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Old August 20th, 2014, 02:58 AM   #1
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Unmanned cameras - light stands?

Just wondering if, with my two static cameras, light stands might be better. Would they be less sightly and less cumbersome? They can also go higher which is often necessary.

Does anyone use light stands rather than tripods for unmanned cameras? Would it be wise to weight them at the bottom?

Can anyone recommend good sturdy ones for this purpose?
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Old August 20th, 2014, 03:56 AM   #2
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Re: Unmanned cameras - light stands?

I have done this several times, you only need to use a ballhead to level the camera. The size and weight of the lightstand needs to be according to the weight of the camera, I use my sony cx730's only because they are so light, I have not used extra weights at the feet yet because I use them only in a church in a position where no-one passes but if I had to use them in areas where people would pass I"d add some weight onto the feet.
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Old August 20th, 2014, 04:29 AM   #3
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Re: Unmanned cameras - light stands?

Hi Clive

Look at my post a few rows down. Pete Riding uses Cheetah lighting stands and they seem to work well. I have my GoPro on a crappy light stand (the really light ones with 15mm tubes and they have never been knocked over but they do sway in the breeze with outdoor weddings so you need to get something a bit sturdier. I just put a decent ball head on the top (costs more than the stand!) and you have a really nice support.

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Old August 20th, 2014, 06:48 AM   #4
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Re: Unmanned cameras - light stands?

I use them routinely for all but my main (heavy) cam.

Here is a pic of one in position ready to cover a wedding with a wide composition from the rear of the church:

http://www.ashtonlamont.co.uk/videos...34-03_ankr.jpg

Inevitably they are not quite as rock solid as a thumping great tripod as the long centre column can take a few seconds to settle down when fully extended but thats irrelevant with an unmanned b-cam the more so if the cam also has stabilisation built in.

They are great for getting the height. I stood on a pew to frame and start that cam.

You don't need a beefy stand. In fact the lighter they are the easier it is to carry several at the same time, or to clip them to a two-wheel trolley, or to stash them quickly in a car. I only use heavy duty stands in areas where they might get jostled and can fight back - such as in the pew in the photo.

If you need a bit of extra weight for a lightweight lightstand the most elegant solution is a boom arm counterweight such as this:

https://www.calphoto.co.uk/product/c...:counterweight

I would not recommend a ball head unless you are putting the stand on uneven ground. Otherwise I use Manfrotto 701 pan and tilt heads on my heavy lightstands and Manfrotto monopod tilt heads on my smaller lightstands:

Manfrotto Monopod Tilt Head

This is because it can be extremely challenging to properly level a ball head when time is in short supply. Both the 701 and the monopod tilt head already level the horizon for you. This can be critical if you need to recompose at short notice because something is not happening where you expected it to happen.

Light stands with their single columns are much less intrusive in the finished product than any tripod can ever be.

As regards recommendations, lightstands are lightstands. They are cheap and almost disposable. Easy to carry using tripod shoulder straps. No point in putting them in bags. My 5 Cheetas are good in that the feet fold up automaticcaly when you lift them, making it a doddle to reposition quickly in crowded spaces. But they are expensive plus the metal on metal clatter on lifting them is not welcome in a ceremony.

Pete
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Old August 20th, 2014, 07:25 AM   #5
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Re: Unmanned cameras - light stands?

What about microphone style stands? With the round, weighted base plate, that would give you a tiny footprint, and some height. Mic stands only get up to, at most 5 or 6 feet, but there are companies that sell light stands in the style, up to 8 feet.
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Old August 20th, 2014, 08:50 AM   #6
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Re: Unmanned cameras - light stands?

use them all the time - but if you do - USE A SHOT BAG - you're asking for trouble if you dont. it's standard practice anyway.

I use these
Impact Air-Cushioned Heavy Duty Light Stand - Black, LS-96HAB

you'll appreciate the air cushion if you're ever jammed some skin in there. plenty high enough

Impact Empty Saddle Sandbag - 5 lb (Black) SBE5 B&H Photo Video

and you're good to go
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Old August 20th, 2014, 09:28 AM   #7
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Re: Unmanned cameras - light stands?

Yes, these work great for many purposes. Get a Bescor motorized head to position the camera. Try "cine stands" for heavier support. Some can hold up to 88 Lbs. And yes, when there are people around, a sand bag is a good idea.
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Old August 20th, 2014, 11:26 AM   #8
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Re: Unmanned cameras - light stands?

Found the style I was referring to:

Altman Telescopic Stand - 5-9' 524-18 B&H Photo Video

Note that it weights 40lbs or so, which helps keep it stable. I haven't used it for cameras, but lights, and when I've been worried, I've added some sandbags for extra weight
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Old August 21st, 2014, 04:34 AM   #9
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Re: Unmanned cameras - light stands?

I use these Manfrotto stands

Master Stand 1004BAC - Baby Lightweight | Manfrotto

They are nice and sturdy and quite light and go really high - always use sandbags though as the footprint of a light stand like this is going to be less than a tripod so there is a real risk (seen it happen many times) that it could get knocked out of position or worse, knocked over

Pete
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