the all-seeingeye Building a Cyclorama


A cyclorama is something I've always wanted. Until building my current studio I've never had an adequate place for one. So, like most of us, I've had to use seamless background paper-which I loathe. I've never seen instructions for building one, so I was forced to invent the technique demonstrated here. So far, everything seems to be holding up just fine. Be forewarned, this project is a lot of work, and the finished cyc weighs a lot-like maybe a ton for every 16' or so. If your floors and walls are not real sturdy, don't try this.

Decide just how big you want to make your cyc. This will be determined by available space, general size of subject matter, and the lenses you normally use. It helps to play around a bit with the area you will be using with a mockup and test subject, just to define the rough dimensions. Mine ended up being 12' high, 12' deep, and 16' across the face. I can cover this area with a 135mm lens at the length of my studio-which is about 40'. Your mileage may vary.


An exact materials list is impossible because it will depend on the finished dimensions of your cyclorama. However, the cyclorama will require: 3/4" plywood, 5/8" plywood, 1X2 furring strips, 1/2" Dens-Shield tile backers, 1/4" luan plywood, diamond mesh lathing, tile backer screws, nails of several sizes, construction adhesive-both caulking-gun tubes and gallon-size, 36" wide rolls of drywall reinforcing/repair fabric, a prodigious quantity of thin-set mortar (the kind used to set ceramic wall tile), metal or plastic drywall corners, and drywall compound. All of the necessary materials are usually to be found at home building centers.

Steps(see cross-section drawing)

Main Page