Cyclorama is an uncommon word, but chances are you’ve seen it before while watching commercials, the nightly news, or your favorite TV shows and movies. In short, they’re a way to provide a professional backdrop giving the illusion of tremendous depth, and they are indispensable in the creation of special effects. Feeling lost? Here’s a brief walk-through on cyclorama walls, what they are, and when to use them to help you find the way through this incredibly useful and easy-to-use system.
What Are Cyclorama Walls?
Traditionally, cycloramas are recessed and curved areas in a building that provide the illusion of a larger space. For centuries, cycloramas were a way for theaters to trick the eyes of their patrons, most often to fake a sky scene above the stage. Later, in the 19th century, cycloramas were massive paintings designed to be stretched over the interior of a rounded building, giving the illusion of standing in a realistic scene. Many of these original cycloramas were produced but few exist today. One of the more famous ones in existence is the Gettysburg Cyclorama at Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.
A modern cyclorama—also called a cyc wall—on the other hand, is a blank, modular walled background with curved surfaces and seamless corners. It can supply what’s called an “infinity background.” This makes the studio seem larger than it is and allows users to easily hide external equipment off-screen. Cycloramas are also integral in producing the well-known effects employed by green or blue screen/chroma key technology. If you’ve seen a superhero or space movie filled with explosions, lasers, starships, and flying heroes, you’ve seen a cyclorama in action. Well, sort of—cycloramas do their best work by making it harder to know they’re there.
When Can You Use Them?
You can use them anywhere they’ll fit, and due to their modular nature, you can add and take away the walls and curves as the job requires. Cycloramas aren’t just for special effects in blockbuster films and TV weather reports—they turn up in music videos and are used by photographers and commercial directors who want neutral and endless-looking backgrounds that let them focus exclusively on their subjects. Cycloramas are also great for reflecting and manipulating light and shadows. The latter is especially handy when working with chroma key since unwanted lights and shadows can interfere with the final product and require extra work to remove imperfections in post-production.
Where Can I Get One?
Since 1988, ProCyc has offered several varieties of cyclorama walls for sale, including wall kits and coves in freestanding and built-in models. Contact us so we can discuss your requirements and suggest the best cyclorama materials to fit your business’s needs. Please let us know if you have further questions about cyclorama walls, what they are, and when to use them!