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c-stand etiquette?


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#1 Patrick Lavalley

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 01:48 PM

Hey everyone,

I've recently been gripping on a lot of short films around town, sometimes with a professional key-grip or gaffer on the crew, and I've been learning a ton about proper grip etiquette, but there's a lot I still have to learn. I've never gripped on a feature, but hopefully someday soon I'll get the chance. I've got a few questions for those people with much more experience than me about how proper etiquette goes as far as handling and setting up c-stands and other stands around a set. I know most of the basics, like always pointing the "long leg" of a c-stand toward the load, and always loading the c-stand arm so that the weight tends to turn it to the right. Here's a few of the things I would like to know about so that I can be more efficient and more safe the next time I'm on-set.

1) When setting up a light on a stand, I have heard of some people throwing the lamp cord under one of the legs, so that it becomes less of a tripping hazard.
  • this seems to be logical, however, it also seems frustrating when you're trying to raise a light and the cord keeps getting pulled taught under the leg.
what's the correct way to handle this? I usually just try to leave enough slack on the stinger so that the cord isn't being pulled away from the stand, and then I bag the stand as much as needed depending on the height or weight of the lamp.

Another instance happened to me last night when someone kept turning all of the set-screws on the light collars to the fully locked position when the lights were removed from the stands, and when I would try to put the light on the stand, the set-screw would be screwed all the way in, so I would have to come down from the ladder and unscrew it before putting the light on. I suppose I should have checked, but I just wasn't used to this, and it was kind of annoying. When I asked him about it, he said it was so that the set-screws wouldn't get lost, which makes sense. So I am just curious if I've been doing everything wrong all along?

Edited by Patrick Lavalley, 16 April 2007 - 01:50 PM.

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#2 Cody Jacobs

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 09:27 PM

I find the cord under the leg method to be a bit annoying for the same reason. Infact I've seen more people nearly pull the all too taught cable out of the head by sticking up on a stand that had the cord under the leg then I have lights falling over from the cables being tripped on. If I think that is a possibilty I just leave enough slack beneath the stand to make sure they'd have to drag it for a while before it was ripped down. And also just making sure cabling is for the most kept free from heavy traffic areas, and if it is then have it protected or marked.
As far as keeping the tie down screw fully screwed in when the head is not in use I have been doing that for a while simply out of habit because I once worked with a gaffer who did not want his tie downs bent or lost on set or during travel by leaving them partially screwed in. So its become a matter of instinct for me to make sure they are unscrewed before putting them onto a stand, and thus not very frustrating to deal with constantly forgetting.
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#3 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 10:02 PM

I hate the putting the cable under the leg poop. It does nothing to prevent trips that a properly laid cable can't fix.

You should always have a neat coil of extra cable by the head; put down in such a way that you can move the light and the cable will just unroll without flipping the coil and becoming a tangled mess.

The screw issue is something I always would check as part of habit before setting a light (especially a big heavy one), just stick your finger in the junior receptacle and make sure the thread isn't in the way. For lights with baby receptacles, do the same. I've never tightened them completely down, it just is annoying and slows things down considerably with what my old gaffer would call "fiddle fu*king around". You obviously don't want to make a habit of loosing the knuckles (not something I have really ever encountered much), but frankly as an electric your job is to get that light up fast and safely, not protect the rental houses stuff at the expense of making your job smooth. If you loose one as a result of leaving them out (once again not something I have really encountered), oh well, l&d move on with your day, grab a different stand, look for the lost item on some down time.
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#4 Patrick Lavalley

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Posted 17 April 2007 - 01:04 AM

Thanks everyone for the clarification and advice. I am pretty sure that I run into a lot of these problems because I work with inexperienced crews who haven't necessarily been told the right way of doing things, nor have they been punished when they haven't done it. I guess it's all part of the process of learning. Some people get annoyed when I point out things that aren't done correctly, but it's important to know that all of this stuff is done for a reason, whether it be safety, efficiency, or both....
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#5 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 17 April 2007 - 05:58 PM

Thanks everyone for the clarification and advice. I am pretty sure that I run into a lot of these problems because I work with inexperienced crews who haven't necessarily been told the right way of doing things, nor have they been punished when they haven't done it. I guess it's all part of the process of learning. Some people get annoyed when I point out things that aren't done correctly, but it's important to know that all of this stuff is done for a reason, whether it be safety, efficiency, or both....



Costco has some nice laydown matts for under 20 bucks. If there is room it's nice to just put those down over cables in highly traveled areas, they are about 3 feet by 5 feet in dimension.
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#6 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 17 April 2007 - 09:34 PM

C-stands store best stacked w/ the long leg facing away from the set. Doesn't matter if the long leg is over the short or medium leg, as long as the stacking is consistent.

