The Manfrotto Magnetic Background Mount and Lastolite Urban Collapsible Concrete Backdrop have seriously changed my opinion about using backdrops.
This post may sound like an ad, but it genuinely isn’t as I’ve followed FTC laws since the first days of this blog. Instead, it’s just heartfelt praise for pretty much everything about the system (with the exception of folding the damn backdrop back down into a portable configuration). Many photographers probably have some sort of at home studio setup. I know some who use paper and I’ve always instead reached for muslins and canvas. In fact, it’s not unusual for me to go around Etsy to find painter’s canvases that were on the floor to prevent paint from damaging said floor, cashmere blankets, Persian rugs, etc. But with the Manfrotto Magnetic Background Mount and Lastolite Concrete Backdrop, you get a real solution to a problem you never really thought you had simply because we’ve been doing things in a certain way for so long. Backdrops typically need to be thrown over a bar of some sort and then adjusted. But with this combination, you can throw that idea out the window.
So how do you use it? Well, it’s so incredibly simple that I didn’t think I’d actually type this out. But for starters, you don’t need two backdrop stands. Instead, you’re rolling around with only one. If you’re traveling to a set, then that means you’re bringing that much less gear. Then the Manfrotto Magnetic Background Mount connects to the top of one light stand using its screw and tighten system. This is standard for a lot of options on the market if you work with grip gear. Then you raise the light stand up and extend it quite a ways. When you unfurl the Lastolite Concrete Backdrop, make sure you’ve got a bit of room to do so carefully. It’s quite large, but it will magnetically connect to the its attachment and stay in place. At first you’ll sit there wondering if it will fall. And for the few times that I’ve used it, I can guarantee you that it won’t – it will instead just stay in place.
Everything is built very solidly. When you hold the Magnetic mount, you can easily think of it as an average piece of grip gear. KUPO and Avenger both make much more heavy duty stuff than this, but I also like lightweight options. This is great for an indoor studio where you’ve got a lot of control and wind won’t blow something away. I wouldn’t take this set on location unless I was indoors.
Where it all becomes a bit of a pain though is in folding the Lastolite backdrop back into itself for portability. A photographer and I tried for a while and she figured it out. I on the other hand took quite a while longer, even though I’ve seen it done in person more than once. Eventually you’ll get it. Granted, portability means that you’re essentially bringing the equivalent of a massive reflector. Most muslin backdrops fold down much smaller than this.
Here are some sample images.
I really like the Manfrotto Magnetic Background Mount and Lastolite Urban Collapsible Concrete Backdrop. However, I’m not totally sure I’d use them again or purchase them specifically because I’ve got a much more eclectic look to what I do. I like to be different, and polished concrete in addition to super expensive backdrops are all the rage right now (rightfully so because they do a great job!). But I want something different and I want to think more artistic and thrifty. That’s just me though. Some clients may genuinely like this look. In fact, most will.
Tech Specs for the Manfrotto Magnetic Background Mount
Taken from the Manfrotto Website
|In Bag – Depth||7.09 in|
|In Bag – Height||3.54 in|
|Weight – In Bag||4.19 lbs|
|In Bag – Width||37.01 in|
Tech Specs for the Lastolite Urban Collapsible Backdrop
Taken from the Manfrotto website
|Weight – In Bag||7.94 lbs|
|In Bag – Width||33.46 in|