Backdrops are pieces of large cloth or synthetic fabric materials that are painted or printed on and are used for theatres, films, events and photography. A backdrop is used as an illustrated background installed in a studio, which serves as a setting for an action taking place in a drama performance or a film scene. Backdrops can be made of various materials ranging from canvas, muslin, jersey, and velvet etc., each having its unique properties. The general features of these materials that make them ideal for being used as backdrops are that they are durable, resistant to weathering, and can be easily maintained.
Canvas backdrops are durable, but they are comparatively heavier than other fabric materials used as backgrounds. They are often prone to wrinkles and creases though they can be smoothened out by ironing. Jerseys are materials that do not wrinkle much. They are best used when fitted to a frame. Velvet is very suitable as a solid color background. Assuming it is not a crushed variety; one can easily maintain velvets with a little brushing from time to time. A widely used material in such settings is muslin studio backdrops. They are lightweight, impervious to wrinkling, crushing, and are durable.
Backdrops used in theatres are known as theatre backdrops. These are used on stages to create settings or location for scenes to take place. They lend realistic images to plays or photography sessions. Theatre backdrops are huge surfaces of cloth or fabric spread across the background of the stage, with sceneries of outdoor or indoor locations. A number of such backdrops may be used in various scenes of a single play. These different backdrops bring about variety in the settings, transporting the audience from a location like the mountains of the Alps to the likes of a casino in Las Vegas in a matter of minutes!
Today, events like weddings, proms, dance shows, fashion nights have gone to a different level altogether. High profile events like these often use themed event backdrops to make them sensational to the guests and the partakers of the event. Background materials including decorative curtains and designer wallpapers come to good use for such purpose. These backdrops help in creating the soul of an event. Participants of the event draw inspiration from thematic illustrations and designer patterns on these backdrops. They have profound visual impact on the ones looking at them and bring about uniformity in their imagination and discernment.
Backdrops have an important role in photography. Professional photographers favour these backdrops for their production works. A designer backdrop of bright colors or matted patterns is extremely suitable as background to the subject. Photography backgrounds are often single colored velvet surfaces placed behind a model that do well as contrasting and complementary setting for the photograph. Illustrated backdrops depicting interesting indoor or outdoor setting serve well as backgrounds for certain high quality professional photographic production works. Background for photography can be made of muslin, canvas, vinyl, etc. New age photography employs Chroma papers as backgrounds where illustrations are created digitally.