A white cyclorama wall, or cyc wall or infinite-wall is a construction with two planes smoothly merging horizontally and vertically. This structure helps creates an infinity effect of the same tone. Cyc walls were first used in television and news and later emerged in photo and video studios.
Since the cyclorama provides a very smooth background, it allows for simple light manipulation. A photographer can easily create gradient lighting or control the background to appear light or dark, and a videographer can cut the background. Evenly lighting the smooth surface provides an “infinity effect,” even as it goes around the corner of a studio. This produces an endless space behind the models. If you don’t want any shadows on the cyc, light it with two sources placed mirror-like on either side of the cyc wall.
A cyc wall is very useful for a variety of product shoots and styles of photography including e-commerce, catalogue, and fashion. The infinity ability helps drag attention to the model or product you’re shooting, without obvious background or wall-floor corners. A flawless background without distraction allows the focus to remain on the product you are showcasing.
While the positives allow for high-quality photography, there are a few downsides with a cyc wall. They are usually painted with matte or semi-gloss paints to avoid reflections, which can attract dirt. When dirt appears on the cyclorama, it is hard to wash away, and re-painting is the only solution. However, this takes time and may delay your shoot. If you have a long photo shoot and don’t want to spend time later in post-production cleaning up the floor in your pictures and removing footsteps on the cyc wall, there are a couple of rules to keep in mind.
To get the best experience with a Cyclorama, just follow these simple rules:
- 1. Clean shoe soles before you step on the cyc wall or bring a clean pair for only walking on the cyclorama; you are not going to be happy re-touching all the footprints later. You can either wash and dry the soles beforehand or tape them to create a clean surface. The best option is to have a separate pair of shoes for the model to wear while he/she is not walking on the cyclorama. Just prepare these shoes by either cleaning them or taping the soles and leave them on the cyclorama.
- 2. The Studio may provide cyc booties to wear over your shoes but be aware that those will eventually get dirty if you walk around other parts of the studio.
- 3. Let only the model walk on the cyclorama and make sure he/she wears clean shoes.
- 4. Avoid eating/drinking near the cyc wall. Food stains also do not look flattering in the final frames.
- 5. Don’t think your bare feet cannot leave marks!
- 6. Obviously, don’t skate, ride, or walk in any way on the curved part. It is easily broken, and repair costs are estimated in the hundreds and are very time-consuming.