Howdy people. This may seem like an odd question or one with an obvious answer. I have a room in my basement with a space about 16' x 14' that I am converting into a studio for stop motion. I have a 7' work bench in there for model/set construction, an 8' shelving system and have room for a 7' x 4' table for sets. (not sure if that's too big). The ceiling is open & all set for lighting. Aside from opinions on what size my table should be for sets/animation, I am really not sure what the best color for the walls would be. I imagine it will certainly effect the lighting of sets. I could hang curtain rods from the ceiling and go the black curtain route. Any thoughts on the subject would be greatly appreciated.


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The walls in my office/edit suite are 18% grey (rgb: 118,118,118). Makes for a great, neutral working environment. 

My studio walls are matte black. 

Man, if only I could get away with painting my walls black... That would be ideal! At the moment, I've got black curtain covering up the stop motion area.

Hendrikus De Vaan said:

The walls in my office/edit suite are 18% grey (rgb: 118,118,118). Makes for a great, neutral working environment. 

My studio walls are matte black. 

I wasn't allowed to paint them black, so I staple gunned black building paper all over them. Sort of like temporary wall-paper or something.

That works too- as long as the paper is completely matte. 

I've had issues in the past with a blue background that wouldn't key out right. The reason ending up being that light was reflecting off of it and creating hot spots. You could have a simliar issue with black poster paper, if it's glossy. I think you can get 3M matting spray, though.

It's matte paper. They use it here for roofing etc I think. The way I shoot makes it a bit of a non-issue though, because I have such a slow turnover I can triple check exposures.

I had a scene where I used some green plastic sheeting as a greenscreen, and it was not matte enough.  It reflected some white light back at the camera in spots, just like Don's blue screen.  But I got a polarising filter for my camera - you screw it on the end of your lens, and then rotate it to get the right angle, and magically all the reflections disappear!  

Normally I use matte wall paint so it's not an issue, but the polarising filter made my semi-gloss plastic work ok and let me shoot the sequence.  I got it at the nearest camera store, the right size to fit on a Nikon lens.

I have now been shooting my backlight shots with cheap black cloth covering all the white screen that is not visible in the shot, and it has reduced the stray light quite a lot.  

Ahh, good call, NIck! Did you have to make the kicker light brighter to compensate for the filter? 

I got a bunch of left over greenscreen from the Spartacus WOTD TV series. I guess it's only about 4ft by maybe 6ft, but it was free and should be sufficient for 99% of things I need it for.

Ask around local production companies and rental houses (especially after big budget films/series), you'd be surprised what they throw away. A lot of gells etc that are too small for live action are perfect for stopmo.

Anyway, I guess I'm digressing from the OP now.

Black is best, and certainly the best if you're doing time exposures with generally low light levels in the first place.  While not as light absorbing as velvet, the stuff Nick mentions is known in the US as Duvetyn ( or commando cloth) for creating either dividers for your space, or wall draping.

Motion control stages from days past were basically large black rooms with dividers created as needed for each set-up using this stuff.  It's "somewhat" fire resistant, but that's not license to put hot lights right against it, of course.  Flags (lighting control panels placed in front of lights) are often covered with the heaver duty cloth.

Cheapest pricing US pricing I'm aware of... I've ordered from these folks quite a bit... don't get the lightest weight if you have light behind it you want to black out, go for the middle or the heaviest.  10' tall and as long as you want...


Jim Arthurs

Thanks Jim! I actually found black velvet curtains at a local drapery shop..grommets on top so they were easy to hang on cheap poles. 

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