Studio Curtains for Backdrops

Chas01This edition of "Doing it On the Cheap", is on studio curtains for back drops. If you're like I was, on a low budget, you probably, at best, have a 2 inch pole going across the back of your wall, hanging on a couple of heavy duty hooks.

This presents many problems. For one thing, you can't easily slide it back and forth. The hooks are in the way, and if you have multiple camera angles, your camera can't shoot too much at an angle without showing an ugly background, cinder block wall, or the ugly exit sign at the back door! Yuck!

Chas02


I quickly found out a curtain track system to go around the room was very pricey. And then one day I was actually in the hospital for a couple of days. You may see where I'm going with this. I was lying there, feeling pretty good actually (the nurse had just given me a shot for pain), and I looked up and attempted to focus on the nurse as she pulled back the curtain. "Wait a minute, Maam, could you pull that curtain back a second?" I was feeling pretty stupid for more reasons than one. There it was, as clear as can be (not perfectly clear), but it was there. The curtain track system used around my bed. Hmmmm, why didn't I think of that?

Meanwhile, back at the studio, I got online, searched around and found several sources. The one I used, which was the best price, was www.curtainfair.com There were lots of options, but I chose cubicle tracks. After poking around a bit I called them and we determined the #1200 aluminum tracking system was suitable. http://www.curtainfair.com/1200track.htm

Check this out, for somewhere around $5.50 per linear foot of track, I purchased about 72 feet. All they need to know is total linear feet, how many turns and at what degree. They sent me the tracks (came in about 5 or 6 foot lengths), couplings, elbows, end caps, and carriers (rollers). They send about 2 to 3 per foot.

Click on the link above and you can see a drawing of exactly how it works. You can choose the type of rollers/carriers.

Chas03

Now, getting it hung up myself wasn't too hard but required some elbow grease. We put a 2X6 flat on edge all the way around two sides and back of the studio. You can see in the pictures how we attached a 2X8 on the wall, for the 2X6 to screw into (this was actually screwed together before screwing them to the wall). We probably went overkill on the 2x6 & 2x8's, it just depends on how heavy you drapes are going to be. We planned for the future here, so that we could come back and put in a 2nd track for another color fabric if we wanted to. My studio is about 22 feet by 28 feet. So we purchased 72 feet of track with 2- 90 degree turns at the 22 foot corner. Cost was about $400, plus a few dollars for shipping and handling. We went down both sides of the studio and across the back behind the main set.

So now, we have the freedom of having any number of sets in any area of the room, with no worries of the background. Even without props or other icons, we at least had a nice black curtain in the backgrounds.

That takes me to the fabric. I simply found a willing parent who went down to a local fabric store, bought some nice black fabric, lots of it. It was roughly about $200 worth. She put in the hems (hope I spelled that right, I'm no tailor), and seams and I had enough curtain to go all the way around the room, from the track (which is not too far from the ceiling) down to about an inch off the floor.

We also purchased a $6 grommet kit at our local hardware store. She double hemmed the top about 3 inches for strength. We punched in the grommet rings at about every 5 inches (2.3 per foot).

Voila! I know we saved lots of money doing this ourselves rather than to have it professionally done. I hope the pictures give a better description than my yacking. Feel free to email if you have any questions.