Cyclorama walls are a worthy investment for any photographer or filmmaker seeking to perfect their shoots. Whether you use photography, film, or video, a cyclorama wall can turn the smallest space into an infinite one, allowing crisper shots, better lighting, and the ability to use a green screen to its utmost potential. But keep one element of every cyclorama wall in mind: cove radius. Here are the basic pros and cons of different cyclorama cove radiuses
A Range of Radiuses
Stretching your mind back to geometry class, remember that while diameter is a straight line through the center of a circle, radius is half the distance, spanning from the center to the edge. With cyclorama walls, the radius is the measurement from one point of the wall or floor to a point on an opposite wall or floor. Imagine a partial circle. You need this circle to ensure there are no shadows on the wall when you light it for a shoot. Shadows remove the illusion of distance. Flat backdrops made of paper or cloth are harder to light well enough to keep that illusion. However, a modular cyclorama wall provides a radius, and the farther back and larger a radius is, the better it will look through both your eye and the camera’s. Now let’s look at the pros and cons of different cyclorama cove radiuses.
Big and Little
As mentioned, the larger and farther back the radius, the more area you can cover with the camera. Smaller objects require only a small radius of about 18 inches, but the more you pull back, the greater radius you’ll require in your cyclorama wall. Therefore, bigger items and larger sets may require a radius of 42 or even 60 inches. Again, the greater the radius, the more curve there will be, requiring less light to hide the shadows. As an extra note, just because you have a smaller studio, that doesn’t mean you should go with a smaller radius. Your subject matter is the determiner, not the size of your space. If you plan to shoot smaller things, 18 inches is fine, but bigger subjects will need a greater radius.
Equal and Different
What about the shape of the wall, especially in corners? Some systems equalize the amount of radius between wall and floor, but this isn’t an ideal situation. Pro Cyc employs a non-parabolic corner system in which the vertical radius is different from the horizontal. This provides a better field to accommodate lighting, preventing the possibility of shadow lines. All things being equal, unequal radiuses are best! The greater the size of the curve, the farther back you can shoot, which means you’ll have more background. This can be especially effective in green screen productions. Ask about radiuses while deciding on the best modular cyclorama wall for you!