Setting up a home studio

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by hoffy, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Greetings Fellow Silver darkeners,

    After a few attempts, I would like to finally setup my garage as a makeshift home portrait studio.

    OK, first things first. The garage is used as intended (albeit, I only ever seem to get one car in there at any time...sigh), so anything I do to it needs to be make shift.

    Now, the dimensions of the space is approximately 5.9 M x 5.2 M (17ft x a bit over 19 1/4 feet). The garage is brick walled and concrete floored with a 2.4 M cream plasterboard ceiling. There is also a brick column in the middle of the 5.2M side, but only 1 wall. I also have 3 roller doors to contend with.

    My thoughts were to render or board up 3 spans of the walls, with each section that I board up being around 2.5 M (I have shelving in other other spot, else I would have one nice long section there). I had thought of painting these sections 3 different shades - White, Black and either as close to a mid grey as possible OR a mid grey with some darker spounging to add some texture).

    What I am after some input on is the floor - I am not 100 % sure what to do with it. I had thought of leaving it as natural concrete, but since cars will be parked in there most of the time, I would need to contend with tyre marks (after 15 years, there is are distinct rows of tyre marks on both sides - it is a garage after all, but thankfully I don't have leaky cars!). Anyone any advice on what I could do with the flooring?

    The other thing I am concerned about is the ceilings - since they are low for a studio, quite a bit of light seems to get bounced around. Would it be worth my while to blacken out some of the ceiling? My thoughts would be to use black material/plastic that can be dragged in/out.

    Anyone else got any other thoughts on the actual studio setup or are willing to share what they have done? While my space is not perfect, it is the biggest area I have and I still think it is doable.

    Cheers
     
  2. adelorenzo

    adelorenzo Subscriber

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  3. ozphoto

    ozphoto Subscriber

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    I had a studio space in Port Adelaide for a while - used seamless for background and for full length shots. Gray (charcoal), white and coppery tone. Gray was good, because I could make it darker or lighter depending on how much light I threw on it, or how close or far the subject sat for a portrait.

    Dean Collins had a great video that shows how you can make a gray seamless any colour you want as well - it was quite a versatile colour.

    Still have them at home, stored away - 3 almost brand new rolls. Might have to unload them at some stage. . . . . .
     
  4. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Cheers,

    Yes, I had thought of seemless rolls - The thing is I would really like to have a floor to play with as well. Also, as depth is and can be an issue, I thought that if I use a permanent background, it might be a bit more durable and not show the inevitable blemishes that paper will get over use.

    I have used a fabric background in the past and this is a real PITA. Its fine when exciting pixels, as you can PS them out later, but its a pain with Film.

    As for Grey - yes, I have found that to be really flexible. Just cover a back light with a bit of cellophane an all of a sudden you have a green/red/blue/gold background!

    Cheers
     
  5. LarryP

    LarryP Member

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    Epoxy paint on the floor.There are a couple of brands of epoxy paints designed just for garage floors for sale here in the U.S. so I'd think they'd be available in oz. Can't remember the brands off hand but I do remember a kind of mid gray as one colour.
     
  6. ozphoto

    ozphoto Subscriber

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    Matt finish is good choice - easier to get rid of nasty marks, but you will probably end up needing to repaint every so often.

    Southlight Studio had a small white area with a short "cyc" that gave a nice curve from floor to ceiling. I remember well, having to paint it white again after a shoot, in my assisting days (transformed from a dark beige); took a while, but mopping it after other shoots was a breeze.

    Paper, we reused quite a few times, but once the white got too dirty (where the talent would stand and move only), a quick slice with a Stanley Knife (boxcutter), soon had it nice and clean again. :smile:
     
  7. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    You can unroll enough seamless paper to cover the floor and provide a mini-cyc wall in the process. Unroll enough to extend say 2 meters out from the back wall, tape down the leading edge, then pull it back up just enough to put in the amount of infinity curve you want, and then clamp the roll so it can't unwind. Then you have a solution for your dirty floors and for your portrait backdrop.

    As to the ceiling, since it is somewhat low, I would blacken it with paint as a first preference. If you can't do that, I'd get a big sheet of black fabric and tack it up. You can get black velvet backdrop material (terrific for its light absorbing properties) in roughly 3 meter by 5 meter size that would completely cover your sitting area.
     
  8. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Very durable stuff AND you don't have to worry about tire tracks.
    If there's a possibility that it could get wet you can mix i sand as an anti slip precaution but the sand makes it a bit harder to clean.