Paper Roll Backdrop issue

Started Jan 26, 2013 | Discussions
photokandi
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Paper Roll Backdrop issue
Jan 26, 2013

I've been using a vinyl backdrop but wanted to try another color so I purchased a paper version as this color was only available in paper.

The issue I have is it seems to be rippled & not smooth as the Vinyl is. I've tried various lighting on it but it just looks mottled. I've messed with it in photoshop to smooth it out but end up with banding issues.

I'm not interested in Photoshop fixes as I'm pretty clued up in that department, just need to know if this is expected from Paper Rolls & is there a way of sorting it in studio?

The shot below was created using a 72cm Beauty dish fired directly at the paper.

backdrop

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Lawrence Keeney
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Re: Paper Roll Backdrop issue
In reply to photokandi, Jan 26, 2013

Apparently this can be caused by not storing the roll properly. They are supposed to be stored vertically. Humidity may also have something to do with this.

I have about 6 different rolls of seamless background paper, and I do not store them vertically and I have not had a problem.

I store my rolls horizontally in my garage, but they are sitting on wooden boards on the floor. I have them stacked three side by side and then three on top of the first three. I live in the desert where the humidity is very low.

It could also be that the roll was stored incorrectly before you purchased it.

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Barrie Davis
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Re: Paper Roll Backdrop issue
In reply to photokandi, Jan 26, 2013

photokandi wrote:

I've been using a vinyl backdrop but wanted to try another color so I purchased a paper version as this color was only available in paper.

The issue I have is it seems to be rippled & not smooth as the Vinyl is. I've tried various lighting on it but it just looks mottled. I've messed with it in photoshop to smooth it out but end up with banding issues.

I'm not interested in Photoshop fixes as I'm pretty clued up in that department, just need to know if this is expected from Paper Rolls & is there a way of sorting it in studio?

The shot below was created using a 72cm Beauty dish fired directly at the paper.

backdrop

Yes, that is typical with a light as harsh as a beauty dish, although the smoothness may improve somewhat if left to hang in position to 'settle' for a couple of days. This "tempering"allows the moisture content of the paper to equalise with that of the air in the shooting space. For this reason you should store your seamless paper where you do your shooting, if possible.

To get something smoother straight off, you wil need softer light(s) than a beauty dish.

But don't panic about it.

With your subject in front, there will be much less of the background to see. Also, when the subject's lights go on, their spill will act as "fill" for the texture you are seeing in the background.

Additional hint: To keep your paper smooth, always wind it really TIGHT on the roll before taping, and store it UPRIGHT to prevent it developing a curve.

I hope this helps.

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Baz
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photokandi
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Re: Paper Roll Backdrop issue
In reply to Lawrence Keeney, Jan 26, 2013

Thanks for the very informative reply.

The Roll came directly from the Manufacturers here in the UK & is a Lastolite product. I'd be very surprised if they did not know this info?

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photokandi
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Re: Paper Roll Backdrop issue
In reply to Barrie Davis, Jan 26, 2013

Barrie Davis wrote:

Yes, that is typical with a light as harsh as a beauty dish, although the smoothness may improve somewhat if left to hang in position to 'settle' for a couple of days. This "tempering"allows the moisture content of the paper to equalise with that of the air in the shooting space. For this reason you should store your seamless paper where you do your shooting, if possible.

To get something smoother straight off, you wil need softer light(s) than a beauty dish.

But don't panic about it.

With your subject in front, there will be much less of the background to see. Also, when the subject's lights go on, their spill will act as "fill" for the texture you are seeing in the background.

Additional hint: To keep you paper smooth, always wind it really TIGHT on the roll before taping, and store it UPRIGHT to prevent it developing a curve.

I hope this helps.

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Regards,
Baz
"Ahh... But the thing is, these guys were no ORDINARY time travellers!"

Cheers Baz,

I was hoping it was something like that. I will give it a few days & see how it is then. If it does not improve would you be tempted to contact the supplier?

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photokandi
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Re: Paper Roll Backdrop issue
In reply to photokandi, Jan 26, 2013

photokandi wrote:

Thanks for the very informative reply.

The Roll came directly from the Manufacturers here in the UK & is a Lastolite product. I'd be very surprised if they did not know this info?

Sorry It's a Colorama roll not Lastolite.

