A normal photo or slide can be blown up to about 3 ft, but larger prints
become blurry. Even wide negative and panoramic film are under noticeable
strain over 8 ft. It is impossible to make a 10 ft. image from a 35mm
slide unless you are planning to stand back 20 ft. and panoramic films
show distortions at large sizes. Good luck trying to piece 35mm
slides together. Plan to stand back about 20 ft. from the print. Most layouts need 20 to over 100
ft. in length. A 10 ft. scene is of little use for most layouts and several unrelated and
unmatched scenes end to end don't do much for the layout either. One
way to increase size is to mirror image. We saw one scene that had 3
reversals to make 12 ft (Definitely not one of ours).
BackDrop Warehouse makes scenes up to 78 ft. that are distortion free,
unique the entire length (no reversals), then broken
into matching sections (4 inch overlap) A, B, C, D or A, B for 24
ft. We sell
any scene reversed at no additional cost.
|3) Color Tone:
There are inherent color changes over long horizontal distances.
Conventional film and panoramic cameras capture these changes and may
produce an unnatural print with varying brightness, contrast and other
strange effects from end to end.
Since our technique is entirely different we can correct for these
color shifts in a two stage process which allows our backdrops to have the
same tone, contrast, brightness, and saturation over the entire
length. We adjust the color to be a little washed out for a few
customers and a
little dark for some but just right for most.
Our clouds are real but stripped of the sky and stored ready for use as an
individual digital object. We can change the shape, density, and
contrast. The same clouds are used on many scenes in varying forms.
As mentioned above conventional photography and processing make for blurred images
printed over 3 ft
or 8 ft long depending on the camera used. This is due to
limitations on lenses and grain of the film or pixels in the sensor.
Although our methods have limitations, they are far beyond what is
needed for backdrops. We are pushing technology to stay well ahead
of current requirements. We also offer two resolutions, BackDrops
(higher), BackGrounds (lower
resolution and most
common). More info.
Know what you are buying for the media that the backdrop is on. Plastic
based medias have a high coefficient of expansion and can stretch or tear
off the wall with temperature changes. We have personal experience
with plastic media. Some media is shiny - not good. Most paper media are
flimsy and will tear easily and may soak up mounting pastes and cements.
Many have wrinkles because they are too thin.
We use a heavy grade paper (12 mil) with embedded nylon for
strength. It is water resistant and scratch resistant, wrinkle free
and very low coefficient of temperature expansion. There is no
reflectivity (matte surface). The media may soak up a little paste if the application
is too heavy (rubber cement - no problem). Our inks are UV
protected with a fade life of about 20 years. We have been using this
media for years without a problem. For more info
Since most photography is from a single point, the scene changes over long
horizontal distances. 35mm film doesn't have this problem because it
has no horizontal distance, but wide negatives and panoramic images have a
very noticeable fish eye effect. Moving away from the center causes
the image to become larger or smaller depending on the terrain and
lens. Usually there is a darkening of the image on the ends
especially noticeable in the sky and clouds.
Our scenes are nearly the same size and perspective over the entire
length. You may see a different angle of buildings and some slight
reduction in horizon on some scenes from end to end, but many scenes have
no apparent change in angle or size. Color changes are due to the
natural lighting, not the photography.
|4) Sky match:
For any backdrop made from film or panoramic image, the sky will be
different for each scene plus darker or lighter from end to end and the
clouds are never where you want them. Not only will there be scenery
mismatch from scene to scene but large variations in sky as well.
Again, since our process is unique, we have developed a digital way to
completely remove the sky and clouds from all scenes. We then
replace the original sky with our gradient eastern or western sky, and
place our real but rebuilt clouds always away from edges (10 inches from
ends and 1-2 inches down from top). Over the years our gradient has
changed and some older scenes may have a slightly different
gradient. We are rebuilding these as time permits. We only
guarantee a match on A, B, etc. printed at the same time, however, it is
unlikely you would notice a difference on any east to east or west to
west. On transitions we either correct mismatches or blend.
The gradient will be slightly different for different vertical sizes and
scales. Theoretically all eastern skys will match for the same
vertical size and scale as will all western.
A major problem with conventional film or digital images is that one size fits
all. You may not want an N scale scene for your O scale layout or
worse a 3 ft high G scale print for N scale.
Since our scenes are broken down digitally we can manipulate the size
to fit different scales and print sizes. We check the closest objects for
relative scale and size and adjust as necessary. Although our
scaling isn't exact, it is within tolerance. Again, some customers
like smaller, some larger, the drift is to larger or slightly over
scale. Over size allows for scenery in front of the backdrop without
hiding the contents. We have 40 pre-made size and scale variations for each scene, that is
about 10,000 combinations. We do not make custom scaling. For more information on scale
A requirement for a good backdrop is to be able to have a continuous scene
changing from hills to agricultural to commercial to mountains.
Because our scenes are perspectively flat, corrected to color standards
and broken down digitally, we can make custom transitions that continue
for 100s of feet. There are some restrictions and some transitions
look better than others but all are possible.
|10) Cutting edge:
We are always trying to improve our backdrops to make your layout look as
realistic as possible. Layout photos
For more information on how-we-do-it,