How to Use a Cyc Wall
In this article we will give you some useful tips on how to use and light the cyc-wall.
Cyc-wall or Cyclorama, also known as Infinite-wall. It is a construction with two planes smoothly merging – horizontal and vertical. It helps to create that infinity effect of the same tone. Such constructions first were used in television and news. Later, they were emerged in photo and video studios.
Since cyclorama provides very smooth background, it is very convenient for a photographer to create gradient lighting. For videographer it is easy to cut the background.
Lighting can be controlled so the background appear light or dark. When lit evenly, the smooth surface, even as it goes around the corner of a studio, can provide an “infinity effect” — an endless space behind the models.
If you don’t want any shadows on the cyc, light it with two sources placed mirror-like on either side on the cyc.
If you decide to log for more art-y look, think of a cyc as a prop or interior – try different angles.
Cyc-wall is very useful for e-commerce, catalogue, fashion or any other style of photography. Because of its infinity, it helps to drag attention to the model or product you’re shooting, without distinctive background or wall-floor corners. But with all the benefits there are several downsides – cyc walls are usually painted with matte or semi-gloss paints to avoid reflections and the dirt easily sticks to it. If you have a long photoshoot and don’t want to spend time later in post-production cleaning up the floor in your pictures and removing footsteps on the cyc wall, here are a couple rules for you. When some dirt is stuck to cyclorama it is hard to wash it away , the only solution is have it re-paint. But it takes time and may postpone your shoot or even push it to another day.
To get the best experience with a Cyclorama just follow this simple rules:
1. Clean the shoes’ soles before you step on cyc wall or bring clean shoes for only walking on a cyclorama. You are not going to be happy re-touching all the footprints later. You can either wash and dry the soles beforehand or tape the soles. Best way is to have a separate pair of shoes for a model to wear while he/she is not walking on cyclorama. Just prepare the modeling shoes, make sure the soles are clean/taped and leave them on the cyclorama.
2. Avoid walking on cyc before the shoot, otherwise you are gonna have it dirty not even starting shooting.
3. Let only the model walk on the cyclorama and make sure he/she wears cleaned shoes (see #1).
5. Sometimes there is an option for using a sticky mats. Tap on a sticky mat until you get rid of all dirt from the soles, try stepping on the edge of the cyclorama. If you don’t leave marks – go ahead, otherwise try tapping more.
5. Warn a studio representative ahead of time if you want to shoot a model with paint, confetti, glitter, dry color, oil, liquid or alike materials. Think first, because if you throw confetti/glitter etc for one shot, you will have to clean both the model and the cyc wall for the second shot. All these materials stick to surfaces easily and are hard to clean. If you still decide to do so, double check with a studio representative beforehand. If you are approved on using any of those, ask the studio if they can provide shower for your models and don’t forget about towels!
6. Avoid eating/drinking near the cyc wall. Food stains also do not look flattering on the final frames.
7. Don’t think your bare feet cannot leave marks!
8. Obviously, don’t skate or ride in any ways on the curved part – you don’t know what it is made of, it might be easily broken. Repair costs are estimated in hundreds or even thousands dollars and it is very time consuming, too.
9. Don’t drag stands, tripods, furniture or any other heavy equipment over the cyclorama in order not to scratch it. Instead, lift it and carry over to the cyc wall.
10. Feel free to ask a studio representative any questions regarding any additional rules of using the cyc.
We have 19 ft wide cyclorama wall here at FD Photo Studio in Stage C. Come and try it out yourself!