This Low-Budget Alternative to C-Stands Could Save You Hundreds of Dollars
Few filmmaking tools are as ubiquitous and multifunctional as the C-Stand. From mounting lights at any conceivable angle to flying modifiers/flags, C-Stands have literally hundreds of uses on a film set. The only problem: C-Stands are not cheap. At roughly $150 a piece -- and that's for the cheaper models -- C-Stands aren't something to which low and no-budget filmmakers have constant access. Luckily, there are some significantly less expensive alternatives out there that can provide much of the same functionality at a fraction of the cost. Scott Eggleston over at the Frugal Filmmaker has one such alternative that he'd like to show you, and it will only set you back $20.
So there you have it, a quick guide for coaxing C-Stand functionality out of a $16 microphone stand using only a few basic accessories, most importantly the 1/4-20 to female mic stand adapter, which opens up an entire world of possibilities for what can be mounted to the end of the stand. This is an absolutely fantastic way to replicate some of the practical uses of a C-Stand without having to shell out more money than you're willing to spend on grip equipment.
As a note of caution, however, despite the fact that a setup like this one might be incredibly useful for mounting and flying lighter items such as microphones, portable LEDs, and small modifiers, it certainly won't replace traditional C-Stands for safely holding heavier objects. Mic stands are not made to hold the amount of weight that C-Stands are, so in order to maintain a safe set, you'll want to avoid mounting heavy lights or modifiers to a stand like this, especially if you're mounting them at the end of the extendable arm.
As with all stands on a film set, it's important to practice proper safety techniques by weighing down the stand with a sandbag, and making sure that weight is on the opposite side of the stand from whatever you have mounted to it.
Another thing that's worth mentioning is that C-Stands are an absolutely fantastic investment if you're serious about making a living in either video production or studio photography. Unlike cameras and other pieces of digital technology, C-Stands will never become obsolete. Additionally, most of them are literally built like a tank, and should last you for many years.