August 26, 2016

5 Things You'll Want to Know when Working with the Mighty C-Stand

When it comes to using C-stands, there's a right way to do it and a very wrong, inconvenient, and downright dangerous way to do it, too.

C-stands are powerful tools to use on set, but how well do you actually know your way around one? They look simple to use, and I guess if you know what you're doing they're simple to use, but if you don't really know how to store, prep, and secure them properly, it could lead to a very bad day on set. To help you out, Film Riot has compiled 5 tips that will help you use them more effectively and safely.

Here are the tips host Ryan Connolly talks about in the video:

Safe travels

When transporting your C-stands in your car/truck/van (if you don't have a grip truck), lay down some padding (yoga mats and cardboard work well), soldier your C-stands correctly, and then put some sandbags on top to keep them from moving around.

Prepping C-stands

Getting these things ready for use is pretty easy if you know what you're doing. The highest leg goes in the middle, the 2nd highest goes on the right, and the lowest goes on the left. Always lock the arm on the right, because if it's left a little loose and the thing mounted to it begins to tilt, it will cause the arm to self-tighten. Remember: always rig to the right! Finally, make sure to put all of the weight over the highest leg, not the lowest; this will keep the whole thing from tipping over.

Sand bags

Quick and simple: put your sandbags on the highest leg (assuming you followed the second tip and put all of the weight over it). Also, make sure the sandbag doesn't touch the ground.

Setting flags

Mounting anything on your C-stand should be done in this order: 1.) mount it, 2.) raise it. Trying to mount a flag onto an arm that is too high to reach easily is just—silly and unnecessary.

Safety first

Putting a tennis ball or plastic bottle on the end of your C-stand's underslung arm can potentially save your crew members from losing an eye. Also, if you're shooting on a client's property, it's good practice to throw some tennis balls on the ends of your C-stand's legs to avoid damaging their floors.

So, there you go! Those are the basics of working with a C-stand. And as an added bonus, Film Riot included a sweet tutorial on how to build something you can fly on the end of your now perfectly cared for and operated C-stand: a "stop sign" bounce board, which, because it's an octagon, will make a nice round shape in your subject's eyes, rather than the rectangular shape of your typical rectangular bounce boards—a dead giveaway that your subject is looking toward a crew member holding a reflector rather than a scary mountain lion or the love of their life—or whatever.     

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