Photo Backdrop Resources

Equipment

Really Right Stuffwww.reallyrightstuff.com – panorama equipment and tutorial on website.

Very expensive, high quality machined aluminum. This is what I use.

The Panosaurus gregwired.com/pano/pano.htm – much less expensive.

Might be adequate for lighter SLR cameras. Manufacturer specifically excludes professional size/weight cameras. Should work fine for point and shoot cameras.

Software

For a panorama long enough to be a good backdrop you need a program that can project a circular image onto a flat piece of paper, not just a simple stitcher. This might rule out some free stitchers included with cameras.

Adobe Photoshop CS4www.adobe.com – expensive

David Halpern says the stitching works very well in CS4; I had problems with earlier versions of Photoshop, but have not tried CS4 yet. Available for Mac and PC (except XP x64).

Huginhugin.sourceforge.net – free front end for PanoTools

Not as polished as more expensive programs. I used this on some older panoramas with no problems. My father also used it on his Macintosh with no problems.

PTAssemblerwww.tawbaware.com – inexpensive front end for PanoTools

A little more refined than Hugin. This is my current panorama program. Available for PC only.

Autopano Prowww.autopano.net – more expensive

Supposed to be very simple to use; recommended by Thom Hogan. Available for Mac, PC, and Linux.

PTGui and PTGui Prowww.ptgui.com – more expensive

Used to be a front-end to PanoTools, just like Hugin and PTAssembler, but has evolved beyond that. Available for Mac and PC.

Panorama/Backdrop Printing

Commercial

Backdrop Warehousewww.backdropwarehouse.com

$6/sq. ft. for custom printing on DmiBOP 10 (see sample). Base prices for completed scenes are a bit higher, but there are a number of specials and promotions. Website is hard to read.

Do It Yourself

Material

Heavy Matte Paper (Premium Matte)www.redrivercatalog.com

Plain cellulose paper with inkjet receptive coating (11 mils thick). $0.22 / sq. ft.

Mural Prohttp://www.magicinkjet.com/product.php?id=104

Latex saturated wet strength paper (12 mils thick); similar to DMiBOP10 but without nylon reinforcement. $0.52 / sq. ft.

Sample supplier: http://www.calumetphoto.com/item/ML0553

DMiBOP10 http://www.magicinkjet.com/product.php?id=10

Latex saturated, nylon reinforced cellulose (11 mils thick). $0.60-$.70 / sq. ft. - sample handout

Sample supplier: http://www.mediaoneusa.com/dmibop.html

Phototexhttp://www.lexjet.com/lexjet/product_disp.asp?dept%5Fid=13103&pf%5Fid=PTA

Lower resolution fabric with adhesive base; repositionable and removable. 10 mils thick going through printer, 6 mils thick after backing is removed. $0.96 / sq. ft.

Costs

Consumables

Heavy Matte paper – material cost around $0.22; ink cost around $0.82 / sq. ft.

Total consumables cost of $1.04 / sq. ft.

DMiBOP10 – material cost around $0.70 /sq. ft.; ink cost around $0.82 / sq. ft.

Total consumables cost of $1.52 / sq. ft.

Phototex – material cost around $0.96; ink cost around $0.60 / sq. ft.

Total consumables cost of $1.56 / sq. ft.

Printers

$1500-$1800 per year amortized cost of 24” HP or Epson printer

$2000-$2500 per year amortized cost of 44” HP or Epson printer


I estimate you would have to charge $3-$4 / sq. ft. to make sure you don't lose money, and $6 / sq. ft. to be profitable. For the sake of comparison, I charge a watercolor artist friend of mine $10 / sq. ft. for fine art prints (the paper is much more expensive, more than $2 / sq. ft. and there is a lot of cutting of smaller prints) and she considers it a good price. The standard rates for fine art printing run from $15 - $30 / sq. ft.