In film production, a C-stand is primarily used to position light modifiers, such as silks, nets, or flags, in front of light sources. The stand is constructed of metal and consists of a collapsible base, two riser columns, and a baby pin on top. In addition, a C-stand includes a gobo head and a gobo arm, which provide the ability to articulate a light modifier without moving the stand itself. The legs of C stands are designed to be nested, so many stands can be placed around a light source.
A secondary use of C-stands is to position smaller light fixtures. A typical use would be to offset a backlight from the stand column, so that the stand itself can be placed out of shot, while the backlight hovers somewhere above the top edge of frame.
A C-stand is sometimes referred to as a "grip stand". While the grip department always carries C stands, sometimes the electric department may as well, for use with lights that don't mount onto baby or junior stands, such as kinos.
A "baby C-stand" is only 20 inches at its shortest height. It is nicknamed a "Gary Coleman" or a "Billy Barty" stand in the US, and a "shotgun" in the UK (a reference to the stand having been "sawn off").
The term C-stand comes from the early history of lighting equipment where a popular sized sun reflector was 100 inches square or "century". Today the term C-stand is a popular name for the grip stand made by Matthews studio equipment and has been copied by other manufacturers.
- Box, Harry C. "Set lighting technician's handbook" Third Edition, Focal Press, 2003. p. 119.
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