All About C-Stands

Do you use C-Stands? They’re the ubiquitous, all-purpose studio stand found on photo shoots and movie productions the world over. And while C-Stands are extremely useful and sturdy—perfect for holding everything from lights to flags to reflectors, and just about anything else you can imagine—they can also be fairly finicky. I work with some professional video crew members on a fairly regular basis, and one day I asked one a great grip/gaffer who knows everything about production gear what his best bit of advice was for people who work with grip equipment. Without hesitation he said, "Learn to use C-Stands the right way." He went on to say that he regularly sees interns and assistants turning C-Stands upside down when it comes time to fold and unfold the legs, and that in fact not only is this technique unnecessary, it’s unsafe. Swinging around a bulky C-stand is a great way to knock yourself—or someone else—out cold. So instead, he said, just pick up the C-Stand and brace the legs against your thigh as you fold and unfold them. Not only is it safer, but it’s also more efficient. Speaking of safety, of course, he told me that, in his experience, we photographers simply don’t take safety seriously enough. Namely, we don’t use enough sandbags to stabilize our stands. One bag at minimum in the studio on every stand, he said, and we should use several sandbags on stands used out of doors since the slightest bit of wind can cause havoc—injury or worse—when stands and lights are used outside. So be safe, and learn to use tools like C-Stands the right way, the way the professionals do. By the way, if you don’t yet own a C-Stand, you probably don’t know what you’re missing. They’re wonderfully useful tools. Check them out from a pair of popular manufacturers, Matthews Studio Equipment and American Grip.

Leave a Comment