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Old October 22nd, 2008, 10:02 AM   #1
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shortest (closed length) light stands? (need case that gets through doorways)

Hi there,
I got a cart to help me lug my gear around (I work by myself), and it's great, except for one problem. I can't get through doorways.
I have to take my cases (two lighting cases and my camera case) off the cart, pull it through the doorway, put the cases back on... and then do the same at the next doorway.

It's not the fault of the cart, of course. It's the fact that my lighting cases are too wide...
I got them to accommodate my lighting stands, which are about 35" long, when closed. Great lighting stands, great cases, but a pain in the neck to have to keep taking them off and putting them back on the cart.

So my question is, has anyone found a good solution, re shorter (when closed) light stands and therefore a more compact case for them? Obviously I want the stands to still be strong.

I see that Manfrotto makes a stand that's only 19" long when closed. It opens to 6' tall, holds 4 lbs. max, but I think that's fine for me Lowel DP and my Lowel Rifa 55.

Any recommendations?
Thanks, Malcolm
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Old October 22nd, 2008, 10:26 AM   #2
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For some reason this was originally posted to our Sony XDCAM EX forum.
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Old October 22nd, 2008, 11:01 AM   #3
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Sorry about that Chris. I did it without thinking (this forum is where I automatically go looking for answers to all of my shooting questions, but this one's way off topic).
I'll try to think where else I can post a question like this.
Cheers,
Malcolm
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Old October 22nd, 2008, 11:58 AM   #4
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Have you rethought the way you're packing your cart? For instance, an Arri kit is generally pretty long, longer than 36", and those fit on a cart just fine, and make it through doorways easily. Think of packing the cart to take advantage of its length. . .make everything skinny, not wide. If your cart isn't long enough, then it may be time to rethink the cart instead of the case. Any rock n roller/multi cart (except for the smallest size) can accommodate a pretty long case if it's put on there lengthwise. Or are you saying that the case is too wide either way?

I have some pretty long stands (collapsed, I mean) that I got on ebay. I keep everything in a rifle bag I got at Academy for $20. You can't zip it all the way up with those long stands, but it's not really an issue if you pack it right. I regret getting the one with the deer galloping all over it, and not just plain black (no I'm not kidding.). Don't know what I was thinking. I'm always afraid police are going to pull me over when I drive around with it.

Someone (caselogic? Kata?) makes a long skinny bag that you could put your stands in. Maybe just search ebay for "large duffle bags" or something similar. There's all manner of cheap bags on there. If it holds your stands and doesn't break, should work fine.
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Old October 22nd, 2008, 02:04 PM   #5
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thanks for the reply Josh,
You're right... part of the problem might be my cart, that requires me to add cases in such a way that they stick out side-to-side (the cart base isn't big enough to support them any other way). But I'll re-think my whole approach.
Thanks for the help,
Malcolm
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Old October 22nd, 2008, 02:52 PM   #6
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A friend gave me a folding cart for Christmas a while back.

I decided the platform needed to be longer so I made one out of plywood.

Then I replaced the wheels with ones that had better bearings to make it easy to pull.

All that's left of the original cars is the folding handle. But it's a lot more useful now.
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Old October 22nd, 2008, 09:19 PM   #7
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Malcom,
I have several different sized light kits and have found I don't like the smallest light stands when it comes to stability even with the kind of lights you use.
I agree with the previous posters who tell you to pack your cart differently or get a different cart. I pack my full sized lowell kits on my cart so they fit through the doorway by using carts which hold them lengthwise laying down or stand them up vertically so they are narrow enough for a doorway. Other kits I have are fitted with smaller Matthews stands which work well with the lights. I often lay on top of the Lowell kit other cases lengthwise so they fit through a door. I gave up my Arri light cases because they were to heavy to take on airplane flights. I still use Arri lights but not the cases.
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 01:29 AM   #8
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I had this problem, and ended up modifying my cart to carry light stands, tripods and frame poles vertically. I bolted a homemade aluminum frame (about 25" high) to the platform to which long items can be secured vertically with bungee cords. No problems getting through doors now.

I also did the same thing as Dean, I elongated my cart by adding a plywood platform. This gives more room to load things long-ways rather than wide.

My Lowel case will fit through doors either way though. My problem was with stands and tripods by themselves.
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 02:04 AM   #9
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Lowell make stands the are very short when collapsed. We bought a couple as they fit inside the flight cases that came with our Joker Bugs. The stands are strong enough for the 200W Jokers. I think these are the same stands as what come with the Caselites.
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 04:46 AM   #10
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to the OP, what cart do you have? Is there a pic online we could see? Rock n Roller/Multicarts and Magliners seem to be the standard around here. the Multicarts can run from about $99-$200 (diferent sizes and wheel configurations), and they even make a shelf system for about $65 so you can put even more crap on it. Allegedly supports up to 500 lbs. Magliners are like a beefier version, more solid, usually larger, and has an even more spacious shelf that you can get. They're like $800 new, though, so that blows.

