How to Build a Cyclorama Part 2

I am finally getting around to part 2 of how to build a cyclorama. I left off with a completed frame for the vertical radius (check out part 1 for full details). So now it was time to skin the corner. I used 1/8″ masonite or MDF tempered hardboard, this was attached using 1 1/4″ crown staples and construction adhesive.

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Next we primed the corner with 1-2-3 primer (this has to be done before you can tape and mud or the mud will not adhere to the hard board), then used sheetrock self-adhesive drywall joint tape on all of the seams and  joint compound. The reason we did our mud now was because once the horizontal transition was in place it would be harder to get to this corner.

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Now it was time to start the horizontal radius around the floor. In part one I discussed how we created the ribbing pieces and all of the blocking was already precut. We planned out the spacing on the ribbing before cutting our blocking so that we could use our blocking to space each rib correctly. The blocking on the floor was attached using 2 1/4″ tapcons. Each rib had a piece of block on the floor and one vertical on the wall. A level was used to make sure that the vertical blocking stayed plumb.

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We then attached the horizontal blocking for our masonite, attaching it with crown staples. We staggered the blocking so that we were able to staple them in, and began to skin the radius. Because the lower part of the radius (where it touched the floor) had little support and was likely to be stepped on, we used thinset to fill the gap to the first piece of blocking. Roughly troweling it in, then applying out construction adhesive and crown stapling in the masonite. We continued this process until we reached the sheet before the corner where the vertical radius met the horizontal radius.

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This is where the process got a little tricky. After carefully thinking we decided the best was would be to make 4 pie sharped pieces. We cut out the ribbing for the corner after leaving a 4 inch section on the backside of the radius of the ribbing. This allowed us to put blocking on the top (connected to bottom of vertical radius) because we were not able to put a vertical block on the wall. The blocking going down the ribs were cut into 3″ pieces and staggered down the ribs and we places more blocking on the under side of the vertical radius to attach the masonite to. We then used seamless paper to create a pattern for the masonite.

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The pie shaped pieces were then glued and stapled into place using thinset to reenforce the bottom area. There were a few gaps but we didn’t worry about it much because we were going to use joint compound to smooth out the corner anyways. (Note: We used a massive amount of joint compound, 20 gallons to be precise. It had to be layered in with 7 different coats. Because it was so thick I would recommend using 20 minute joint compound. It will greatly reduce the dry time.)

Once all of the masonite was in place the board needed to be primed before it could be taped and mudded. We used some Henry’s skimcoat to  smooth out the transition between the concrete floor and the masonite and began to tape and mud the seams.

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After final sand (this took a couple time of sanding and coating) and all the seams were nice and smooth, it was time to prime everything. We used 1-2-3 primer because it seals and well as primes. We coated the floor twice.

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Once everything was primed, we painted the floor and walls with a washable and scuff resistant panit. The last thing I did was construct a custom 10′ x 30′ lightbank. The frame was welded together by a local welder and I bought a silk and ultra bounce to cover it. I hung it from the ceiling joist using a steel I beam and a engine hoist.

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Thank you for reading this post, I hope it is helpful.

Happy shooting

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