(Close Window)
Topic: Backdrop
Message: Posted by: WagsterMagic (Jul 17, 2007 05:30PM)
I'm looking for a cheap, portable, professional looking backdrop for some of my shows. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Message: Posted by: Sam Pearce (Jul 17, 2007 05:37PM)
Check out these setups, they are quite nice!


Message: Posted by: Ken Dumm (Jul 17, 2007 05:57PM)
I'll second Sam's recommendation. The plates are a bit heavy, but you need that weight to secure the backdrop. If working outside, be sure to bring a couple of sandbags. Better safe than sorry.

Message: Posted by: Mystical Matthew (Jul 17, 2007 06:18PM)
Wow! Thanks for the links! I have a jet set, but would like something a little bit wider. This might just do the trick!

I learned the hard way about the sand bag thing when the wind literally took my jet set off stage at one point ;-).
Message: Posted by: Michael Messing (Jul 18, 2007 07:36AM)
Unless you really need the extra stability of those heavy plates, I recommend photographic backdrop stands. They are lightweight, durable and inexpensive. Amvona.com sells nice ones. Here's the one I recommend: http://www.amvona.com/?page=shop/flypage&view=1&product_id=1011

It's 12' wide by 9'7" tall. *****To get the best price on Amvona's backdrop stands (and all their photographic equipment,) you want to buy them on eBay!*****

Their stuff sells for much less on eBay and everything is auctioned regularly. (I would link to one of their auctions but that's against the Café's rules.)

To find this set on ebay, just do a search for AS-14S. That will bring up all their auctions. If you want to go wider, they also sell 20' wide backdrop systems - the AS-015 or AS-015S (the S stands for silver.) (I own both types!)

You'll have to have the backdrop curtain itself made so their is the cost of material and labor for that. (My mom is a great seamstress so that took care of it for me!)

Message: Posted by: Ken Dumm (Jul 18, 2007 08:56AM)
I did an outdoor festival a month or so ago, and even though the plates are heavy, strong gusts of wind blew through the entertainment tent and played havoc with the backdrop. Small sand bags on the plates helped a lot. The material is doubled seamed on top and bottom, so I put wooden dowels in the bottom seam to help stop the material from blowing up throughout the show. The dowels fit in the bag that carry the whole set up.

Message: Posted by: Sam Pearce (Jul 18, 2007 11:14AM)
The pipe and drape I recommended is great! Although the plates are heavy, that's what you want! Do you really want your backdrop falling over?

The great thing about using the plates is that they hardly take up any room, and that can be a big plus when working tight spaces.

As Michael pointed out, the Amvona stands are also good, in fact, I used to use one for all my shows until I got my new system. If anyone interested, I have a couple used Amvona stands, and the crossbar, in a very durable bag. Its 10'x8' which worked good for me.

http://www.djskirts.com is also worth checking out for the actual drape itself. Very nice curtains! I use mine for almost every show, it's being used in the picture below.

Note: this is not the pipe and drape I recommended, these are crank stands with a 15' truss on them.
This is my main set-up, minus the side drapes. We travel with two sets of extra pipe and drape (10' curtain) for both sides of the main truss, if needed.

I'd be happy to answer any questions if anyone has any!

Message: Posted by: Timm (Jul 21, 2007 05:51PM)
I would recommend a spider backdrop. I've used one for years and they're quick and easy to set up and they look great. Here's the link:

Message: Posted by: robertwong (Jul 21, 2007 06:02PM)
I use Abbott's Jet Sets, the new 8' by 8' model. I have two of them to give me a 8' by 16' backdrop. Granted I would not use them outdoors but for a professional look indoors, I like them.

Message: Posted by: Patriot (Jul 22, 2007 09:56AM)
I prefer self-supporting backdrops that can be used indoors or outdoors. I prefer Jeff Jones' colorful and multi-layered backdrops. They're adjustable in height and width, set up and break down in 2-3 minutes, fold up to the size and weight of a collapsible sports chair and really present a professional impression. He's currently working on a design with independent adjustable side wings for greater coverage and enclosure. I use mine constantly indoors and out. I'll try to post a picture later today.

Not cheap...but they are individually sewn and assembled in the U.S. with quality parts and a money back guarantee. I've had mine for over a year and it looks as good as the day I bought it.

Message: Posted by: Patriot (Jul 23, 2007 07:28AM)
Please note that Jeff's backdrops come in a variety of colors and I believe he will still customize your backdrop to your color scheme. The Captain's is a customized design. Mine is a dark blue with a more magical motif and appearance.
Message: Posted by: Paulo Cabrita (Sep 12, 2007 07:48PM)
The best backdrop is the spider backdrop system.