There's a company in Houston that makes these bags specially fitted to go over the handles of these carts (think of the pocket in an apron or something), that can hold stands and stuff (bottom is reinforced). Maybe something similar in your area.
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 08:14 AM   #11
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Hi everyone,

So great to get all this advice!

Daniel doesn't like the shorter (when collapsed) light stands, on the matter of stability—and I have to admit this has been a worry for me. I now realize my original hope when I made this post—to find good, strong but short (when collapsed) light stands—might be hard to do... which is why most of you seem to solved this problem by getting (or building) a better cart, rather than trying to shrink what you're carrying on the cart.

Some of you have solved the problem by finding a way to pack your carts differently; some of you have managed this by modifying your carts, with bigger bases or by adding something that allows you to secure tall cases, via bungee cord, higher up.
I can't see being able to do this with the cart I bought, which is made by Kart-a-Bag:

Kart-a-Bag Full Product Line

I got the Concorde II, because I carry less than 150 lbs (quite a bit less, I think). I liked this cart when I got it because I can fold it up and travel with it, but I started liking it less when I had to unpack and then repack my 38" wide lighting cases at every doorway. Even if I make the base bigger, which is a really good idea, I don't think I could carry my lighting cases vertically, though, because they're longer than the cart is tall. Let's say, with a bigger base, I could fit my two lighting cases, vertically, on the cart. I really can't see then balancing my camera case on top of these two cases, which would already be sticking up above the height of the cart.

I think I should look at Bob's Lowell stands, and/or Josh's Multicart... unless someone has another suggestion.
Mostly, though, I want to thank all of you for the help and suggestions you've already given. I really appreciate it.
Malcolm
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 08:35 AM   #12
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I love the multi-carts, and use the rock-n-roller. However, there IS another solution.

Golf cases.

Here are some examples.
Sweet Spot Golf - Hard Travel Cases - Free Shipping - Golf Travel Bags

I found one of these in a thrift store for ten dollars.

Hard Case Golf Travel Bag - ProActive Hardside - Free Shipping - Golf Travel Bags

I put a tripod, four light stands and a grip head in one and wheel it around with ease. When I'm not taking a 'full cart' of gear, or when I think I'll have trouble using a cart for a particular location (Think flights of stairs) I'll load gear into one of my three hard golf cases, and pull them behind.

So take a look at your local sporting goods store. See what they have, then take a look in thrift stores and see if you can find a few.

Good luck.
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 10:26 AM   #13
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Gentleman:

I have almost everything that has been discussed here. I own three Rock & Rollers of different sizes, I have a MagLiner, I have two Arri kits. Trust me when I tell you that we all need to bow to Walter Graff, he has this nailed. DV - Features - Building A Compact Lighting Kit

Matthews makes some really nice, heavy duty stands that are tiny when folded called the B387486 Reverse Stand. They are only 22" when folded and will hold up to 11 pounds.

I already have most of the Walter Graff setup (different lights and a few things he doesn't but same idea) and am in the process of setting up my Kata Maze 4 case like Walter. One case, no cart, works like a dream, solves almost all of the problems elaborated in this thread.

I would not fly with it, the Kata is too flimsy for baggage handler abuse. For flight trips, Pelican 1660 with wheels. Lights, accessories in the Pelican, tripod, arms, light stands in a cheap Sport Authority duffle with clothes, some Duvetine wrapped around cheap tripod and light stands to keep them from denting each other. Duffle bag rides on top of Pelican. It's a bit wide but just did New York with it last month and it was manageable.

BTW Richard, did the golf case earlier this year to Philadelphia. The golf cases are fine for around town but for flights, not good enough. United ripped off one of the wheel assemblies, I had to drag it around on one wheel the whole trip. The wheel assembly was riveted into the case, they abused it hard enough to actually tear the whole wheel assembly out of the hard shell case. Fine for local but for flying, I have had better luck with the cheap duffle bag. Fits four light stands, grip head, 20" arm for hair light and my Bogen 501 MDv tripod, plus clothes, toiletries, Duvetine, a couple of stingers. Still made it under 50lbs too and no oversize charge.

Enjoy!

Dan
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 11:12 AM   #14
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My experience with airlines is - if you get a bad handler, you're fooked.

Yeah, I've had hard golf cases crushed.

Yeah, I had my Monfrotto tripod get it's tilt/pan nobs SHEERED OFF while flying with it in it's padded flight case. What did they do, drag the damn thing behind a luggage hauler?

I've had Pelican cases with their backs ripped off.

I've had duffle bags ripped open.


So, saying that ANY type of luggage is 'flight proof' is kinda dicey. Like that old American Tourister ad where the luggage handler becomes a gorilla with you bag - I think it all depends on what kind of day they're having.
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 12:33 PM   #15
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Hi Dan,
lots of info; thanks. The Kata Maze line has been discontinued, but there are a couple of new lines that look interesting. I'll read Walter's essay with interest.
Cheers,
Malcolm
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