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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Where to put it all... » » Anyone know how to set up a backdrop? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

trampabroad
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Hi All,

Hope someone can help me because I'm really out of my mind here.

A while back I bought a backdrop from another magician. It consisted of two telescopic legs, and a crossbar between them, and a whole lot of satin cloth. It looked pretty good, just like a stage curtain. Except...

Now I have no idea how to set it up. Do I clip the cloth from the inside? The outside? Behind? Every time I try to set it up, it looks like a bunch of homeless cats were sleeping in it. Can anyone give me a for-dummies instruction on how to set up a portable backdrop?
Donald Dunphy
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Victoria, BC, Canada
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Do the cloth panels have channels in them, so they slide onto the crossbar of the stand? That's the way that most portable backdrops work.

D
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Dick Oslund
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Well, "BO" (that's short for HOBO) A tramp "aint" a hobo, but, I just thought I would inject a bit of humor...

Donald has asked a good question. "We" can't be of much help with the description you've given.

Abbott's JET SET uses one tripod "leg" to hold up a telescoping cross bar. The curtain is made with a wide, open hem, into which the cross bar can be inserted.

The old "Star Magic" (Stan Payne) had two uprights (with "legs") to support the cross bar between them. The curtain had an open hem, too.

Abbott's uses steel tubing for cross bar and tripod. Stan Payne's is all aluminum tubing. Stan was in Seattle. He used scrap aluminum tube from the airplane factories.

Those are the two with which I am familiar. The newer "spider" rigs, I haven't seen, close up.
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
trampabroad
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Hey, thanks for the reply. Sorry for the lack of detail.


There are two telescoping tripod legs, and a crossbar across. I can't see any insert-y things besides that.


The cloth is just that--long ribbons about 5x20 feet long, with a shiny side and a dull side. The black is maybe a bit longer.

There are no attach-y things as far as I can see. The one time we set it up together, we used bulldog clips to hold the cloth in a vaguely stage-curtain-y shape. Looked good then, but I can't get the knack of it now.
Bill Hegbli
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Mylar strips are attached at the top, sewn together, there should be a channel at the top, that open like a tube. You slide the cross bar through that channel. Mylar is not cloth, Mylar is silver plastic, and as you use the word "ribbons" I would think that means they are strips of Mylar. They should be sewn together to make a curtain. If not, there is no way you get to show and spend an hour clipping individual strips of Mylar the cross section at the top.

20 feet long, you mean your frame goes 20 feet in the air. No way. Post a picture of what you have. I think you got taken for a ride.
Dick Oslund
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I agree Bill. Whether 20' long, or 20' high (?????) I cannot imagine what this guy is talking about.

"INSERT-Y" THINGS???
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Donald Dunphy
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I wonder if the 20' long cloth panels are draped over the crossbar (hang down 10' on each side), and then the two "halves" of the cloth panels are clipped together near the top to create a temporary channel around the crossbar? It sounds odd to me, because you really don't need a second panel of cloth behind the first panel (extra weight, extra hassle). Or maybe the original owner didn't know how to sew, to make the channel. Also, if the cloth panels are 20' long, and hang down 10' on each side, that is a pretty tall backdrop (most are 8').

Several panels, 5' wide, would be put side by side to cover the width of the crossbar. That part is normal (although some cloth panels are only 3' or 4' wide).

Maybe if you see some photos of other backdrops, you'll understand that most other performers aren't really doing it the way you describe.

Here's another thread on backdrops, with photos, from the Little Darlings area of the Café: http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......forum=17

There are also several threads on backdrops in the FX area of the Café. There's even a pinned thread on backdrops at the top of the FX area.

Here is one company that sells curtain panels for backdrops, so you'll see that most curtains (aka drapes) have channels in them for the crossbar: http://www.onlineeei.com/drapes.cfm

I bought my drapes from that company for my backdrop, but I don't use their pipe system. The drapes are a nice quality, and are treated to be flame retardant. They come in a variety of lengths, but most are less than 8'. http://www.onlineeei.com/drapecomponents......c-drapes

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
wwhokie1
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Sounds like someone bought a photo backdrop, a lot of cloth, didn't know what to do with it to make it work right and sold it to someone else.

My suggestion is to take it to someone and have them cut it to the right length and sew a loop/channel on one end to feed through the crossbar.

To make this work it will need some extra work.


I got my drapes from the same company Donald mentioned in the previous post. My photo backdrop tripod system is a heavy duty one that extends up to 12 ft and supports 30 lbs. I usually just use it at 9 ft. and have no drooping in the middles at all. Here is the link to it: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0007IP......_o07_s00
It cost a little more but is definitely worth it for the quality and stability. It came with a great carrying case as well.
trampabroad
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Thanks Donald, and your guess seems to be right--my cloths don't have any channels or tubes to put the crossbar through. I bought the setup from a balloon guy who didn't much use it, aside from shooting videos.

Anyway, now that I know that it's not exactly a standard backdrop I can start figuring out a way to ersatz it.
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