Not everyone has the luxury of a proper dedicated studio space so what do you do when you need to set up a quick backdrop for a shoot ? The answer could be to use a pop up backdrop similar to the reflectors that most of us have probably used, only MUCH bigger! Impact makes what they call an 8×16′ background which is actually an 8×8 popup square with an 8×16′ fabric extension sewn onto it to use as your ‘infinite’ background. When you are done your shoot, the whole thing folds flat into a bag for easy storage in a closet or under something like a bed.
First a word of warning about this things, it is BIG so don’t pop it open too quickly in your office or you will send things flying at all four walls! As you can see in the first photo below, on one side we have an 8×8′ square. In the second photo you can see how the extended piece of material comes off it to provide your transition to the ground.
The frame around the rear part of the background is pretty sturdy and as you can see from the photo of the back of it, the fabric pulls across it nicely and keeps taught, eliminating annoying wrinkles and creases. Unfortunately the other side is a different story. The fabric on this side is stitched to the frame until about halfway down but this means that you can’t do anything to improve the tension on it in the top half. Of course cramming that much spare material into a small bag inevitable leaves it plagued with wrinkles when you get it out of the bag and because the excess material is permanently attached to the frame there is no easy way to iron it before your shoot ! Imagine trying to put this on your ironing board !!! Essentially you would need to use a hand steamer but that can be a painstaking process and for something that is designed to be a quick popup solution it really would negate the benefits. The second major problem with the fabric being permanently attached is that you can’t wash it! This 8×16′ is also available in white but that would be dirty in just a couple of shoots with no good way to wash it.
Unfortunately both the inability to easily sort out the wrinkles and to clean this leave this product lacking and it won’t be added to my recommendations. You could use the rear 8×8 side for 3/4 length and head shots, but really it would be overkill as you could be using a much smaller and cheaper product to do that, like the Impact 5×7. For full length shots there is still no substitute for a proper backdrop holder set like this one and a roll of paper or material of your choosing. It’s not going to be as fast or easy to set up but your full length shots will benefit greatly.