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21 Jun 2024

C Stand

Term: C Stand
Description: A type of versatile and robust light stand commonly used in professional photography and filmmaking. Features: The C stand typically consists of a sturdy metal frame with a sliding leg design, providing stability and flexibility in positioning. It includes a removable turtle base, allowing for easy storage and transportation. Applications: Widely utilized for mounting various lighting equipment such as strobes, continuous lights, flags, scrims, and other accessories. The adjustable height and arm extension make it ideal for precisely positioning lights and modifiers in studio and on-location shoots. Origin: The term "C stand" derives from its distinctive shape resembling the letter "C", which offers a secure grip and support for heavy lighting gear.

If you’re ever planning on working in a studio, be it your own or in someone else’s, it would probably serve you well to understand a few things before going in. First and foremost, despite the somewhat chaotic look that a studio can have, wires threading the walls and floors in a venular fashion, it’s a professional working environment, and acknowledging this means you understand the need for etiquette. Etiquette, so inappropriately sidestepped in the world today, doesn’t just pertain to attitude, but to specific behavior including how you move, and how you handle equipment.

One of those pieces of equipment you’re sure to become quickly acquainted with is a C-stand, an incredibly useful and variable tool. It’s used most commonly to hold and position any manner of light modifiers, and light sources. It has two riser columns and a gobo arm that extends and allows you to position your modifier in many ways, and the design of the stand allows for a surprising amount of weight bearing.

C-stands are a staple in photography, and probably one of the most versatile pieces of gear in your arsenal. However, they can be as cumbersome as they are helpful if you’re not adept at using them.

At times, you will find yourself looking for ways to work around them because of their size and weight, but weight is simply one of the trade-offs of buying high-quality gear, and you want a C-Stand to be sturdy. Nevertheless, there are ways to remedy some of these issues and J.P. Morgan and the crew from the Slanted Lens are back with a quick tip of how to use C-stands.

Leg Placement

One of the questions that Jay P. frequently encounters is about where to position the legs of his C-Stand, and instead of a textbook method he’s gone with he delivers his own.

If you have a shot where the floor is visible but you still need to maximize the reach of your C-Stand, you can align the legs of your stand with your camera’s field of view to keep them out of the shot.

This tip runs counter to the conventional method of using a C-Stand which teaches you to keep your stand’s longest leg underneath the extended arm to provide the most support for anything mounted on that arm. To overcome the loss of stability, you can rotate your long leg towards the back weight as seen below.

This might seem like a simple tip, but as J.P. demonstrates,  it can have an important impact on your stand’s versatility, and if you only stick to the conventional way of using your kit, you may be limiting yourself. It’s a good reminder that for every tool there’s a hack.


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