space required for backdrop roller?

Started 2 months ago | Questions
dbasics New Member • Posts: 1
space required for backdrop roller?

Hello, I live in a small city house, and I'm considering attempting to install a backdrop roller system at the top of the room divide in the photo below. Is this something that would be possible with the dimensions indicated? And, would this be enough space to attach a motorized roller system? Any suggestions appreciated. Many thanks!

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Guillermo Shashte Contributing Member • Posts: 950
Re: space required for backdrop roller?

Something like this:

https://www.amazon.com/Fotoconic-Motorized-Electric-Ceiling-Background/dp/B07CGJLPHG/ref=rtpb_2/145-9491948-5153918?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B07CGJLPHG&pd_rd_r=350ab99e-7fa3-4fc2-8ac4-f9aeb418dcd3&pd_rd_w=owZCE&pd_rd_wg=DXvUC&pf_rd_p=49740592-2805-416d-896c-b825ad91c2cf&pf_rd_r=4YCZ7C79B17E75NEACMD&psc=1&refRID=4YCZ7C79B17E75NEACMD

Probably ugly in that place, at the most I would install only one motor with a roll of medium gray paper. Not sure if the motor will not be visible from the other room. Or you could install a single manual one. Here you can see how I did it in my garage (when motorized systems were very expensive and bulkier.)

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GS

Ed Shapiro
Ed Shapiro Regular Member • Posts: 303
Re: space required for backdrop roller?

You haven't mentioned what kind of photograhy you intend doing in you allotted space- portraits, headshots, groups, still life, products? You may end up with space shortages dependg on what you will be shooting, how you are going to light your subjects, and the physical space required for a motorized background system.

The two most popular seamless paper sizes (for portraits)  are 53" wide (about 4ft) & 107" wide (about 9ft). The first is recommend for headshots, while the second is recommended for full-body portraits and groups.  You can get away with a smaller size for small objects. There are, however, some important caveats.

An important consideration is having enough clearance on either side of the background to place lights at various angles and distances from the subject(s).  A main or accent light might need to be placed anywhere from zero to 135 degrees to the camera/subject axis and far enough away so as not to enter the camera's angle of view.

Paper, canvas, and many other background materials are heavy, especially if you have multiple roles in place. The motors on a motorized background are heavy l as they must-have enough torque and moderate speed to move heavy materials.  The 4 motor units on my system extend about another 12 inches beyond the brackets.  The collective weight of the backgrounds, motors,

brackets, and rollers is significant and requires heavy-duty mounting hardware. You may have to reinforce the ceiling with plywood to better distribute the weight of the rig.  Multiple heavy-duty toggle bolts may be required. On my rig, I used lag bolts screwed directly into the joists.

This is not meant to discourage you, however, the installation has to be done properly to provide proper alignment of the brackets, smooth operation, and safety so you don't want to go through all the preparations and steps to secure it in place only to find that you have sufficient space for your lights, enough backup space to shoot with a focal length of your choice, have a reasonable distance between the background and the subject, and accommodate the size and type of your subjects.

When you plan the additional space for light placement consider the leg-spread of light stands, the clearance needed for a boom stand (if an overhead or hair light is required), and if you want to create a cyclorama background, consider space for 2 background lights placed 45 degrees to the cove and background.

I hope this helps.

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--Ed Shapiro- Commercial and Portrait Photographer. Ottawa, Ontario Canada

Gato Amarillo Veteran Member • Posts: 7,011
Re: space required for backdrop roller?

Looks awfully tight, but you might be able to make it work. Looks like you have about 7 feet total width, so you might get in a 5-foot wide backdrop.

Maybe the 3 roller version of the system linked in the previous post could be ceiling mounted -- you'd probably have to find a way to span two joists to hang it. The lowest roll might hang lower than the top of the opening and the rolls be offset from the opening.

robertfel Senior Member • Posts: 1,758
Read the box 'Store Upright'

Rollers are great for changing background colors quickly during a shoot. But they aren't meant for long-term storage, especially the longer ones. They'll sag in the middle and you'll get a wavy pattern in the paper which may be visible in the image.

Vinyl keeps a little better than paper, but can still get a wave.

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Guillermo Shashte Contributing Member • Posts: 950
Re: Read the box 'Store Upright'

With a little mod as explained in one of the reviews should not be a problem.

Impact Cross Pole for Uncored Paper or Fabric Backgrounds (106.3")

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/822762-REG/Impact_VPC_5_Background_Holder_Cross_Pole.html/reviews

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GS

Gato Amarillo Veteran Member • Posts: 7,011
Re: Read the box 'Store Upright'

robertfel wrote:

Rollers are great for changing background colors quickly during a shoot. But they aren't meant for long-term storage, especially the longer ones. They'll sag in the middle and you'll get a wavy pattern in the paper which may be visible in the image.

Vinyl keeps a little better than paper, but can still get a wave.

Right -- if you are going to leave backdrops up on rollers you need metal cores. And even then paper can sag if it's are not used regularly -- if you're not using them several times a week it's probably best to take them down and store on end.

Ed Shapiro
Ed Shapiro Regular Member • Posts: 303
Re: space required for backdrop roller?

I have 4 roller on my rig.  There are 3 heavy canvas backgrounds- I very long floor length. The 4th  roll is white seamless paper.  I've never kept a roll of seamless for more that a year but have never experienced sagging My rollers are made of heavy fiber board  over metal cores and ends  Funny thing is I don't know the brand name- no labels.  It has 4 DC reversible motors, a small solid state rectifier, and a switch box with four rocker type DPDT (center position off)  momentary contact switches. Working perfectly for 30 years!

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Ed Shapiro- Commercial and Portrait Photographer. Ottawa, Ontario Canada

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