Duvetine is the same thing but may be a brand name. Last time I bought some it was under 5 bucks a yard, and I believe 54" in width. So it's pretty cheap stuff. The nice thing about getting it from a theatrical supply house is that they usually make stage curtains and have sewing facilities, so you can get it sewn together in whatever sizes you want.
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Old February 12th, 2008, 11:25 PM   #11
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If you look at the left side of the image you will see small blocks of black and not so black blocks. It basically has to do with compression and how badly it handles blacks sometimes.

To be honest, that's not really going to help much with your sound as your subject is facing the opposite direction. The sound is still going to go out from the subject, hit the wall, bounce back towards the subject, be picked up by the mic and then be absorbed a little too late. Your best bet is to build a "box" out of blankets around your interview space. But of course, a lav is FAR better for doing interviews. I use a shotgun also 90% of the time, but it's only for backup.

Matthew
So it's really reflections off the wall behind the camera, not behind the interviewee, that cause the most problems?

May I ask about your lav setup?

BTW, I've listened to the following lavs:

Sanken COS-11
Sennheiser MKE Platinum
DPA (4060 through 4071)

They all sound good, but there is a chest resonance from lavs that drives me crazy. Any ideas on how to correct for it?

I'd also like to use the lav wired, FWTW. Are you going wired or wireless? I have an SD 302 mixer and 744T recorder and G2 wireless.

Thanks much!
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Old February 13th, 2008, 08:10 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Peter Moretti View Post
So it's really reflections off the wall behind the camera, not behind the interviewee, that cause the most problems?

May I ask about your lav setup?

BTW, I've listened to the following lavs:

Sanken COS-11
Sennheiser MKE Platinum
DPA (4060 through 4071)

They all sound good, but there is a chest resonance from lavs that drives me crazy. Any ideas on how to correct for it?

I'd also like to use the lav wired, FWTW. Are you going wired or wireless? I have an SD 302 mixer and 744T recorder and G2 wireless.
It really depends on what kind of room you are using. If it's got carpet in the room, that makes a WORLD of difference. But I find that a blanket in the direction that the sound first travels helps greatly.

I am using the G2 wireless for interviews. I like the chesty sound a little, because it has far less echo and clearer. You can always in post find the frequencies that's causing it to be so bottom heavy and take it down a little while adding a little to the frequencies that provide clarity.

Matthew
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Old February 13th, 2008, 09:40 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Bill Pryor View Post
Dan, all the theatrical supply houses both here and the ones I've seen on line seem to call it commando cloth, same for the film rental houses around here. It's fuzzy, fairly thick, cheap, and fire retardant. I think Duvetine is the same thing but may be a brand name. Last time I bought some it was under 5 bucks a yard, and I believe 54" in width. So it's pretty cheap stuff. The nice thing about getting it from a theatrical supply house is that they usually make stage curtains and have sewing facilities, so you can get it sewn together in whatever sizes you want.
Hey Bill:

Thanks for the clarification. I buy it by the 200' roll from FilmTools.

The coolest thing i have come up with is to cut your pieces to length, then measure them, then get some heavy duty white cloth tape and in each corner of the non-camera facing side (the smooth side), write the exact size of the piece. When you are going on a shoot and have a stack of different sized pieces, nothing is more frustrating than grabbing just one or two pieces, then arriving for setup and discovering that you didn't bring big enough pieces. In this way, I always know how big each piece is at a glance when they are stacked all together.

Yes, my boss used to work at Disney and when we needed really large sewn pieces to cover a whole room or stage, we would borrow Disney's huge pieces to cover the whole room. We had some pieces that were huge, it was nice not to have to cobble together from all of our smaller pieces.

Best,

Dan
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Old February 13th, 2008, 12:58 PM   #14
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Hmm...Commando Cloth? Is that really the same stuff as Duvetine? I know Duve is flame resistant/retardant, is the Commando?
Check out http://www.sewwhatinc.com/fab_duvetyne.php . According to the website, they consider commando cloth to be a heavier (16 oz.) version of duvetyne (8 or 12 oz.) that's more durable.
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Old February 13th, 2008, 01:58 PM   #15
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It really depends on what kind of room you are using. If it's got carpet in the room, that makes a WORLD of difference. But I find that a blanket in the direction that the sound first travels helps greatly.
...
So in the case of the shot above, hang a blanket behind and to the left of camera; so his voice would be projecting towards the blanket. Correct?
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