Watch: How to Maximize the Usable Distance of Your C-Stand
Would you set up a C-stand in this "controversial" way?
C-stands are magnets for disaster if they're not properly handled and secured. When the counterbalance is off (maybe you're thrown a big, heavy light on it), these things can topple over and potentially hurt someone on set, as well as damage your expensive gear. If you've ever been to film school, worked on a film set, or watch YouTube videos about filmmaking religiously, you are probably well aware of the "proper" way to set up a C-stand: putting the big leg underneath the arm, but experienced photographer/videographer Jay P. Morgan of The Slanted Lens doesn't do it this way.
In this video, Morgan shows you his approach to setting up C-stands, knowing that it's controversial but also claiming it's absolutely safe and effective at giving you more arm length to work with.
When it comes to on-set safety, there's no messing around. There are tons of standards and practices put in place to ensure that no one on the cast or crew gets hurt by improperly handled or secured gear. So, it makes sense if some of you were immediately like, "Nope, that's not how you properly set up a C-stand," but I'm wondering if maybe, just maybe, it's possible to safely secure one without putting the big leg underneath the arm.
Morgan's positioning method does get you more length out of your arm, but it also throws off the center of gravity on the C-stand. This can be corrected by adding counterweights to the back legs. However, all of this flies in the face of how we've all been taught to properly set up and secure C-stands, because the big leg is there as a safeguard to ensure the whole thing doesn't fall over in case the counterweight in the back gets displaced.
Admittedly, I'm no doctrinaire or traditionalist. If something works, it just works regardless of how it has been done for years. (Duct tape taught me that.) But I'd also only test this method out alone to see if there are any issues before implementing it around anyone else.
So yes, put that big leg where it's supposed to be, especially if you work on a professional set. (I doubt they'll have the patience to listen to your defense of this alternative approach.) But if you do choose to try out Morgan's C-stand method, just use common sense and secure that thing so it doesn't fall over. It's really simple.
What do you think about this "controversial" C-stand set up? Let us know in the comments.