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Hi, I am planning to shoot an animation where I backlight black paper that I have poked holes into, similar to old school way of making outer space footage. I remember many years ago I had bought a few sheets of some kind of special black paper to do exactly that. But I can't remember what kind of paper it was and I don't know if it is made any longer. I would like to have the background be extremely black like it is when I shoot against black velvet or wool. Any paper suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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I used some thin black card, poked the pinholes, and lit it from behind. I put a sheet of tracing paper behind it to act as a diffuser, otherwise the angle of the light would have varied and not shone through the holes around the edges as well as in the middle.  I had a spaceship model in front of it, but had part of the ship going off the edge of frame so I could have a support rig and not have it block out some of the stars.  That was a very long time ago!  Since then I've made the star field in Photoshop, and shot the model either frontlight-backlight or against green screen, and painted out the rig before keying it over the star background.  I think the card was something in the vicinity of 800mm (2'7") x 600mm (2').

Come to think of it, I also made a much bigger one using an old Holland blind (the kind that rolls up around a tube with a spring inside) which I painted black, then poked the pin holes.

Neither of those was as black as black velvet, but by keeping the lights for the model off the front of the star field, they came up pitch black on 16mm film. That's where the bigger size helped, I could move the model further in front of the background and do better at controlling where the light went. 

That ultra black nano paint would be great for this, if you could actually get any.  

 

Thanks so much for your suggestions Nick! I'm actually looking for standard letter size black paper or animation size paper. I will light it from behind against a light table. Or it least this is my initial idea, the ideas keep expanding for this project! I'm not making outer space imagery, but was inspired to use the old technique to do an experimental film about butterflies. I guess I will be technically making it 2D cell animation style, but I will probably add some stop-motion effects/techniques as well.  I could probably also use a paint pen on black paper or create it in photoshop, but i really like the way the way the light shines through a small pin prick. Plus it's a fun challenge to make it by hand. There will be enough time spent in front of the computer doing editing and sound. I had bought a pack of black paper, but so far the tests I've done had a lot of light leakage and was hard to get a pitch black color, but I could trouble shoot this more. I actually didn't spend much time on it. I had bought some special sheets black paper from some film supply place back in collage that was perfect for this, but I have no idea where to get it now or what it was even called. This was back in the late 90s when people still did things analog. I guess I still like the charm of the old ways.

StopmoNick said:

I used some thin black card, poked the pinholes, and lit it from behind. I put a sheet of tracing paper behind it to act as a diffuser, otherwise the angle of the light would have varied and not shone through the holes around the edges as well as in the middle.  I had a spaceship model in front of it, but had part of the ship going off the edge of frame so I could have a support rig and not have it block out some of the stars.  That was a very long time ago!  Since then I've made the star field in Photoshop, and shot the model either frontlight-backlight or against green screen, and painted out the rig before keying it over the star background.  I think the card was something in the vicinity of 800mm (2'7") x 600mm (2').

Come to think of it, I also made a much bigger one using an old Holland blind (the kind that rolls up around a tube with a spring inside) which I painted black, then poked the pin holes.

Neither of those was as black as black velvet, but by keeping the lights for the model off the front of the star field, they came up pitch black on 16mm film. That's where the bigger size helped, I could move the model further in front of the background and do better at controlling where the light went. 

That ultra black nano paint would be great for this, if you could actually get any.  

 

Also, is it harder to get pitch black shooting digital as opposed to film? I don't think I could ever shoot on film again due to the expense and risk of error.

Leah Land said:

Thanks so much for your suggestions Nick! I'm actually looking for standard letter size black paper or animation size paper. I will light it from behind against a light table. Or it least this is my initial idea, the ideas keep expanding for this project! I'm not making outer space imagery, but was inspired to use the old technique to do an experimental film about butterflies. I guess I will be technically making it 2D cell animation style, but I will probably add some stop-motion effects/techniques as well.  I could probably also use a paint pen on black paper or create it in photoshop, but i really like the way the way the light shines through a small pin prick. Plus it's a fun challenge to make it by hand. There will be enough time spent in front of the computer doing editing and sound. I had bought a pack of black paper, but so far the tests I've done had a lot of light leakage and was hard to get a pitch black color, but I could trouble shoot this more. I actually didn't spend much time on it. I had bought some special sheets black paper from some film supply place back in collage that was perfect for this, but I have no idea where to get it now or what it was even called. This was back in the late 90s when people still did things analog. I guess I still like the charm of the old ways.

StopmoNick said:

I used some thin black card, poked the pinholes, and lit it from behind. I put a sheet of tracing paper behind it to act as a diffuser, otherwise the angle of the light would have varied and not shone through the holes around the edges as well as in the middle.  I had a spaceship model in front of it, but had part of the ship going off the edge of frame so I could have a support rig and not have it block out some of the stars.  That was a very long time ago!  Since then I've made the star field in Photoshop, and shot the model either frontlight-backlight or against green screen, and painted out the rig before keying it over the star background.  I think the card was something in the vicinity of 800mm (2'7") x 600mm (2').

Come to think of it, I also made a much bigger one using an old Holland blind (the kind that rolls up around a tube with a spring inside) which I painted black, then poked the pin holes.

Neither of those was as black as black velvet, but by keeping the lights for the model off the front of the star field, they came up pitch black on 16mm film. That's where the bigger size helped, I could move the model further in front of the background and do better at controlling where the light went. 

That ultra black nano paint would be great for this, if you could actually get any.  

 

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