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Lucky Cheng

Blacking out Floors in a Black Box

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What's the most cost-efficient way to black out the floor of a black box? The director wants a shot of bare feet on the floor, but the floor needs to read almost pure black.

I'll be using an Octabank as a top source. We have a large solid I can lay on the ground, but I think it will still reflect some light and read as a milked grey. We can crush that later on, but I wanted to see if there was a way to get closer to the intended effect in-camera without messing with contrast/exposure later.

Velvet would be perfect, but very costly to get a large piece of (think group dance scene). A matte charcoal black paint might work also, but painting is off limits in this studio.

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You will find that all black materials will come off as grey at some point. There is not material that is absolutely black. Overlight and crush is probably your best answer. make sure your solid has no "repairs" and lay it out as smooth as possible.

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I had to deal with this recently on a music video. We used Robert's approach. See if you can get a riser for the floor that you can paint matte black.


I don't think paint will do it. From my stills experience, something like 'black velvet' produces the deepest black, that is has the lowest reflectivity, while also not producing some sort of texture that would counter the attempt to achieve black... But feet on velvet carpet would have some sort of indent into the pile of the carpet...

Edited by John E Clark

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Yes, the problem with fabric is that it will bunch. If you build your own riser and you could glue the fabric down, that would probably be the best approach. But it will never be perfectly black unless you crush the blacks in post.

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