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Best White cyc Lighting strategies?

Dominik Bauch

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I have no experience working with cyc backgrounds so would appreciate some tips and suggestions.


Set up is talent on white cyc bg. 1 wide shot (full body) and a tight shot.


I have access to what ever lights I would need within reason but have to make do with a non studio location.


Any suggestions for how best to:


a) Evenly light the bg and avoid shadows or seams.


b) Beauty light the talent in a cinematic way. Can I get away with a nice low key, sidey soft source with a 3:1 contrast ratio or will this look odd in practice over an evenly lit white bg?

Or is a soft top light the way to go?


c) What's the best poor mans cyc bg? Can a large silk do the job? Assume that under tension and with some C47's I could get a ground and backdrop.... Talent would probably be too close to the bg though...


Thanks in advance.




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A white cyc tends to imply a white floor connected to a white wall with a curve to create a limbo effect, so it's hard to do that without construction and paint. Are you talking about just a white backdrop without any floor needed (tighter than full figure)?

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  • 4 weeks later...

You could go to a flooring store and buy some Linoleum. The under side of it can be painted and hung from a crossbar to give you a fairly solid looking cyclorama. You need to buy a good 30 feet of it and use heavy-duty stands and clamp the rolled section to the crossbar. It helps if one end is taped to a large cardboard roll to help it roll easily on a crossbar like seamless paper.

Paper Seamless can often be uneven and If it's gotten humid it can be wavy and look like crap.

The advantage of the Linoleum is that you can paint it whatever color you need.

Hope this helps.

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Best option is to use a studio with built in cyc/infinity backdrop.


If not that then David's suggestion of a white paper roll is easily the best option, especially if you need a full length shot.


Lighting any type of sheet, either from the front or back, and getting it even, with no seams, but not overexposed to the point of causing contrast reducing flare, is very tricky.


The smooth, flat, matt surface of paper is much easier to light evenly.

Edited by Mei Lewis
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