Tag Archives: grips

In Depth: C Stands

31 May

Origins:

“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 http://www.msegrip.com

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 crewplay.com 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??

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