Video: World’s blackest photo backdrop absorbs 99.9% of light


posted Wednesday, May 4, 2022 at 10:00 AM EST


Photographer Mathieu Stern often shows off the strange and wonderful in the world of photography. In his latest video, he's put aside his 'weird lenses' and lenses made from ice to showcase an extremely black, like really black, backdrop. If you think you've seen a black background, it'll seem bright after seeing this new black fabric.

The black backdrop uses a Japanese fabric, KoPro Musuo Black Fabric Kiwami. The fabric absorbs 99.905% of visible light for a light reflectance rate of 0.095%. KoPro also sent Stern a special fabric that absorbs more infrared light.

The total hemispherical reflectance rates of different materials, including KoPro's Musuo Black Fabric. Credit: KoPro

It's easy to imagine the useful photographic applications for a black backdrop. It's great for portraits and product shots, for example. If you want someone or something to stand out against a perfect black background, it requires excellent lighting technique or some Photoshop magic. However, if a black background reflects almost no light, you instantly have extreme contrast.

It's interesting to see how Stern's full-spectrum camera, which can photograph in infrared, sees typical black fabric as bright red. KoPro's special IR fabric absorbs infrared light, and the black fabric stays black.

Even when directing light at a subject in front of the Musuo Black fabric, it stays black. There aren't shadows or reflections in all but the most extreme situations. It's like an object in front of the fabric is floating.

A traditional black photo backdrop (above) versus the Musuo Black fabric (below). There was no change in lighting conditions, just a simple background swap. Credit: Mathieu Stern

To learn more about the fabric, visit KoPro. For more interesting and unusual videos covering various photography topics, visit Mathieu Stern's YouTube channel.

(Via Mathieu Stern