Digital backdrops (chroma color with backdrop added in post production) are being pushed on photographers more and more these days. While it's obvious the flexibility that this provides (hundreds of backdrops for the price of one good muslin), does this actually end up saving the photographer money in the long run?
I run a simple portable studio for when a client insists on studio over on-location: 3 flashes, pile of modifiers, and 2 canvases, white and black. Setup takes about 10 minutes and switching backdrops takes another 5. Post production on the backdrop itself isn't a factor.
As small studios grow, they grow their collection of backdrops. Traditionally, it has been a collection of muslin backdrops. It seems though that small studios do fine with 2-4 colored and textured muslin backdrops. This would cost me anywhere from $150-$1000, but no ongoing post production investment.
The digital solution however, is only an upfront cost of $30 for about 50 backdrops (BH) and $30-$200 for green canvas. Even with high quality green screen muslin, it is still cheaper than a handful of real muslin canvases. There is however, on ongoing cost with this process: post production time.
Having no experience in digital backdrops, I don't know if there any fluid workflows available with the LR/PS combo that allow you do quickly add in a background. It seems that even at a fairly rapid pace of 2-3 minutes per keeper, a 1 hour session, yielding anywhere from 10-20 keepers, will cost an extra hour of post just with backgrounds alone. Besides the time investment, there may be other variables that I'm not including (lighting investments, increased risk of reshoots, etc).
Overall, is it practical for a small shop to grow into a digital backdrop workflow, or is this a luxury with a higher cost compared to traditional muslin?