Would you like to get a 7.5′ x 8.5′ video backdrop for less than $15 USD? Well, all you need is a quick trip to the local Walmart.
The bedding section of your local Walmart or Target store has a huge selection of video backdrops available in a variety of colors. I recently needed a black backdrop for an upcoming video project. Instead of ordering one online and waiting for it to arrive, I headed to Walmart. I purchased a queen sized flat sheet for about $13 USD plus tax.
The key things to look for are flat sheets with a poly/cotton blend. 100% cotton will wrinkle badly and 100% poly will have a sheen that reflects light and will create specular highlights.
The flat sheet will have a wide hemmed edge. If you cut off the sticking on the sides, you will reveal a loop in the fabric that is the perfect size to thread a support rod through to hang your new backdrop.
Fresh out of the package, the sheets are VERY wrinkled. There are a few ways you can smooth everything out and get it ready for shooting. You can break out the iron and ironing board and go to town (not recommended.) You can put the sheet and a damp hand towel or washcloth into the dryer and let it tumble dry for a few minutes. The water in the washcloth will heat up and steam out the wrinkles. The third option is my favorite.
I break out an inexpensive clothing steamer and steam out the wrinkles as the backdrop hangs in my studio. This takes about 30 minutes to do, but you don’t risk fading the color or shrinking the fabric. Plus, when you are done steaming, you are ready to shoot.
Once the wrinkles are steamed out, the bed sheet backdrop is ready to use. Other than the 2 small cuts to open the rod pocket, this is every bit as good as a professional backdrop. All the edges are finished. You have a rod pocket for hanging it. And it looks great on camera. You can choose from a variety of colors. Or, you can use some tie dying techniques to add visual texture to the backdrop. It’s best to use different tones of the same color so your backdrop doesn’t turn out to be more interesting that the subjects you are recording in front of it.
Do you have any video production tips to share? Leave a comment below.