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Watch your depth of field; insight into how to fold
on September 13, 2012
Just thought I'd comment on something I haven't seen mentioned elsewhere in the reviews. The background is very useful, but the muslin (by virtue of the way this folds up) will always be wrinkled. If you're using the black background, it therefore needs to be far enough in the background so the wrinkles are out of focus (I imagine with the brightly lit white background, the over-exposure would hide the wrinkles, though if your lighting isn't bright enough, there could be a problem with white as well).
I had to rearrange my home studio once I saw the issue, and since my space is limited, I actually can't move it far enough back to completely hide them. The "soft focus" wrinkles provide a slight texture to the background, which is acceptable to my eye, though not the look I had originally intended. How far back will depend on a bunch of factors including the brightness of your lights (brighter lights = smaller aperture = more depth of field). With my setup, I've had to move it 3' behind the subject, which is all the space I have, and I would prefer another foot.
FOLDING INSIGHT, added Dec 2012: Recently took the background into the field for the first time and had to deal with folding it up. Despite viewing several different youTubes, this turned out to be quite challenging (as others have noted). However, after much trial and error (mostly error) I discovered something that helped me fold the thing consistently, once I understood it.
The frame of the backdrop is a flat metal band sewn inside the muslin. Think of it as having an "exterior" surface and an "interior surface". When you fold the thing, it's important to grasp the band strongly enough so that it doesn't twist. As you fold the backdrop over itself, keep the exterior of the band pressed against the palms of BOTH hands. This is what causes the backdrop to curl up into the round shape you need to place it back in the case. If you let the band twist inside the muslin so that one hand is pressing against the original "exterior", and the other against the original "interior" (which is what it "wants" to do) the backdrop doesn't curl up, and remains an awkward and stubborn object. It requires a fair amount of hand and arm strength to make it work: I'm 6'3" and powerfully built (though pushing 60) and found it somewhat challenging. I'm sure many people will find it difficult to impossible to fold by themselves.