In filmmaking, getting familiarized with all the different types of gear and equipment is essential for everyone involved in the process. Regardless of your role in a production, you should know what different pieces of equipment are for and how they should be treated on set. C-stands are universally known and you will find them at pretty much every set, so you should know your way around them and how to handle them properly. Here are 5 things we should always remember when working with C-stands.
Protect your vehicle to avoid wear and tear
If you are working on an indie production, chances are you don’t have dedicated transportation for your gear other than your own personal vehicles. Anyone who has ever handled a c-stand knows how easy it is to get different surfaces scratched and bumped by them. To keep this from happening to your car interiors, make sure you lay down mats, towels, or anything you have handy. Weigh down your c-stands with sandbags to keep them in place and prevent rattling while the car is in motion.
Don’t grab c-stands from the middle
C-stands usually come with a grip head or arm attached, which is what gives the crew the chance to mount things like flags and diffusions on them. When folded, the stands keep the arm down, parallel to the body. Grabbing them from the middle is just asking to get your fingers pinched when passing them along, or having an accident if the head is not secured and the arm flails around while carrying them.
Always rig to the right
For safety reasons, you will always hear experienced people on set that you should rig gear to the right and not the left. Doing it on the left leads to scenarios in which something that is mounted on your c-stand can get loose and fix itself in the wrong position or angle given that it has been set on the opposite side. Keeping things on the right side ensures that you can follow the traditional tightening and loosening scheme to the right and to the left respectively.
Bag your c-stand properly at all times
As soon as you stage your c-stand, you need to remember the golden rule on every set: safety first. In the case of these stands, you want to make sure they are properly weighed, which you can do with a couple of sandbags placed on top of the highest leg. Make sure the bags don’t touch the ground, or otherwise they may not be weighing down the c-stand properly.
Keep floors intact using tennis balls
Once you’re in your location, you should always try your best to leave everything as you found it or better if possible. C-stands are infamous for their propensity to scratch floors, so whatever kind of floor you find yourself working on, make sure to keep a couple of tennis balls handy to place below each leg of the stand and avoid any scratches or unwanted marks. If you fear this could be a bit too slippery, you can always just use plenty of tape on each leg too.