If you've got to move a bunch of c-stands, it's best to do so w/ the legs open, that makes it easier to put them down when you reach your destination. (You can pull 3 folded stands from the cart, but when it's time to put them down, you have to dump them on the ground; better to unfold them at the earliest opportunity.)

A lot of the equipment you work w/ will belong to the head of your dep't, not some anonymous rental house. In such cases, screwing the tie-downs all the way in isn't so bad; it saves them from getting bent, which saves time and "face" on set. Also, it helps to tighten everything before loading the truck because the ride will bounce everything loose, and you end up w/ a bunch of missing tie-downs ...

When setting a flag, always consider whether the butt of the arm is going to poke out someone's eye. Putting a tail of white tape on the arm is a pretty weak move. It's way better to say "Hey Vilmos, let me re-set the arm so I don't poke out an eye." (This can work for any DP, as either sarcasm or flattery B) )

Best,
P. Ed Agog
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#7 Patrick Lavalley

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Posted 19 April 2007 - 12:32 PM

Costco has some nice laydown matts for under 20 bucks. If there is room it's nice to just put those down over cables in highly traveled areas, they are about 3 feet by 5 feet in dimension.


That sounds like a good idea. Up until now I have been using furniture pads for hardwood floors and carpets that I want to leave in good condition, but they don't stay put very well. I'll have to invest in a few of those carpet runners. Good advice! Also, while I'm on the topic of furniture pads- I always see them rolled up and tucked into themselves very neatly on the grip truck, but I can't seem to recreate this, does anyone know how to do it?
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#8 John Sprung

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Posted 19 April 2007 - 04:20 PM

You got the right hand rule and the long leg rule. The third one is the outboard rule. Unless obstructions prevent it, always put the stand on the side of the light away from camera. That way if they decide to change the shot a little and move the camera, the C-stand is less likely to be in the way.



-- J.S.
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#9 robert duke

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Posted 26 April 2007 - 09:13 AM

That sounds like a good idea. Up until now I have been using furniture pads for hardwood floors and carpets that I want to leave in good condition, but they don't stay put very well. I'll have to invest in a few of those carpet runners. Good advice! Also, while I'm on the topic of furniture pads- I always see them rolled up and tucked into themselves very neatly on the grip truck, but I can't seem to recreate this, does anyone know how to do it?



The bed roll, this seems simple but it took me months to get right. there are some simple but easily overlloked tricks to this.
1. fold the furni in thirds
2. start the roll very tightly.
3 when you get 2 ft from the end pause and fold open the folds in a V shape
4 continue rolling tightly all the way to the end.
5 tuck your outfolded edges into the center of the furni roll.

I see people waste tape taping this up but if you do it right no tape is needed. do it repeatedly and it will get easier and tighter.
practice makes perfect.

as to the tie down rule. always tighten after removing from the stand and loosen as you go to put it on the stand. On a long show out away from a rental house it looks bad to have to jerry rig a light because you lost a tiedown. make it a practice to do a once over and loosen/tighten that knuckle. it doesnt matter who owns the light.

Take care of your tools and your tools will take care of you.

Rental houses notice the L/D list and sometimes will not recommend or rent to people with a bad history of L/D.

Duke
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#10 Michael Morlan

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Posted 02 May 2007 - 02:11 PM

Some other c-stand handling points:

o When booming out, place the arm over the highest leg.
o Place all sand bags on the highest leg so that the minimum sand bag is touching the ground.
o When gripping a thicker load with the head, place a wedge on the opposite side of the head's bolt from the load to prevent bending of the bolt as the head is tightened.
o Tennis Balls cut wtih an "X" on ends of boom arms when they are at eye level or other possbily injurious place.
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#11 David Erlichman

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Posted 03 May 2007 - 11:33 AM

Tennis balls (cut of course) on stand legs work when there's no carpets.

Also, have the locations dept cut carpet runners into 10"x10" squares so you're not fighting with excess carpet against walls, etc

Dave
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#12 robert duke

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Posted 05 May 2007 - 01:14 AM

remember they are called a century stand b/c it takes a century to master them. hahaha

duke
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#13 edward read

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Posted 07 May 2007 - 08:20 AM

Some other c-stand handling points:

o When booming out, place the arm over the highest leg.
o Place all sand bags on the highest leg so that the minimum sand bag is touching the ground.
o When gripping a thicker load with the head, place a wedge on the opposite side of the head's bolt from the load to prevent bending of the bolt as the head is tightened.
o Tennis Balls cut wtih an "X" on ends of boom arms when they are at eye level or other possbily injurious place.


Here in ny we say that if you have to put a tennis ball on the end of the arm to prevent an injury then the stand is set wrong. There is always another way to set that doesn't create an eye-poker.
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#14 John Sprung

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Posted 07 May 2007 - 01:00 PM

o Place all sand bags on the highest leg so that the minimum sand bag is touching the ground.


