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I'm a student filmmaker and am on a set that like most student film sets has a very limited budget so I'm trying to help it streatch as far as we can get it to go. I sew a lot of costumes and such and have already started making things for the set like sandbags out of left over upolstery fabric I had hanging around. I've since started looking around for other fabric based items that I can make to help the group out so we can actually make the short we're working on.

This leads me to my questions, I'm trying to figure out what fabrics would be acceptable for making flags, silks and scrims to use in the lighting/grip department. I know flags are typically made out of Duvetyne after reacherching a bunch, but I wanted to know what about the fabric makes it useful as a flag. Could I use a normal black fabric to coat a thicker fabric(I have a lot of colored thick fabrics and thin black fabrics that I could combine)? If that would work, how could I make it flame retardent? Is there a spray that I could buy once and use on all the fabric?

What fabrics could I use for silks and nets? I know I'm probably asking a bunch of silly questions, but I'm really trying to help the most that I can.

I also have some fabric that I know is film related, but I don't know what it is called or what its uses are or if I could make it into anything the grip and lighting department could use.
I've included two (cellphone) pictures of fabric that I have that I know is grip related, but I have no clue what it is or its use. The first one is silver and incredibly reflective on one side and on the other side it is black. The second fabric is black on both sides. Both feel very stiff and almost like plastic.

If anyone has other suggestions for things I can build and sew to help the team all advice is appreciated, I'd like to do more than just wardrobe and making some sandbags.

Thank everyone in advance for reading the post and for any help offered!

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If it neither transmits or reflects light, it's a flag.


In all seriousness, I don't think this has to be particularly complicated. Theatrical drapes are generally made out of black wool serge, which is a very heavy, dense fabric that's really only seen in clothing in things like military uniforms. Diffusion frames are sometimes made with muslin which can work either as a bounce or a diffusion, although that's done specifically because it's a very pale cream and has a slight warming effect on light which either passes through or bounces off. Otherwise, anything from bed sheets to shower curtains have been used. Shower curtains are sometimes quite good as diffusion, especially if you can find some that don't have little fish embossed on them...


As to silks, well, the clue's in the name, but of course people tend to use synthetic alternatives. Ripstop nylon is tough, although some synthetic stuff can produce rather noticeable cross-shaped highlights due to the texture of the weave.


And yes, you should be aware of fireproofing. If you're going to be aiming big, hot lights at bits of fabric, you need to spray them down with a fireproofing agent. It isn't usually particularly difficult or expensive. I suspect ebay may answer that question.


I suspect that mesh stuff you have would be referred to as scrim, but I'm not sure if the US term is different. It's designed to reduce the amount of light without affecting its character too much.

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