[u-u] Backdrops...

Colin McGregor colin.mc151 at gmail.com
Thu May 14 13:41:51 EDT 2020

On Thu, May 14, 2020 at 11:53 AM William Porquet <william at porquet.ca> wrote:

> Quite possibly the most entertaining post to UU I've read in a good while.
> Thanks Colin!

Thanks. Current estimates are that we will be the current situation for 18
- 24 months with some PLAUSIBLE scenarios where things might go longer
(grumble...). So when a significant part of my social life is now on-line
and will likely continue to be so for a fair number of months, worth a bit
of time / effort / expense to make the best of the current situation and
even have a bit of fun with it all. So, besides setting up a little green
screen, I've also bought a better webcam, and upgraded my main desktop PC.
I've also checked, and a Raspberry Pi 4 single board computer with 4GB RAM
would appear to be (just) powerful enough to support Zoom via the Chromium
web browser (so I have a back-up computer).

For the last few years I have been a fairly regular attendee of the Serial
Diners (http://probability.ca/diners/) a group that has been working its'
way through the Toronto Yellow Pages Restaurant listings alphabetically.
For the last several weeks the Serial Diners have been meeting in Zoom, so
the group can still have diner together on a Friday evening while apart.
I've been a bit silly with this, having joined the group from a southern US
BBQ restaurant (
), the wreckage of a Star Wars Death Star (
https://www.starwars.com/news/star-wars-backgrounds ) , a Star Trek French
Chateau ( https://twitter.com/StarTrek/status/1245834918917099521 ), a New
York City condo with a view high over the city (
https://www.westelm.com/pages/features/zoom-virtual-backgrounds/ ) and
other places. I haven't yet decided where I will APPEAR to be for the next
Serial Diners meeting (though I am currently leaning towards something
science fiction :-) ). This is all kind of fun...

Any event I am looking forward to seeing folks next month, from where
(and/or when) ever.

All the best,


> We well, y'all!
> William Porquet william at porquet.ca
> "The future masters of technology will have to be lighthearted and
> intelligent.
> The machine easily masters the grim and the dumb." (Marshall McLuhan, 1969)
> On Thu, 14 May 2020 at 11:45, Colin McGregor <colin.mc151 at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> Last night for the UU meeting I APPEARED to be in a very neat and
>> tastefully furnished den. The truth was I wasn't. Zoom allows you to set-up
>> a virtual background, which works best if you have a green screen behind
>> you. So, I have built a simple / small green screen. What was behind and to
>> either side of the green screen was to be blunt, a mess...
>> There are commercially made green screen kits (metal frames, green fabric
>> all in a neat package), but at least when I was checking these were all
>> sold out at the usual on-line suspects. So I built my own. To build
>> more-or-less what I built for a backdrop you will need the following:
>> Tools:
>> - Wood saw, almost any will do, as an example handsaw such as
>> https://www.homedepot.ca/product/husky-20-in-aggressive-toothsaw/1000129721
>> (I used a hand saw inherited from my grandparents).
>> - tape measure - 8'+ (3+ meters) long.
>> - screw driver(s) to fit screws used below
>> - Pencil(s)
>> - while not strictly required, a drill (and drill bits) to make pilot
>> holes for the screws should be seen as VERY desirable.
>> - A miter box to make sure the wood cuts are at a 90 degree angle is
>> desirable, but not required.
>> Parts:
>> - 6' (72 inch) 1/2" Iron pipe such as : https://www.homedepot.ca/product/aqua-dynamic-black-steel-pipe-nipple-1-2-inch-x-72-inch/1000126385
>> - two Iron pipe 1/2" floor flange such as :
>> https://www.homedepot.ca/product/stz-fitting-black-iron-floor-flange-1-2-inch-2-pack/1001157026
>> - 2"x4"x8' (ie: 2 inch x 4 inch by 8 feet) lumber such as :
>> https://www.homedepot.ca/product/-2-inch-x-4-inch-x-8-ft-spf-dimensional-lumber/1000112108
>> - 1"x4"x8' lumber such as :
>> https://www.homedepot.ca/product/thd-1x4x8-millstead-spf-sdry/1000100188
>> - 2 (+) Spring loaded clamps such as :
>> https://www.homedepot.ca/product/anvil-2-inch-spring-clamp/1001127536
>> - 6+ x 2.5" wood screws for use with the 2"x4" lumber
>> - 8 x 3/4" #10 wood screw for use with the pipe flange
>> - green backdrop (a dollar store green plastic table cloth can do okay
>> and this is what I used for first draft of this set-up. Currently I am
>> using a 5' wide piece of green nylon fabric ordered from
>> https://fabricville.com/ (the nylon advantage being it can be ironed and
>> present a smoother backdrop)).
>> Do note that lumber companies are allowed to sell boards measured based
>> on the "unfinished" size, so what is sold as a 2" x 4" x 8' will NOT be 2"
>> x 4" x 8', it will likely have an actual size of close to 1.5" x 3.5" x 8'.
>> The real vs. advertised sizes I find irritating, but is industry standard,
>> so just be aware and be ready to deal with this. An example of where this
>> is an issue is in assembling the base where I put a 2" x 4" piece of wood
>> over another at right angles and screw them together, to screw those pieces
>> of wood together you want ~2.5" screws any longer and the screws could poke
>> through the wood...
>> Instructions
>> - I cut the 2" x 4" x 8' lumber into three 2' length pieces (and had a ~2
>> length left over for other projects).
>> - I cut the 1" x 4" x 8" lumber down to a 5' 6" length, in other words a
>> LITTLE wider than the table cloth / fabric
>> - Assemble the 2" x 4" lumber in a giant letter "H" using the 2.5" wood
>> screws. Drill pilot holes for the screws if possible.
>> - Screw a pipe floor flange into the middle of the "H". Again drill pilot
>> holes for the screws if possible.
>> - Screw a pipe floor flange into the middle of the 1"x4" lumber. Again
>> drill pilot holes for the screws if possible.
>> - Screw the 6' pipe into the floor flange on the "H"
>> - Screw the 1"x4" on to the 6' pipe
>> - Drape the tablecloth / fabric over the 1"x4" lumber and clamp into place
>> Once the above is together you will need pay attention to lighting, you
>> will want your green screen evenly lit, and I have spent a bit of time
>> adjusting the lights in my room (and playing with a table lamp) to get the
>> lighting where everything seems to work. Finally here are some potentially
>> interesting sources for background images:
>> The Behr paint company has several potentially suitable images (you will
>> see the image I used last evening in this collection :-) ):
>> https://behryourbackground.com/
>> To be in a DC Comic have a look here :
>> https://www.dccomics.com/blog/2020/04/01/dial-in-from-the-dc-universe-with-these-virtual-backgrounds
>> Within the DC Comic universe, here are some Batman only backgrounds:
>> https://bleedingcool.com/comics/dc-releases-18-new-batman-virtual-backgrounds-for-zoom-conferencing/
>> To be in the Marvel Comic universe have a look here :
>> https://bleedingcool.com/comics/now-marvel-comics-offers-virtual-backgrounds-for-zoom-conferencing/
>> To be in the Star Trek universe have a look here :
>> https://twitter.com/StarTrek/status/1245834918917099521
>> All the best,
>> Colin.
>> _______________________________________________
>> u-u mailing list
>> u-u at unixunanimous.org
>> https://unixunanimous.org/mailman/listinfo/u-u
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://unixunanimous.org/pipermail/u-u/attachments/20200514/cbd1fc19/attachment-0001.html>

More information about the u-u mailing list