Message: Posted by: Magicalpro (Sep 15, 2007 12:48PM)
I have used the Spider for years, cannot say enough about them, but now I have added Tim Sonnefelts Wonder Imagry background, and I work with the 7x7 for small venues, and then larger stages I will add the spiders on both sides, but with Sonnefelts, it goes up or packs away in less than a minute, and I am talking from when you set the carrying bag on the floor, http://www.timsonefelt.com/cgi-bin/store/commerce.cgi
I also had him do a customized table skirt to go around my Lefler table.
Message: Posted by: Dennis Michael (Sep 16, 2007 07:56AM)
This is quite decent backdrop and you don't have to get the frilly stuff see: http://www.MagicBackdrops.com
Message: Posted by: MJ Marrs (Sep 16, 2007 04:52PM)
I just recently got a Spider Backdrop. Set up is super easy. However, I haven't used it outside yet, so I'm a bit concerned about how it will hold up with the wind.
Message: Posted by: bobn3 (Oct 16, 2007 08:26PM)
Stevens Magic is now the exclusive US dealer for the Spider line. The product pages are linked to youtube pages that show how easy the set up is.




Bob Phillips
Message: Posted by: Banester (Oct 17, 2007 08:06AM)
That spider back drop looks very nice! And it looks easy to set up and take down.

Here is a link for some fancy curtains:

Message: Posted by: WagsterMagic (Oct 17, 2007 11:01AM)
I have actually looked into the spider back drops and have found those to be the best.

I am saving up to purchase one. Very expensive but will last long and I can travel with it very easily.

Thanks guys.

Message: Posted by: Dennis Michael (Oct 17, 2007 11:38AM)
I have the spider and I do love it. However, it does take time to set up. This is why I use the quick set-up from http://www.MagicBackdrops.com (30 seconds.) and is one third the price of the spider.

When making a choice for backdrop, one must consider the venue it is being used.
Message: Posted by: styck13 (Oct 17, 2007 08:14PM)
[quote]Check out these setups, they are quite nice!



Devon (my son) did a show last weekend with a backdrop setup likt that. We had more curtains than the "kits" on that page. we set up a little "stage" area with sides and everthing. It was a nice little set-up. we set up a set of pipes only to hang the backlights on. (careful don't over do the weight on this one) it turned out kinda cool. I'll have pictures soon. I'll post a couple for all do see.

Message: Posted by: 1906Alpha1906 (Oct 21, 2007 03:35PM)
DEFINITLY - Magicbackdrops.com!! I received mine last week and I must say that I am MORE than thrilled with it. Its so easy to set up, and goes up in under a minute!! Comes down and rolls up just as fast! I was in total shock when I saw this backdrop. Jeff at magicbackdrops.com was MORE than just a "sales person" on this, he actually wanted to know what I wanted in my backdrop and had it to me quickly, and even gave me options that I didn't know I could have! When the UPS guy came by the house, I immediately opened up the box and set the backdrop up. No directions are even need because its that simple. When it was up, my mouth just dropped open at the awesome work he did! Talk about having a stage in the living room! It even has corners that can bend to fit ANY space you are given to perform. Talk about a life-saver! And, not only that, imagine what your clients will think when they see that you have transformed the space you were given into a "magic parlor". Its awesome for pictures too if you do kids shows. Great stuff!! Great Stuff!! (yeah, I repeated myself on that one! *smile*). Not to mention that on stage shows, its awesome too!

It will add plenty to your shows for value wise also - Remember, you never get a second chance to make a 1st impression!

While I have seen other backdrops that look really nice too, I am just stating my experience with MagicBackdrops.com and Jeff Jones - His go up quick, and come down quick!

All I can say is GET ONE!
Message: Posted by: styck13 (Oct 21, 2007 10:03PM)
As promised here's a picture of the "stage" area that we set up for Devon's last show. NO it didn't go up in less than a minute but I was very satisfied with how it looked. it was super light, with the exception of the bases on the bottom and they weren't WAY heavy. The exposed bars infront of the back curtain were there for a very small amount of lights. (i'd like to had that "black powder finish" for this show). I thought the stage area turned out looking pretty stinkin good considering all I had was a big open floor when I started.
Message: Posted by: styck13 (Oct 21, 2007 10:05PM)
Here's one more picture.
Message: Posted by: dearwiseone (Oct 22, 2007 09:03AM)
I visited MagicBackDrops.com but couldn't find any pictures or information regarding how the system is constructed. Is it like the Spider? Is it PVC? does anyone have pictures or know what it's like?
Message: Posted by: g0thike (Oct 22, 2007 02:39PM)

Jeff has a javascript based pop-up picture script that is not set-up correctly.

He should fix it.

It might work on his browser but not ours.
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Oct 22, 2007 09:56PM)
I use the tripods and crossbar, photography style. The canvas is airbrushed.
Message: Posted by: magiccop1 (Oct 29, 2007 03:59PM)
I once read to not put your name on the backdrop. It's tacky.
Message: Posted by: jkvand (Oct 29, 2007 07:54PM)
On 2007-10-29 16:59, magiccop1 wrote:
I once read to not put your name on the backdrop. It's tacky.

I disagree. I think it's a great way to reinforce your name and your brand. Different strokes for different folks.
Message: Posted by: Christopher Starr (Oct 29, 2007 08:11PM)
Depends on the performer and their style/theme, but I generally agree with you.

