The C-Stand Controversy
Today on The Slanted Lens we are going to be confronting the C-stand controversy! Whenever I talk about C-stands people ask me where they should put the legs; so I have decided to tackle this question once and for all!
The “Film School” Way to Set Up a C-Stand
Why do we use C-stands? Because we want to boom something into our shots! The standard way to setup a C-stand that has been taught in film school is to position the longest, largest leg under the arm so that the weight is supported and the stand is less likely to fall over. That is a correct setup!
The Jay P. Way to Set Up a C-Stand
However, that is not the way I like to do it! My reasoning here is simple- if you set your C-stand up in this configuration you are cutting off a significant portion of the arm. This means that whatever you have attached to that arm- a light, flag, etc. is only going to get about 8-10″ into the shot! Why use a C-stand if you only get 8-10″ out of it? If you rather turn those legs around, you can increase the length of the arm to almost 20″ in length! An even greater problem arises if you are using a short arm on your C-stand. If you keep that longest leg facing forward, you wont be able to boom anything into the shot. You would be better off using a normal stand in this scenario.
If, however, the actor’s legs are not going to be seen in the shot, then of course you can set that stand up the good old-fashioned way without any problems. But if you are shooting the ground or the actor’s legs it is much smarter and more efficient to position your C-stand at this angle in order to maximize the stand’s effectiveness.
Counterbalancing Your C-Stand
Once the C-stand has been placed at camera angle, if you put weight on it the stand is going to want to fall over. What I normally do to counteract that effect is place the largest leg to the back and then hang a sandbag over said leg to anchor it down. I have put a lot of weight on these over the years and I have never had a problem! You can give it a shot and tell me what you think!
Keep those cameras rollin’ and keep on clickin’!