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Barrie Davis
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Re: Paper Roll Backdrop issue
In reply to photokandi, Jan 26, 2013

photokandi wrote:

Barrie Davis wrote:

Yes, that is typical with a light as harsh as a beauty dish, although the smoothness may improve somewhat if left to hang in position to 'settle' for a couple of days. This "tempering"allows the moisture content of the paper to equalise with that of the air in the shooting space. For this reason you should store your seamless paper where you do your shooting, if possible.

To get something smoother straight off, you wil need softer light(s) than a beauty dish.

But don't panic about it.

With your subject in front, there will be much less of the background to see. Also, when the subject's lights go on, their spill will act as "fill" for the texture you are seeing in the background.

Additional hint: To keep you paper smooth, always wind it really TIGHT on the roll before taping, and store it UPRIGHT to prevent it developing a curve.

I hope this helps.

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Regards,
Baz
"Ahh... But the thing is, these guys were no ORDINARY time travellers!"

Cheers Baz,

I was hoping it was something like that. I will give it a few days & see how it is then. If it does not improve would you be tempted to contact the supplier?

In 50 years of using seamless background paper (that's about as long as it has been around) I have only needed to send one roll back for being faulty. It was unevenly dyed.

Another was damaged in transit. The box had been stressed downwards in the middle and upwards at the ends, which mistreatment had produced two distinct kinks in every coil, amounting to dozens running in a line up the centre of the paper when unwound.

Apart those two occasions, I have no problems, and consider the paper you have to be of pretty good merchantable quality as it stands (hangs). Unless I'm losing my touch (!!) it will be fine when in use in a couple of days time.

Also, if it is arranged in a SWEEP with your subject standing on it, on the floor, the curve itself will tend to tension it, and so smooth it, too.

Get back here if you need further reassurance.

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Baz
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photokandi
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Re: Paper Roll Backdrop issue
In reply to Barrie Davis, Jan 26, 2013

In 50 years of using seamless background paper (that's about as long as it has been around) I have only needed to send one roll back for being faulty. It was unevenly dyed.

Another was damaged in transit. The box had been stressed downwards in the middle and upwards at the ends, which mistreatment had produced two distinct kinks in every coil, amounting to dozens running in a line up the centre of the paper when unwound.

Apart those two occasions, I have no problems, and consider the paper you have to be of pretty good merchantable quality as it stands (hangs). Unless I'm losing my touch (!!) it will be fine when in use in a couple of days time.

Also, if it is arranged in a SWEEP with your subject standing on it, on the floor, the curve itself will tend to tension it, and so smooth it, too.

Get back here if you need further reassurance.

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Regards,
Baz
"Ahh... But the thing is, these guys were no ORDINARY time travellers!"

Cheers Baz really appreciated! I'm new to studio work so that helps in reassuring me. I was wondering if I'm not doing a sweep & just backdrop, is there something on the market to attach to the bottom of the paper so it will keep it taut?

Cheers

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Duncan C
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Lighting it more evenly will probably also help.
In reply to photokandi, Jan 26, 2013

photokandi wrote:

I've been using a vinyl backdrop but wanted to try another color so I purchased a paper version as this color was only available in paper.

The issue I have is it seems to be rippled & not smooth as the Vinyl is. I've tried various lighting on it but it just looks mottled. I've messed with it in photoshop to smooth it out but end up with banding issues.

I'm not interested in Photoshop fixes as I'm pretty clued up in that department, just need to know if this is expected from Paper Rolls & is there a way of sorting it in studio?

The shot below was created using a 72cm Beauty dish fired directly at the paper.

backdrop

It also looks to me like you're trying to light your background with a single light. You really need at least 2 lights, from the sides, angled in at about 45 degrees. I'd probably use softboxes to get a wide spread of even light without hot spots.

Somebody else who shoots lots of portraits with seamless (e.g. Baz) could offer more concrete advice.

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Peter Berressem
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Re: Paper Roll Backdrop issue
In reply to photokandi, Jan 26, 2013

photokandi wrote:

I was wondering if I'm not doing a sweep & just backdrop, is there something on the market to attach to the bottom of the paper so it will keep it taut?

Manfrotto paper counterweight

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cheers, Peter
Germany

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photokandi
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Re: Paper Roll Backdrop issue
In reply to Peter Berressem, Jan 26, 2013

Peter Berressem wrote:

photokandi wrote:

I was wondering if I'm not doing a sweep & just backdrop, is there something on the market to attach to the bottom of the paper so it will keep it taut?

