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Need advice on printing backdrops for a concert tour

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  • Need advice on printing backdrops for a concert tour

    I've been commissioned (by a GREAT band!) to design a backdrop for their up-coming tour. I'm on a SUPER tight deadline but it's something I'd very much like to do. However I could use a few tips.

    After talking to the band, they would like me to do a painting - as opposed to a digital design. Well, a large painting would take me too long, so I'd like to do a smaller painting and transfer it digitally to print on a backdrop. Lets say the dimensions are 40' x 20' - what size would the original need to be in order for it to transfer right? I want it to look professional and of very high quality. I am still not sure what the dimensions will be - I'm thinking it'll probably be a little bigger.

    Also, what is the best way to get the painting transfered onto the backdrop?

    Also - any resources to affordable printing companies that do this would be helpful. I need to obtain quotes quickly.

    Thanks for your responses!

    | Valerie |
    "Make sure the fortune that you seek is the fortune that you need"
    -Ben Harper

  • #2
    Hi Valerie,

    For the painting, watever size it is on final, drop it down a 1/4 in if your final piece is 40x20' make it 10x5' then when scan it, scan it in around 1200. Best way to get the painting onto the backdrop is to firstly NOT FRAME IT, because its going to have to go through a flatbed/drum scanner, once scanned they can print it out on canvas for you if you really want that original look, you can even stretch the canvas and frame the copy.

    As for printing companies, look up 'Large format' printshops or designers in your area, they will be able to point ya in the right direction. Good luck and congrats on the backdrop.

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    • #3
      Excellent! Thanks so much for the advice! If anyone has done concert backdrops before, I would love some advice on the best way to have it mounted/hung on stage. I have two ideas - one is using wire and holes in the fabric, the other is hanging it w/out putting holes in it and using a pole??? I don't know...I'd love some suggestions!

      thanks again!

      | Valerie |
      "Make sure the fortune that you seek is the fortune that you need"
      -Ben Harper


      • #4
        Please verify those dimensions?
        40 x 20 Inches or 40x 20 Feet?
        Let's not get all Spinal Tap here... LOL.

        If inches, it's a banner, not a backdrop...
        Any sign shop with a printer could do a banner.
        The scanning part may be tougher but they may have an outsource. Or any graphics place that caters to the architectural crowd would be able to feed-thru scan it for you. Many labs won't put artwork in their $50K drum scanner...

        If it's feet, with finishing, no proof, less than 5 business days is a rush job and it will have seams.

        PD is a grande format digital print dude. His advice/opinions may not apply to the 4color/offset/web world of printing

        Post Edited (PD) : 3/7/2005 5:50:57 PM GMT


        • #5
          The backdrop dimensions have not been given to me. I'm not sure what the usual size is for a concert backdrop, as this is all new to me. I have done banners for tradeshows before however, just digital, not off a painting/original artwork.

          I might split it up into 3 smaller pieces and hang them together which could come out looking really neat. That will allow me to work smaller on the canvas, and get more detail. The larger i work, the longer it's going to take, and I only have a month till the tour starts! Last minute idea but worth the ass-busting to get it done!

          But if I did do one large one that was say 20' x 12' or something is this too big? And What is the largest I can go w/out seams?
          | Valerie |
          "Make sure the fortune that you seek is the fortune that you need"
          -Ben Harper


          • #6
            16' (printable) wide x 300' (or end of roll) is the largest seamless. That dimension has to include bleed and crops so just a little under 16' if you have fancy finishing work to do.
            Some people have 16' machines (5meter)
            Some have 10' machines (3meter)
            Some have 72' machines.
            Most have 60' machines.

            Seams can be welded (or stitched) and from a typical stage backdrop to the first row distance, no one will care. If they do care, that means the band is no good. LOL! Just don't put a seam center stage!

            If you are going to be doing a large stage drop you need to know the smallest venue and the largest venue. How high the stage deck is going to be (wouldn't want your art to be down behind the stage), and what kind of rigging the producer wants. Some want pipe pockets, some want battons, some want grommet and ties, some want it stretched to a frame. How to finish the top, the bottom and the sides depends on the material being printed on. Make sure it is relatively non-glare for a stage show. Light bounce on some of the economy banner vinyls will make you no friends with the lighting tech or the producer.
            You also need to know who is doing the printing so you can ask them about file prep. Everyone with a big machine will tell you something different about file prep.
            Do you know how to work large with image resolution?
            Are you using a layout program or is it all Photoshop?
            If a layout program work in a scale that is easy for you and write it all over the work order.
            Remember to add bleed for finishing.
            Check out the Articles section. Their may be a Banner Requirements post in there. Or maybe it's in Resources now. I vaguely remember writing one.

            You have a month. You actually have less than 3 weeks if you want a proof. 3 business days to proof. 5 business days to finish. You can probably get it finished in 3 but it'll probably cost ya.

            PD is a grande format digital print dude. His advice/opinions may not apply to the 4color/offset/web world of printing

            Post Edited (PD) : 3/8/2005 12:32:19 AM GMT


            • #7
              Oh case you come back to read this...
              Very important!
              Wherever you get that drop printed,
              Make sure you get a fire rating sheet on the material and some 12' square pieces of printed material, one for each city the band is playing. Fire marshal may request it for testing. If you don't have it, they may not let you put it up. Stage stuff is a lot more strict after that RI fire.

              PD is a grande format digital print dude. His advice/opinions may not apply to the 4color/offset/web world of printing


              • #8
                Thanks for that tip! Very helpful. I'll definitely keep that in mind!

                I don't suppose anyone has any referals for the Chicago area on a good printer do they? I know there are tons around, but I'm not sure which place would be best to acquire quotes, and time is short. In fact, I still have not received dimensions, this may not happen for this tour, but I'm going to push for something in the future because I'd love to be able to do this.
                | Valerie |
                "Make sure the fortune that you seek is the fortune that you need"
                -Ben Harper






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