One upgrade to their studio gear toolkit that many photographers make is investing a c-stand or two for lighting support. C-Stands are primarily used to position light modifiers like flags, silks or nets in front of light sources, but are also commonly used to mount lights high or in overhead positions.
C-stands are heavy-duty, solid metal stands. Working with them requires care to ensure you and anyone else on set is safe from accidental slips or hasty movements. Check out these 5 safety tips for c-stands before you get started!
1. Line knuckles up on the right
Line the gobo heads (also referred to as “knuckles”) up on the right side of the stand. In doing so, the weight of the light/modifier against the extended grip arm will only cause the head to tighten and secure more. If it was mounted on the left side, the heavy light could weigh down the arm and loosen the grip, causing it to fall.
2. Lead with the largest leg
The tallest leg always needs to point toward the load. This is the safest configuration and helps prevents tipping.
The exception to the rule is when using the Savage C-Stand with a second riser in the junior receiver of the lowest leg. If at least the included 20″ steel riser is mounted into the foot, it will then become the strongest leg to counterbalance the top load. (This makes it especially useful for clamshell lighting setups.)
3. Use sandbags
Sand bags are an essential accessory and should always be added around the base of your stand when moderately heavy loads are being supported. This adds extra stability. Place a sandbag over the tallest leg to ensure it does not touch the ground.
4. Fold down the grip arm before transport
With the grip arm often at average eye level when in use, it’s important to fold it down against the main column before you transport it. There’s no need to risk swinging it into an assistant’s head to save an extra second or two!
When grabbing the column to move the stand, grasp over the collapsed grip arm too. This ensures your hand will not be sandwiched when handing off the stand to a helper.
5. Nest stands for storage
Stack the stands to the right of each other when storing them to make the smallest footprint and avoid tripping hazards all over the studio. This can be referred to as “nesting”.
What safety tip for c-stands can you add to this list?
Tell us in the comments below!