Message: Posted by: Christian Illusionist (Oct 30, 2007 01:41AM)
On 2007-10-29 20:54, jkvand wrote:
On 2007-10-29 16:59, magiccop1 wrote:
I once read to not put your name on the backdrop. It's tacky.

I disagree. I think it's a great way to reinforce your name and your brand. Different strokes for different folks.

I'm by no means an authority on the subject and would advocate that you do what you feel is best for you. However, Stan Kramien said this concerning names on backdrops...

"Use your backdrops always, leave them plain. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES DECORATE THEM WITH YOUR INITIALS IN SEQUINS. (The sure mark of an amateur.)"
--Stan Kramien

Here is the link where that is found: http://www.stevensmagic.com/gemini/Stan%20Kramien/TheNittyGrittyPart1.htm
Message: Posted by: Dennis Michael (Oct 30, 2007 03:43AM)
Terry Evanswood opens his show with a huge flashing sign with his name on it while he does an appearance from a vertical glass box.
Message: Posted by: Amazing Magic Co (Oct 30, 2007 07:38AM)
Many of us have signs on our suitcase tables and travel cases as do I so I don't think there really is any hardcast rule about highlighting our names. Persoanlly, my backdrop is pretty plain dark navy blue with subtle sparkles on it with plain navy drapes on outer drapes when I set up a larger stage. However, while DynaMikes backdrop is busy, I certainly like the fun and excited mood it elicits. I guess it is all relative to the overall theatrical experience we deliver. Just my 2 cents.

Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Nov 5, 2007 11:30PM)
I believe the key here is the word "sequins." Sequins are generally tacky in the first place. Also the second and third.

Your backdrop should augment your show and your props. Choose a very simple color scheme and make sure your props fit in with it. If you have more than two colors, plus metals and woods, you are going to be sending too much information to the eye of the spectator for them to really focus on what you have in your show.

Extreme backdrops are not a good idea. Black can make you disappear, if you perform in Goth or in black tie. If you have a direct spot from the front, a mylar drop can blind your audience.

My color scheme in the Merlin show was burgundy and dark blue. We performed outdoors most of the time, so there was no problem with anything getting "lost" in the lights.

As far as folding backdrops are concerned, the spider system is great, if you are flying or if weight is a big factor. If weight is not a big factor, then you might want to check with Phil Kempf in Houston. He makes an 8 foot high backdrop that is 8 feet square, which folds into a box that is about 5 feet long by 6 inches by 6 inches. The box is an anvil type case, with a pair of built-in legs that swivel into place. The legs are basically flat on the floor, so you won't have to worry about bumping into them and knocking things over, which can be a problem with a photo backdrop stand.

The setup time for the backdrop is about 45 seconds. The take down time is about the same.
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Nov 7, 2007 01:45AM)
On 2007-10-29 16:59, magiccop1 wrote:
I once read to not put your name on the backdrop. It's tacky.
Yea, I know what you mean. It all depends. If I do kid shows, I use those backdrops on the previous page. Adult shows, solid colors. When coin manipulation is involved, a solid color backdrop. I am presently working on a street theme manipulation act. I am still working on the right theme backdrop.
Message: Posted by: Eyes of Darkness (Dec 7, 2007 07:08PM)
I use the spider backdrop system and I LOVE IT. I just foundout about the new Stargate backdrop from spider.

Has anyone used this new system? My concern is it doesn't appear to have stabilizing rods.


Message: Posted by: Christopher Starr (Dec 8, 2007 01:33PM)
Found a cool video on [i]How-To[/i] setup a SpiderFlex backdrop. If you didn't want one before, now you will!


I just bought a used one, and this was a big help.

Message: Posted by: Tod Todson (Dec 17, 2007 03:51PM)
Cool clip, Starr!
Message: Posted by: Christopher Starr (Toronto) (Jan 3, 2008 10:58PM)
We did really well this past Christmas season with over 50 shows using the Amovna.com photp backdrop stands that folds down and comes in a case and added a hand painted Christmas backdrop to it. The stands go up to 12' tall and with 4 bars of 3' each you can choose 6', 9' or 12' wide. We paid about $79 for them om E-Bay. The hand painted backdrop looked amazing and we had a lot of comments and we picked that up brand new too on E-Bay for less than $100. Sets up in just a few minutes, sturdy, and above all cheap! Less than $200 in total. Spider backdrops are expensive, although set up quick. Were're looking into the Sonnefelt Wonder Imagery to custom print a backdrop.

Hope that helps!
Message: Posted by: Wade Live (Jan 7, 2008 11:16AM)
Spider backdrop.... :0) Awww luvvvv it!!
Message: Posted by: Mystical Matthew (Jan 7, 2008 06:45PM)
On 2007-12-07 20:08, Eyes of Darkness wrote:

Has anyone used this new system? My concern is it doesn't appear to have stabilizing rods.



Has anyone out there used the Stargate? I would love to know about the stability as well... Otherwise it looks freaking *HOT*! ;-)
Message: Posted by: Stevethomas (Jan 7, 2008 07:06PM)
That thing looks fantastic!