Beginner's Guide to C-Stands: An Essential Film Set Tool

Shane Hurlbut C-Stand Basics
Using C-stands properly is an essential part of working on a film set.

If you're working on a smaller set (or you're trying to become a grip yourself), knowing how to deal with C-stands the right way will help make sure the set runs more smoothly and nobody gets hurt. I know some of you grips out there may have your own specific ways of working (and you're probably going to tell us about it), but these videos below are a great introduction to this fantastic tool.

First up, this video with Eric Jang goes through different types of stands and the best way to use them:

Shane Hurlbut also recently posted this video, and while it is sponsored specifically by Matthews, the information is useful regardless of the brand you use:

Putting a sand bag or two on the stand is important even if you're just throwing up a 2' x 3' solid as a sider. It's also important to make sure that your sand isn't touching the ground (regardless of the stand you put it on) as it won't be putting its full weight on the stand. There is almost always a solution to do things in a safe way, and when there isn't, you probably shouldn't do it.      

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Great insight on safety and organization. Going NFS, I had not idea about all those little things that keep you safe and organized on a set. Thanks, Joe!

February 8, 2015 at 3:21PM


UGH. so many things wrong. First off, the upside down leg open is pretty bizarre. On the east coast you put the stand over your shoulder and open the legs counter clockwise in spring base, small leg, med leg, ready to go. On closing, you hold the stand upright, put long leg on left foot, close with right foot.

also if you work east coast / west coast… east coast is all 3/8 on nets / flags. west coast is all 5/8 on the same stuff. no good reason.

as for bagging, its ALWAYS opposite the load unlike what is shown in this video.
While long leg to load is normal & proper for max support of load, putting the bag if needed always goes in the BACK leg, not the front. On the front leg it has LEAST amount of pressure / hold. that said, bag must also ideally not touch floor so all its force down is on the back leg, usually the medium leg. This video should be pulled for all its wrong points.

The next REALLY big falling is until you bag the stand if you need it, you ALWAYS put your foot on it. Thats grip 101. When ever you change a C stand with flag / net / especially light, you always get your foot on it to be sure it stays put. To fail this basic safety rule, this video should be removed because its pretty unsafe.

February 9, 2015 at 12:03AM

Steve Oakley
DP • Audio Mixer • Colorist • VFX Artist

With long leg to load the fulcrum of the stand is the foot of that leg, not the riser.

Since you want the bags *inline* with the load it is better to put the bags on the long leg as close to the riser (which makes it farther from the fulcrum and more effective). Bagging one of the back legs would not be inline with the load and adds to the chance of tipping sideways.

February 10, 2015 at 12:08PM, Edited February 10, 12:08PM

Matthew Emmanuel
Camera Operator

Where's Ryan Connolly when you need him?

February 12, 2015 at 3:55PM

Jared Adamo
Creative Director / Producer