C-Stands 101: How to Use ‘Em and How Not to Use ‘Em

Learn how to use one of the most essential pieces of filmmaking gear like a pro.

C-stands, or "Century stands" as they were called back in the 1920s, may not look like much, but they're actually one of the most useful and versatile weapons in a filmmaker's arsenal. Employed across several different departments, C-stands can be used to mount and fly just about anything, from heavy studio lights to shotgun microphones. In this video, filmmaker Todd Blankenship of Shutterstock Tutorials gives you a quick overview of not only where C-stands originated but also the many different ways they can come in handy when working on a film set. Check it out below:

When you first get your mitts on a C-stand, setting it up looks relatively straightforward despite all of the knobs and pieces. You've got the legs, the stand, the grip heads, and the gobo arm, on which you mount whatever piece of gear or modifier you're working with— pretty simple.

However, there is a bit of an art to setting these things up and doing it incorrectly can not only result in your equipment falling and getting damaged but your cast or crew getting injured.

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