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Table of Contents

Painted Backings: Capture, Render, Output
Tips and Tricks: Everything Old is New Again
On Location: Pierre Steele’s Portfolio
Credits: What’s New
Client News
JC Backings News

Painted Backings: Capture, Render, Output

Creating a backing is more involved than taking a picture or painting a canvas. It requires special research, review, sketching, and revising… and that’s before the backing goes into production. Backings are the end result of a detailed creative process that includes three phases: capture, render and output.

“Painted Backings” is the first of a three-part series that will show how JC Backings approaches each project, and how it delivers what clients need for every type of production.

The painted backings created for “It’s Complicated” (PD: Jon Hutman; AD: W. Steven Graham) are an excellent example of how the process works.


When a client needs a backing created, they often provide plans, location photos, and tear sheets that show what the PD/AD has in mind.

From there, JC Backings will try to go on location to take their own photos, then digitally seam them together to create a panorama that serves as the foundation for the rendering phase.


Once the key elements are in place, JC Backings lays out the backing using a combination of sketches and enlargements.

Using pencil, then charcoal, scenic artists draw sketches to scale for the client’s review and notes.


Output is in two phases:
First, a small scale version of the backing is painted, complete with color palettes.

Second, once approved, the enlarged sketch is projected onto a blank piece of muslin using an overhead projector. The backing is hand-drawn first in charcoal, and then inked-in before the scenic artists begin painting.

The end result is a backing made to the clients specifications and complete satisfaction.

View the complete set of backings from “It’s Complicated.” Search for backing numbers 9917, 9917-9, 9917-9-1, 9918, 9919 and 9920.

The next installment, “Photo Backings” will show how JC Backings approaches the capture-render-output workflow for photo backings.

Tips and Tricks: Everything Old Is New Again

One of the great things about backings is that they look different every time they’re hung. In fact, you might want to think of them as recyclable.

Historical backings aren’t just for retrospectives. They’re commonly used even today. Take the backings from Cleopatra (PD: John De Cuir). You might recognize them from this classic film.




They were also recently used on an episode of Wizards of Waverly Place (PD: Michael Hynes). Click here to view the gallery.

Next time you’re planning a production and you’re after a certain “look,” you might be able to recycle it.

Film school donation

JC Backings is proud to support future filmmakers. We regularly donate to AFI, USC School of Cinema TV, UCLA School of Science & Letters, Chapman University, Loyola Marymount, and the Los Angeles Film School.

Students requesting donations need to provide:

  • copy of their student ID
  • letter from the school stating they’re currently enrolled
  • Certificate of Insurance for the declared value of the backing(s)
  • couple of pages from their script showing how the backing is being used.

JC Backings donates up to three backings per project. Any backing in the JC Backings rental inventory that’s available for use can be rented for a student project.

About JC Backings

JC Backings specializes in oversize backings and creating custom backings to virtually any specification.

Our highly trained team creates painted, photo and digital print backings for feature films, television, commercials, theme parks, music videos and more. Our backings meet or exceed industry standard flame proofing requirements.

We offer one of the largest selections of painted, photo and digital print backing inventories, with more than 5,000 rental backings. The catalog also includes historic stock from MGM, 20th Century Fox, Universal Studios and Walt Disney Studios.

Contact JC Backings (310) 244-5830.