Originally Posted by bonj
I use this velvet type stuff. It is specifically made for photography and works a treat. I have no idea where to get it in the U.S. though. For those in Australia, Dragon Image is where I got mine. They have stores in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. It could be made in China, most of their stuff is. They get it in massive rolls and cut off the length you want.
Dragon Image have two kinds of black background (other than paper). One is the synthetic velour - it's really black, but it's a pain to keep clean because it's a lint magnet. The other stuff is a non-woven material that they say is polyester; it has a fine dimple pattern and a non-reflective coating - it sells for A$17 / metre, which isn't much more than 2.7m wide paper. The pattern doesn't show unless you are way too close (maybe four inches!). Much easier to keep clean.
Both materials come 3 metres wide (~10 feet). Both are a lot thicker and let less light through than muslin. They drape nicely into a curve if you want the cyclorama effect. I have 6 metres of each, but I doubt I'll use the velour again - too much of a pain.
The only thing I can't help you with is where to source them.