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Its been how long?

10 Jan

Yeah, its been a while, I know. I’ve been putting in a lot of work on the book, and had really hoped to have a solid draft by now, but do you have any idea how many instruments there are out there? Well neither did I. And there are a lot. A. Lot.

On the plus side, I have a great picture illustrating why you should never trust other people with your gear. I’m guessing that it had something to do with a service elevator and a careless bellhop that knew he wasn’t going to get much of a tip anyway.


I was able to replace the American Grip leg for around forty dollars and a few minutes of time. The Matthews stand with the orange feet was a spring loaded turtle base, however, and the snapped leg was part of the central shaft, so it couldn’t be replaced. I had to purchase a whole new base for around $120. I did keep the bits, just in case. Luckily, the crew member was quick on the ball and made sure that the hotel excepted liability for the damage.


My New Grip Area is so Purty!

15 Aug
Shots of my completed (finaly!) work area at the new Imagecraft location. The top shelves make nice place for naps.

C-Stands and Flags


Rags and Distro

From the Other Angle

Repair Station

How big is your meat axe?

14 Jun

Abouts 72 inches.

A Meat Axe is a type of adjustable arm that is often attached to a studio catwalk or lighting grid, though it can be attached to all sorts of things thanks to its handy C-Clamp. I haven’t seen many requests for this in the field, though.  Kinda anticlimactic, eh?

Meat Axe Arm (Matthews Studio)

 A Meat Axe Flag is a type of “cutter”, like a 4×4 Floppy or a 2×3 Solid Flag that goes on the Meat Axe Arm and is usualy either 24″x48″ or 30″x36..

Meat Axe Flag

Tip: When either asking for a Meat Axe or taking an order for one, make sure you clarify whether it is for the arm, the flag, or both.

designing a grip room from scratch

9 Jun

Since imagecraft may be moving to a new, more consolidated location in the next month, I have the opportunity to set up the grip area the way I want to. Or at least the way I want to and is approved by the big boss. So my question is, the best way to store c-stands, combo stands etc so that they are accessible, and don’t fall over like huge metal dominoes when I inevitably knock into them. Anyone encounter the same question? Solutions? Suggestions? Salutations?

Life in the trenches….

1 Jun

Spent some quality time in the 5-Ton today prepping it to go out on a job. Injury count: One twisted ankle sustained when I hit my foot with a ballbuster (35lb sandbag), and a sore nose/bruised ego when I managed to smack myself in the nose with a chain vicegrip. Overall, not bad. Any day spent in the grip truck in which I don’t end up bleeding is a good one. A co-worker of mine commented that he was amazed I had managed to survive this long. I think its amazing that the people around me have managed to survive this long.

Chain Vicegrip

In Depth: C Stands

31 May


“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.)” From Matthews Studio Equipment

The generic term for the C Stand is Gobo Stand or Grip Stand. The Gobo Head attaches to the baby pin mount at the top of the stand, and the Gobo Arm then slides into this. It is virtually impossible to keep these suckers tightened when transporting them. You can try, by cranking the bajeezus out of the T-Handles, but invariably they manage to loosen themselves and as soon as you pick one up, they attack. When you set them up in a row, its called “soldiering them up”, which seems ominous to me.

There is also a small C Stand, most commonly called a Gary Coleman (RIP). (I think he may have been accepting of this term as I once saw a photograph of the actor posing with one of his namesakes and he had a big smile on his face.) Other terms include Danny Devito and Billy Barty, though the last one I only learned today. The Gobo Arms on these smaller versions are 20 inches rather than the standard 40 inches.

Question: I have run across small stands of slightly different height. Do these other names refer to specific sizes? Is the Danny Devito a little taller than the Gary Coleman?

I also found a useful video from on the basic handling of the C Stand, which can help minimize the damage these blood thirty creatures inflict.

Along with Matthews Grip, American Grip and Modern Studio Equipment all make versions of this stand. Norms also used to manufacture their own version, and though they went out of business earlier this year, their stands are still out there.

Next week: The Combo Stand; What in the hell is a Lollipop Head??

Saturday, July 11, 2009

26 May

Tip of the Moment:
The use of “baby” to describe a piece of gear has nothing to do with it’s size, but rather what type of adapter it uses. “Baby” refers to the 5/8ths inch, or “baby” pin onto which the instrument or clamp is attached. A small combo stand for instance is not called a “Baby Combo”, but a “Low Boy Combo”. Other terms for a Baby Pin include “Baby Spud” and “Junior Stand Adapter”. Please feel free to add any other terms you’ve heard for this piece of gear.