Building your own Cyclorama

Technically the word "cyclorama" or "cyc" (saɪk) can mean a number of things. In theater, it could refer to a white curtain backdrop that you shine colored lights on to create a colored backdrop. It could also refer to whats known as a "translight".


What I decided to cover is typically what I think of when I hear the word "cyclorama": A seamless wall that kind of like a part of a skate park. It has ramps that go up from the floor and into the wall, and it has no corners, they're all rounded off so that they don't cast shadows.


Cycloramas can be painted a number of colors depending on the situation. They can be used as green screens, black backdrops, or white backdrops.


I found a video of two Aussies building a permanent cyc wall in their studio.

They've laid out a lot of the basic carpentry and dry wall skills needed to build one of these things, they've even released their plans and templates for free on their website.


Now I understand people might not have the space or the money to take on a project like this. Temporary cyc walls are usually comprised of a roll up paper backdrop, or some kind of fabric. I've used plenty of temporary cyc set ups in the past, and I can tell you that they both work for different situations. It just depends on the scale of the project.


Obviously in the real world, I would prefer shoot on a permanent cyc wall. They give you a lot more freedom and are usually faster to work with since once they're built, you don't have to set it up for every shoot. That and some studios will have pre rigged lights already illuminating the cyc wall so that you don't have to set up your own. You can focus more on lighting your subject rather than the wall.


Cyc walls don't have to be 10ft tall either, shooting products in mini cyc set ups are a breeze too. You can buy a number of mini cyc photo boxes online, but here's a few ways I found that you can build some.