Manfrotto paper counterweight

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cheers, Peter
Germany

Cheers Peter, much appreciated.:-)

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photokandi
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Re: Lighting it more evenly will probably also help.
In reply to Duncan C, Jan 26, 2013

Duncan C wrote:

It also looks to me like you're trying to light your background with a single light. You really need at least 2 lights, from the sides, angled in at about 45 degrees. I'd probably use softboxes to get a wide spread of even light without hot spots.

Somebody else who shoots lots of portraits with seamless (e.g. Baz) could offer more concrete advice.

Hi Duncan,

I did try that with 2 150cm Octoboxes, but the light was uneven & the center darker. I would be looking to light it from low down Like a standard background light setup creating a dark vignette effect. I'm assuming with this set up the background light would be even more harsher than a beauty dish, so would show even more imperfections in the background Paper?

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24Peter
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Re: Lighting it more evenly will probably also help.
In reply to photokandi, Jan 26, 2013

photokandi wrote:

Duncan C wrote:

It also looks to me like you're trying to light your background with a single light. You really need at least 2 lights, from the sides, angled in at about 45 degrees. I'd probably use softboxes to get a wide spread of even light without hot spots.

Somebody else who shoots lots of portraits with seamless (e.g. Baz) could offer more concrete advice.

Hi Duncan,

I did try that with 2 150cm Octoboxes, but the light was uneven & the center darker. I would be looking to light it from low down Like a standard background light setup creating a dark vignette effect. I'm assuming with this set up the background light would be even more harsher than a beauty dish, so would show even more imperfections in the background Paper?

Perfectly smooth background paper doesn't exist in my experience. Humidity can make it worse, but as long as it is rolled tight, you can store it horizontally or vertically. The trick is to hit it with enough light. You just need more light and your backdrop will be fine (or at least as good as it gets).

For me, compared to vinyl at least, paper is much more versitle. Vinyl also tends to have its own issues, such as sagging under its own weight.

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DecibelPhoto
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Re: Lighting it more evenly will probably also help.
In reply to Duncan C, Jan 29, 2013

Artistically, you may not want an evenly lit BG.  I don't think that is the solution.

Paper will not always do this.  Generally speaking, a new roll being opened for the first time does not experience this issue.  The older a roll is, the more it's been used, and the more humid the air is, the more likely you will see this.  Sometimes it is just there, and there isn't much you can do.

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Barrie Davis
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Smoothing that paper.
In reply to DecibelPhoto, Jan 29, 2013

DecibelPhoto wrote:

Artistically, you may not want an evenly lit BG. I don't think that is the solution.

Paper will not always do this. Generally speaking, a new roll being opened for the first time does not experience this issue. The older a roll is, the more it's been used, and the more humid the air is, the more likely you will see this. Sometimes it is just there, and there isn't much you can do.

Unwind the drop you intend to use and let it hang for a couple of days ahead of time. This will allow it to temper front and back to the ambient air's moisture content, which is enough to get it to smooth out.

I find this works whether the zone is centrally heated, or not.

However, when you get shooting in UN-heated areas, the previously flat paper may dry from the middle, especially if warm lights are focused there. This leads to shrinking in the middle of the paper, with the outsides of the material staying the same size.. the result is it develops a "belly" like a sail for a boat.

If this happens, any that is on the floor can be physically stretched and stuck down with tape pulling it flat... (needs assistance to achieve)

... but if a belly from local drying occurs in the drop hanging vertically and loose, you just have to wait 'till it dries equally all over and smooths out again. This is a pain, but extra light (heat) on it will speed things up.

I hope this helps.

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Baz
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Re: Paper Roll Backdrop issue
In reply to photokandi, Jan 29, 2013

photokandi wrote:

I'm not interested in Photoshop fixes as I'm pretty clued up in that department,

Hmmm ... if you had banding issues from your attempts to fix in Photoshop, then you might need one more clue: surface blur. That will fix the wrinkles without causing banding.

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cedy
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Re: Paper Roll Backdrop issue
In reply to photokandi, Jan 31, 2013

Are you shooting in the highest bit depth possible? If you're starting with 8 bit files this banding is going to happen, try shooting in 14 bit, then converting to 16 bit immediately. It's hard to go from 8 but to 16, but 14 to 16 is not that bad. Either way, going to a higher bit depth from 8 bit will not improve the file.

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