I've worked with all kinds of Internet photo studios over the years.
Most consist of a light tent of sorts, with or without lights, and the materials
used are translucent fabric or plastic. But I have never come across anything
like the MyStudio 20 until now. It is definitely different. So, does different
make it better, or even as functional as other tabletop setups?
are the main components in the MyStudio 20 tabletop system. Not
shown is the fluorescent fixture, which resides on the reverse side
of the crossbar.
Photo Courtesy ProCyc, All Rights Reserved
It's A Corner Cyc
What's a cyc? Short for "cyclorama," a cyc is a sweeping backdrop,
but usually on a grander scale than a sweep table and without the legs. A studio
cyc usually occupies an entire wall and stretches a number of feet forward.
In a corner cyc, two adjoining walls come together in a bend, instead of a sharp
corner. This seamless backdrop gives you greater flexibility in lighting and
working with subjects of all kinds, from people to products. Usually a cyc is
built into the studio as a permanent fixture, although it can be temporary or
modular. Studio cycs are usually painted and refinished and repainted countless
times. Lighting with a cyc may gradate from white to gray or gray to white down
the back wall to the floor. When the corner cyc sweeps up into the ceiling,
it becomes a cove.
Now stick that in front of the incredible shrinking ray from Honey, I Shrunk
the Kids, and voilà, you've got a miniature cyc, with the added
benefit that it can be moved around. Specifically, the MyStudio system consists
of a miniature corner cyc and reflective overhang, which together form a cove
of sorts (but not technically a cove, since the ceiling here is separate). The
kit also comes with a linear fluorescent bulb behind a plastic diffuser, which
serves as the key light, and a white metal support system, which holds both
the lighting fixture and overhang.
brushed metal tripod was a suitable subject and a good example to
show how quickly and easily you can shoot a tabletop with the complete
MyStudio setup. With the overhead lighting, the shadows are soft
enough so as not to be disturbing and gradated enough to show depth.
All Photos © 2008, Jack Neubart, All Rights Reserved
The non-collapsible cyc component is the biggest piece, and assembly, as a whole,
is not that arduous. But, once assembled, it's best to find a dust-free
space and leave it all in place and ready to use. I worked with the smaller
MyStudio 20 (20x20x12" high). The big brother to that is MyStudio 32 (32x32x16"
high). (One point: when pulling out the plastic diffuser from the light fixture
to place the bulb inside, pinch it lightly at both ends, or you may break off
one or more retaining tabs upon removal.)
There are two metal supports and a crossbar, which stabilizes the whole thing
and also holds the light fixture and overhang. The crossbar can be adjusted
height-wise. I began with the overhang all the way up, but after bumping my
head into it countless times, I lowered it as far as it would go. This has the
added benefit of bringing the light lower and closer to the subject, which also
reduces the depth of shadows.
You can also sand down the cove surface to remove any noticeable sheen, but
that really shouldn't be necessary, unless painting it--which you
can do. However, once you paint it (with water-based paint), you'll need
to repaint it to keep a fresh shooting surface. Either way, wipe down all surfaces
when done for a dust-free shooting environment.
This miniature set also comes with a pair of white bounce cards. These 8x10
cards are supported by an easel (you also put that together).