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Old February 13th, 2006, 11:13 AM   #1
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the legs on C-stands

trying to learn a little about c-stands. first of all what are they primarily for?
secondly, what does the "C" stand for(if anything)?. And lastly, why are most if not all C-stands equipt with the same type of legs ?(not the collapsable tripod legs) Thanks.
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Old February 13th, 2006, 11:30 AM   #2
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clamp stand i think...becouse i use it to clamp things like a reflector or gel...the legs are easier to open and hold more weight, they are also ideal for weighing down with sandbags

i use my c stand for just about everything mic boom pole, gel holder, reflector holder, light clamp, backdrop holder, sign holder...ect..
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Old February 13th, 2006, 11:38 AM   #3
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The "C" is for "Century" stand. The legs are quick to set up and are very stable. They also make models where the three legs can be individually adjusted to different heights. Every videographer should have a few C Stands IMHO. They are great for holding reflectors, flags, backdrops, lights, of course, and jjust about anything else.

Have fun!

Rob
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Old February 13th, 2006, 11:43 AM   #4
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The explanation from Matthews...

Century Stands or "C" stands are an important component in the image maker's arsenal of tools. The term "Century Stand" goes back to the early days of motion picture production. Before the introduction of artificial lighting, the stages would revolve to allow for continuous overhead lighting from the sun. Large reflectors would be positioned to bounce back or kick the overhead light up onto the stage and illuminate the set and actors. These reflectors were made in many sizes, but it seems the most popular was the 100 inch or "Century" sized reflector. In later years, studios, grips and gaffers began to manufacture the earliest versions of what we now call C Stands. The original C Stands had welded bases that did not fold up or adjust, but the fact that they easily nested together made them invaluable on stages and sets. In 1974 Matthews Studio Equipment introduced the industry's first adjustable C Stand. C Stand is a registered trademark of Matthews Studio Equipment.

C-stands come in different sizes and the "turtle base" can even have one leg which is adjustable up or down so you can place a light stand on a stair case or uneven surface. The base also makes it very easy to throw sand bags on to prevent tipping. They are very versatile and heavy compared to other stands, but they will last you for the duration of your career.
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Old February 13th, 2006, 11:45 AM   #5
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AAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!! Found this!!!!!

Thanks so much!!!!
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Old February 14th, 2006, 11:20 PM   #6
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my conclusion of these Century Stands, AKA c-stands, is that they are basically like a crewmember only they can stand extremely still, work for very cheap, don't complain, and can assist in as many ways as I could imagine. I could probably use about three or four of these right now just for all the experimenting I am doing with lighting etc. Pretty neat!!!
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Old February 17th, 2006, 12:29 PM   #7
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As I understand it, the reason the legs on a C-stand are the way they are (rather than the collapsable design found on most light stands) is so several stands can be positioned close together. You'll often see a light, a couple of flags, and who-knows-what-else grouped together on separate stands. The C-stand leg design allows them to cluster easily.
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 05:45 AM   #8
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Here's a little trick if you're using c-stands on a delicate floor. Take 3 tennis balls and slice a cross into each of them. Stick them on each one of the legs and voila! No stratches. Makes the stands easier to move too.
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 10:46 AM   #9
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Purchase advice

When you buy C stands (unless you have a grip truck) get the ones that the legs come off completely-- just a locking pin. They are much easier to store and transport. Don't know off-hand what they are called, but wish ALL my C-stands were like this.
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 04:15 PM   #10
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"the removable turtle base" and I consider it a must have feature for my workflow.

this stand features a detatchable "turtle" base that is easily removed to facilitate transportation. A light head can be mounted to the base directly with the aid of a stand adapter.

The innovative design on the Century Stand base allows individual legs to be set at any angle, and can be postioned in locations not possible with classic stands.
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 01:45 AM   #11
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Maybe I'm really dense but I've asked this other of others in the biz and never had a straight answer, just a "well that's what we've always used!" kind of answer so I'll see if anyone here has a better answer.

Why are C Stands better than conventional lighting stands?

We've got both and so far I see C stands as being:

a) Heavier
b) Harder to store, transport and rig
c) Can be used just as close together as lighting stands
d) Less stable as the legs don't spread as wide.
e) No different in terms of sand bagging ability

I'll admit the C stands being all steel will withstand more abuse but because of the weight they're more likely to be abused. Some of our conventional lighting stands also have a lazy leg so uneven floors aren't an issue either although you couldn't use them on stairs. Offsetting that though all our lighting stands will fold up and fit inside a 'pool cue' type flight case if they have to travel by air. Some of our light weight stands also clip togther when folded so they self bundle for easy transport.
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 08:25 AM   #12
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C stands are multi-purpose, whereas light stand (generally) are not. Because, as you pointed out, they are steel and heavier, they will support much more weight than lightweight alluminum stands. Some HMI light can be QUITE heavy. With a podium adapter, I can put a monitor on top of a c-stand... wouldn't do that with a light stand.

The GRIP HEAD is a must have for a set of C Stands... if you are angling out a bounce card, hanging a light out on a boom, supporting a background - whatever - heavier and stronger is better.

I am MUCH more comfortable running a 1k or 2k light and Chimera at nine feet up in the air on a C-Stand than an alluminum light stand.

They will position closer together (because of the overlapping leg heights) then regular light stands with legs all the same height.

As you say, they are bulkier and more difficult to transport. I own three c-stands, and five regular light stands. Depending on the job, I mix and match.

If you are always using a lightweight eng kit, then you might not need them. But on a narrative set, or commercial shoot... they really can't be beat.
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 04:06 PM   #13
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There's plenty of light stands that'll take way more load than a C stand, many of them include a crank up section for heavy loads. I agree the grip head is a must have but these can be fitted to light stands, just not normally sold as that way, but we've put kit together that way many times, including hanging a monitor off a boom that was on top of a light stand, we couldn't have done this with a C stand, they don't collapse down short enough.

Thinking about it, yes because you can rotate the legs on the C stand you can get the closer together than a light stand, put the legs at 90deg and you can clamp two together which could be very handy, light stands you can only get about half as close as the leg diameter due to the braces.
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 05:06 PM   #14
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The three main defferences in these stand are.


3. They are steel instead of Aluminum, but then when they were first designed, very few items were made of aluminum. Weight capacities would be pretty much the same, if made these days, but tradition dicates steel.

2. They have adjustable height legs, for uneven surfaces, and that can be very handy.

1. The legs are curved, turtle, "C" shaped, and this allows he use of sand bags. Every other stand that I have seen have legs that are straight-angled, and just will not accept sand bags effectively.

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Old February 24th, 2006, 02:00 AM   #15
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There's one other advantage to "C" stands I just realised today, you can get them much tighter into the corner of a room.
I take your point about hanging sandbags over the legs, the shape of the C stands legs does make that easier, you can sort of fudge it with lighting stands by laying the bags onto the botton of the legs but it's not that secure. Alternatively we've hung the bags on the cross braces of the legs but I certainly wouldn't recommend it with the lightweight stands, probably bend the brace in the process.
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