March 8, 2017

Sandbags 101: How to Use Different Types to Secure Your Stands

And now, to discuss the sexiest topic in filmmaking: sandbags.

Sandbags may not be the most interesting piece of equipment on a film set, but they are essential if you want to keep your tripods and C-stands secure. There are several different kinds ranging in weight that can help you do different things on a production, and here to talk about what they are is Jay P. Morgan of the Slanted Lens. In this video, you'll learn about a few different ways you can utilize sandbags, as well as the proper way to weigh down your stands so they don't topple over.

Sandbags come in a variety of different weights. One-lb. shot bags are great for counterbalancing small equipment, while 200-lb. sandbags are ideal for securing rigging, set scenery, and props. However, 5-, 15-, 25-, and 35-lb. sandbags are by far the most popular, since they weigh enough to secure tripods and C-stands, but aren't too big or too heavy to handle in relatively small spaces.

Keeping several of these on-hand while shooting a film is a must, especially if you've got a lot of heavy lights on C-stands, an expensive camera on a tripod, and foot traffic going through your set. And they don't just come in handy for safety reasons; they also make pretty good stabilizers. If you need to get a steady shot from a vantage point that doesn't take kindly to tripods, you can always throw down a sandbag and rest your camera on top of it.

So, whether you're using sandbags or a bunch of books stuffed into a backpack (works nicely, actually), keeping something on-set to counterbalance weight is a must.     

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3 Comments

All good right up to the last point about putting the big leg away from the weight. That is asking for danger. He says correctly to put the weight on the big leg, but then says to put the leg in the wrong direction, leaving NO SUPPORT under the weight.

The big leg goes under the weight, and the sandbag goes on the big leg. Sheesh.

March 8, 2017 at 12:53PM

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Thomas Koch
Director/DoP
290

Same.

March 9, 2017 at 9:07AM, Edited March 9, 9:07AM

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Jon Wolding
DP/Director
224

Like Thomas Koch said, I cannot stress how wrong that last piece of advice in the video is. It is very dangerous to use a c-stand this way as it basically turns the base into a fulcrum for the weight of the light to pull over. I've always thought JP was cringey, but I finally unsubscribed from his channel because of the advice in this video. It can literally get someone killed.

March 8, 2017 at 7:39PM, Edited March 8, 7:40PM

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