Hi! I have been directed to set up a small studio at my work. The use will be mostly for "talking head" interviews and such. Seated.
To add some versatility to the space, and since I can't paint it, we were thinking of getting some theatrical drapes that could hang in the background. Green, black and white. The vendor I found has a system that will attached to reinforced drop ceiling grid... which I have.
My question is this, I have two fabric choices... one thin poly muslin and the other a thicker “PD Cloth” or "Cyc Cloth." I like the thicker stuff better, but it will have seams, the thinner won't.
Would seams be a big issue in post if I am keying? Should I just go with the thinner stuff?
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What kind of "seams" exactly ? eg. How many, how thick, where do they run in relation to your setup?
In general, if the area isn't smooth and uniform behind the talent, you're going to have more difficulty getting an excellent key (can still be done, just more difficult)
For Talking Head, all you need is head and shoulder background. A movable screen can be made from a rolling garment rack, and using single drape panels.
The seams would be vertical and would be about every 72 inches. The drapes need to be about 230 inches.
6" panels don't give you lots of seamless space, if you are doing more than just head & shoulders or using anything but telephoto views.
What about doubling up on the thin ones?
What makes the thick ones more attractive to you?
I know there are other vendors that can put out wider panels than that. Which have you looked at?
You can't paint the studio?
Seams can be hidden if: 1. they are lit correctly and 2. you use a SHALLOW depth-of-field on the cameras.
For greenscreen and other compositing, would you be doing the keying/matting live? or in post? (post allows more comprehensive cleanup of seams). Using garbage mattes and median filtering, you can clean up a lot of difficulties with greenscreen. In fact, there was an old post on this site that showed a great example of getting a real clean GS matte via AVISynth scripting - even when using a crappy home green blanket!
These are the drapes I am looking at:
The system they offer fits into the budget i was given and works with a relatively low drop ceiling.
As for the thicker cloth, it is just a denser weave fabric. Maybe that doesn't matter when hanging up against a wall? More of a gut feeling from someone who doesn't have any experience choosing such things.
I can't paint because we don't own the space and the property manager doesn't want any colors on the walls that they will have to go to extra effort to paint over when we move (in a couple of years mind you). There are some other trivial reasons to compound it, above my pay grade. Suffice to say, I can't paint.
The Keying/Matting will be in post.
At a glance, the "thinner" of the 2 looks to be ok to use. Don't know what your budget is - have you looked at other, more video-centric sites? Like Markertek, or B&H?
When hanging against a (flatly-painted, neutral) wall, either one of the above should be OK. It's just when there might be lighting/contrast BEHIND that a thinner won't do and a thicker will. In most of those instances (where there is a surround set placed in a much larger space), the "curtain" that is used is the old-style velour/velvet with curved pleats in them (my recollection), so seams wouldn't be noticeable behind all the pleats. But those wouldn't be used for "seamless" backdrops either. Most large-scale seamless backgrounds are painted-on to "infinite horizon" cyc walls.
Yes, B&H and others didn't meet my needs on various levels. It was quite a search! I was basically given an old server room to work with. Barely fits the bill, but it will have to do. Thanks for all of the advice!