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Studio Floor ?
Old 12-02-2004, 08:06 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hi Everyone, I am building a home studio out of my garage and I am dissatisfied with a painted concrete floor. Has anyone else tackled this issue and come up with a acceptable solution. I really want to have the option of shooting without a muslin or paper background. I also shoot motorcycles so I have a need for the floor to be durable but I would believe that most commercial studios that do that kind of work have a solution. Any help would be extremely appreciated. Best regards, Tom
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Re: Studio Floor ?
Old 12-02-2004, 09:29 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Tom

My studio is in a former industrial building with concrete floors. I use a tight-weave cotton Dhurri (I think I spelled that right) rug under the seamless when I shoot. The weave is tight enough that I don't have a problem with high heels going through the paper -- but if I'm shooting a nude model, she doesn't end up with her butt on cold concrete either! When I shoot sculpture or something lihe that, I just roll up the rug and put it in the corner.

Look for a cheap rug at somewhere like Home Depot -- or talk to a real rug broker and see if they have a stained rug that they can't sell and might let you have for a really good price. You're interested in a tight, flat surface -- not a great color or pattern.

My rug is 9x12 -- so it covers the shooting area just fine.

Bob

There is a rug under that seamless!

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Re: Studio Floor ?
Old 12-02-2004, 09:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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A good industrial material that will stand up to some abuse is vinyl flooring, the chapest you can find. What's that you say? what about the pattern? Use the BACK side. It's tuff, smooth(ish) and can be repainted multiple times. We use it at the studio as the standard white. We simply use paper for the black and the muslins are hung from bars mounted on the wall. Try it.. it's good stuff nailed to a 2x4 mounted against the back wall.

craig
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Re: Studio Floor ?
Old 12-02-2004, 10:02 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The current issue of the Fine Woodworking "Shop and Tool Annual" has an article on inexpensive options for covering a concrete floor - they look at a vinyl layering material, kind of like a vinyl rug, vinyl tiles, and a composite chipboard/vinyl tile. The latter looked most promising to me, and can be painted. Or, you could use 2x4 sleepers glued to the floor, covered with a polyethylene vapor barrier, and install 3/4" tongue-and-groove plywood subflooring. That would cost about 3 inches of headroom, but would provide a resilent yet durable surface when painted or polyurethaned.
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Re: Studio Floor ?
Old 12-02-2004, 10:20 PM   #5 (permalink)
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John, Thanks for the reply. That certainly gives me something to think about. Best regards, Tom
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Re: Studio Floor ?
Old 12-02-2004, 10:26 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Craig, Thanks for the reply. The vinyl is the direction I was leaning but I am concerned with motorcycle kickstands and tires damaging the vinyl. Maybe I just need to take extra care when moving them around. Did you make the vinyl corner into a cyclorama so that you do not have any 90 degree corners for shadows to form or just leave it as is ? Best regards, Tom
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Re: Studio Floor ?
Old 12-02-2004, 10:29 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Bob, Thanks for the reply. Your post is interesting because I assumed that carpet was out of the question due to high heels but you have proven me wrong. I will check out some carpet samples and see what I can dig up. Certainly would be better from a models perspective as far as warmth if they are reclining on or near the floor. Best regards, Tom
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Re: Studio Floor ?
Old 12-02-2004, 10:40 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Yes.. absolutely I use it as a cyc. It holds up well and it will still be good for the motorcyles. You're going to have to be careful with something that heavy no matter what you use. The good news is that as long as you are careful to not punch any holes in it, the tire tracks get painted over quite easily. Have fun.

-Craig
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My most recent cover shot:
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Bathroom board...
Old 12-03-2004, 12:57 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Bathroom board (I think that's what they call it) has a shiny white surface that would match up with a white background. It's paneling, and cames in 4X8 sheets. I don't know how well it would stand up to lots of traffic but several photographers have mentioned using it with white seamless to get a somewhat reflective floor with no visible separation line. Check your local home supply store. If you go to Home Depot, you can get a set of inexpensive hot lights at the same time. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif[/img]

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Re: my floor
Old 12-03-2004, 01:57 AM   #10 (permalink)
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When we moved into an old industrial space, we just got a grinder and smoothed out the concrete, then polished it. Kept it that way for 12 years. It was easy to clean, and we didn't worry about damaging it. We'd hang seamless when we needed a cove look, and built sets on it when we need them. It even photographed nicely for some fashion portraits or motorcycle shoots. Here it is with Jaime Bergman, shot with ringlight, against a textured stucco wall we had done early on.



The thing is, if you paint a concrete floor, especially a former garage, you have to prep it with muriatic acid to get all oil residue out of the concrete. Then you prep it with some kind of solvent (I forget which) and paint it with special concrete paint. It will look great for about a month, then you'll think about painting it again. After doing this at my first two studios, I said no way for the next one. I do know some guys with white built-in coves (make a frame and use drywall and stucco to make the curve) but there is an art to it, and its also a pain to keep clean. And if you want another color, you either end up using seamless paper anyway, or you acknowledge that it will take several coats of paint to get back to white. Unless you do a lot of white cove work, its not worth it.

One funny thing I used to do sometimes. One of my dogs, Puliki, used to chase tennis balls, and when she was ready for a bath, I'd take her into the studio (I took her to work everyday) and and throw the ball at the back wall like playing handball. She'd run after it and slip on the polished floor, and slide into the wall. It was fun to watch for a while, and helped keep the floor clean. Then she was really ready for a bath. Here she is on that floor a little more relaxed.



Regards,
Andy Pearlman
Andy Pearlman Studio
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