New Studio - What color to paint

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by HuffakerPhotography, Jun 11, 2008.

  1. HuffakerPhotography

    HuffakerPhotography TPF Noob!

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    Hey everybody!

    We are building a residential studio in our lower level (basement). I want to describe the area to you, so you get a better feel for what I'm trying to accomplish.

    To enter our studio you walk down the stairs and the bottom three steps turn to the left and enter the studio area. This is is 12 feet wide x 25 feet long. The ceiling height is going to be around 7'7" when the flooring has been completed.

    On your right you'll see frame corners on the wall and some wall portraits hanging in front of, and beside you. The other end of this area is the actual studio area which will have paper backdrops on rollers, and muslin on a track system.

    For our lighting we have 4 Profoto Compact 600R's and we have fond they are quite powerful in this small environment. However that was when we had bare drywall on ceiling and walls and concrete floors.

    Our drywall has now been textured so we're ready for paint. With the small width and low ceilings I'm concerned about the lights reflecting back on the subject.

    What are your recommendations for this studio area? Flat black ceiling above the main shooting area, 18% gray walls????

    We will have a semi-dark walnut laminate on the floors as well, with some area rugs spread throughout over time.

    Any recommendations are greatly appreciated!

    Thanks again... Oh yes, Nice forum you all have here...
     
  2. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    Couple things:

    If the walls are white, they WILL reflect. But that can also be great for high-key work, or getting the most out of your strobes for ambient fill. If you tend to work with precise lighting, i.e. softboxes, barn-doors, honeycombs, grids, etc, then scatter isn't much of a problem. If you're firing a ton of light through or off of umbrellas then you could get light scatter from the walls, but at most I can't see this raising ambient more than 1/2 stop unless you're firing all four strobes at full power w/ umbrellas.

    I don't see it as much of an issue.

    Also, I would consider a white ceiling. With such low ceilings you could also shoot w/ part of the ceiling in frame but knock out the corner w/ a strobe.

    I say stick to lighter, neutral colors and invest in a set of scrims for situations where controlling ambient reflections is critical.
     
  3. Rhys

    Rhys TPF Noob!

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    Grey - it's never been in style so it'll never go out of style.
     
  4. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    Why gray if you're trying minimize reflections? If you wanted to minimize the reflections you'd paint it matte black or line the walls with velvet. Sounds silly, doesn't it?
     
  5. Rhys

    Rhys TPF Noob!

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    Matte grey will minimise specular relfections while making the place look less like a hole.
     
  6. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    I prefer matte black studios for the degree of lighting control they offer, but many people find them rather disorientating. They are common enough in the television world (both black studios and disoriented people).

    I think that grey, as suggested by Rhys, is a good compromise. A perceptual mid grey (ie 14% to 18% reflectance) does not look gloomy, but it cuts reflections to about a quarter of those that would come off white walls. The more precisely* you light, the more important it is.

    *Edit: That's badly written. I'm not trying to imply any value judgment here, nor am I promoting 'precise lighting'. It's perhaps more to do with versatility and controllability. You don't always need versatility in a studio. If you have used both dark and light studios, and prefer white-walled ones, then use a white-walled one. If you've never used a dark-walled studio it might be worth trying one - you might like it.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  7. RyanLilly

    RyanLilly No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I think that all of the point above do have relevance, but I think that what ever makes the room feel comfortable is important, you can always use more backdrops, on the sidewalls and floor of you need to control the light differently.
     
  8. shutter1000

    shutter1000 TPF Noob!

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    I think your biggest hurdle will be the low ceiling.
     

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