With the high leg in the direction of the load, sand does the most good on the far side from the high leg. So, the way to position the bag is with the center web against the vertical, with the end of the web resting on the high leg and most of the sand drooping down on the opposite side of the vertical from the high leg.

Bagging is a controversial subject. I had a very good key grip once who would ream you a new one for using a bag unless it was absolutely necessary. His opinion was that sandbags on stands are usually a waste of time and effort. God help you if you didn't follow the long leg rule, and used bags..... ;-)



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#15 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 07 May 2007 - 09:41 PM

What about bagging a light stand like this?
http://cgi.ebay.com/...1QQcmdZViewItem

I get a lot of conflicting information about how to bags these. I've seen some folks hanging a bag from the lowest knob, putting a bag on the leg supports, or just wrapping them around the base of a leg.
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#16 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 08 May 2007 - 12:35 AM

I've always seen and done the bag on the leg (not the supports). You tend to hang a shot bag off the knuckle if the legs are really skinnyed up and you can't fit one on/ it falls off.
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#17 robert duke

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Posted 08 May 2007 - 08:32 AM

What about bagging a light stand like this?
http://cgi.ebay.com/...1QQcmdZViewItem

I get a lot of conflicting information about how to bags these. I've seen some folks hanging a bag from the lowest knob, putting a bag on the leg supports, or just wrapping them around the base of a leg.



the bag should go on the Leg at the joint of the brace. the bag should be laid with a nice little wrap around the leg so that it grips the leg. The braces are done sometimes but truth is they are not meant for that kind of weight. Dont throw the bag on the stand.

only hang the bag on the knuckle as a last resort. the knuckle can be bent by a bag dropped on it.

never put the bag on the very ends of the leg, it is too easy to slide or wiggle off in a wind.

make yourself look good when not using bags stack them crisscross five high. it makes staging look neat and keeps the set looking clean. stacking more than five high is asking for a broken ankle.
also some manufacturers only put a handle on one side. try to keep that side up at all times either on a stand or in a stack.

If you need more than two bags be sensible and use a muscle cart. Bags are one of the first things people hurt themselves trying to carry. Its not cool to hurt yourself by trying to carry to many bags.
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#18 Riku Naskali

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Posted 20 May 2007 - 03:29 PM

Always get a good grip of the screw while tightening it, I just dislocated my thumb with a c-stand. I never though that would be even possible :rolleyes:
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#19 Chad Stockfleth

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Posted 21 May 2007 - 08:15 PM

I hate the putting the cable under the leg poop. It does nothing to prevent trips that a properly laid cable can't fix.

You should always have a neat coil of extra cable by the head; put down in such a way that you can move the light and the cable will just unroll without flipping the coil and becoming a tangled mess.

The screw issue is something I always would check as part of habit before setting a light (especially a big heavy one), just stick your finger in the junior receptacle and make sure the thread isn't in the way. For lights with baby receptacles, do the same. I've never tightened them completely down, it just is annoying and slows things down considerably with what my old gaffer would call "fiddle fu*king around". You obviously don't want to make a habit of loosing the knuckles (not something I have really ever encountered much), but frankly as an electric your job is to get that light up fast and safely, not protect the rental houses stuff at the expense of making your job smooth. If you loose one as a result of leaving them out (once again not something I have really encountered), oh well, l&d move on with your day, grab a different stand, look for the lost item on some down time.


+1 Cable through the leg is bush-league. Not worth the hassle when raising and lowering the light. Keep a neat coil at the base. Tape the ground if you're worried about a tripping hazard.

As for the stand screws, I unscrew it just enough to get the light out, and leave it there until the next. I haven't lost one yet.

Not sure if it's proper, but I put the sandbag on the braces of the stand. Sometimes the leg, if it seems a squeeze to get it on and off the braces. Not sure why, but it's always felt more sturdy to me.
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#20 Bob Hayes

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Posted 22 May 2007 - 10:30 AM

1. When lifting sand bags of a c-stand keep one hand on the c-stand to keep it from falling as the lifted sand bag grips the leg.

2. When walking around a small set or house close one of the legs to avoid bumping into walls or people.

3. The cord is some times placed under the legs not to prevent tripping but to prevent the light from falling over if the cord is snagged. When it goes under the leg the stand is dragged not pulled over.

4. With regards to protecting floors crutch tips work great. I also take carpet samples and cut them into 4? Squares. They are small easy to carry and I just throw them under the legs like a black jack dealer dealing cards. I keep 9 in my kit so I can handle three lights. It really makes clients and home owners comfortable when they see them come out. They are much easier to manage the large sections of carpet or lay out board. Also you an put them under heavy furniture carpet side down and use them as a floor slider.
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