Basically two sources exist for background paper, Savage and Superior Specialties. Other manufacturers can be found, but these two are the largest in America

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Background material

Superior Specialties produces a unique material called "Tuf-Flock/Velour." The black is very black, far superior to black paper. The surface has some of the same properties as the Nenil from Teufel in Germany. The blue is a very handsome blue as well, as it does not reflect too much blue up on the base of objects set upon it.

So I used Tuf-Flock for several years (this was after I had grown tired of the fuzzy disadvantages of felt, and before I found out about Nenil). Velvet is a wonderful black as well, but it is hard for me to carry it around in a truck full of equipment without getting it creased.

Superior Specialties different colors (jpeg)
Superior Specialties Backdroppaper featuring different roll colors.

Eventually the Tuf-Flock turned up with too many defects (about 1990-1993) so I ceased using it. Another disadvantage is that it "remembered" the round shape of its roll, which results in wear marks or ridges every two inches or so. You can even see this in the company's printed catalog. In the black this problem is not so serious, but in the other colors these parallel areas show up in the photograph. Nenil is great because it holds out against these natural problems longer.

Nonetheless, if you work in a studio (and thus do not have to transport the material) you might want to give Tuf-Flock a try.

In Japan I found a white material that seems to have some of the properties of plastic and some of the properties of paper, but is superior to both. It was labeled as Superior Seamless, but the well known Superior Seamless company in the USA said they knew nothing of this product even when I sent them a sample and the original wrapping with the name on it.

Same in Europe, no one in Germany had heard of this kind of material. So I will have to wait until I return to Japan and get a life's supply to bring back, or at least get the full name and address of the manufacturer and distributor so I can promulgate this wonder background material.

http://www.superspec.com will bring you to their home page. Their fax is 800 666-5069.

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