Watch: Three top tips for using C-Stands during a shoot in less than a minute

Jan 6, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Watch: Three top tips for using C-Stands during a shoot in less than a minute

Jan 6, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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C-Stands are a staple in many photography studios and on film sets. They’re just a lot more practical, versatile and useful, not to mention sturdy, than your traditional tripod-style light stands. One of the biggest manufacturers of C-Stands is Matthews, and in this video, we learn three great tips for working with them on set to make our lives easier – and a little safer.

You might think that C-Stands are big and bulky and a bit unwieldy, but as this video demonstrates, this couldn’t be further from the truth when used effectively. Their very design lends itself to an efficient workflow on set while taking up relatively little space and being extremely convenient.

YouTube video

The first tip is one of safety and creating pain-free days. Most C-Stands are typically stored in a studio with the grip arm attached. When you pick up your C-Stand, especially if you’re planning to pass it off to somebody else, grab the main stem of the stand as well as the arm so that when the other person takes it from you, they’re not trapping and squeezing your fingers between the two.

C-Stands generally have legs of staggered height. This allows them to fold up flat so you can lie them down for storage or transport but unfolded. This also allows you to essentially stack the bases of multiple stands on top of each other. It lets you nest them together so that three or four stands on the side of a set unused take up very little more space than just a single stand.

Don’t just grab the centre column when you’re passing over a stand to somebody, or your fingers will probably get squished when they grab it!

Thirdly, if you arrange your stands with their back side towards you when you stack them together on the side of the set, they’re a lot easier to separate, too. All you need to do is reach over, grab one, lift it and pull it away. You’re not going to be dragging the rest of the stands down with it, and it’ll make for a more efficient time on-set when setting up additional lights, flags, booms or anything else you want to mount to a C-Stand in the middle of a shoot.

Matthews doesn’t post to their YouTube channel often, but it’s worth checking out their YouTube channel. They have a historical wealth of information on there for working with grip equipment on set as well as a few other tips for working on set and wrangling control of natural location lighting.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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