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An Avenger brand 2-riser C-stand with a Rocky Mountain leg, 2.5" grip head and 40" grip arm. This stand extends to 10'.

In film production, a C-stand (or Century stand)[1][2] 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.

The term C-stand comes from the early history of lighting equipment where a popular sized sun reflector was 100 inches square or "century".[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

A secondary use of C-stands is to position smaller light fixtures.[3] 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.

In recent years, C-stands have found a new use, supporting the brackets used for balancing Steadicam (and similar) camera sleds. Due to the off-center weight distribution in this practice, it is necessary to use sandbags to add weight to the C-stand leg opposite the camera sled.


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 well as 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. In the UK a short flag stand with stubby legs is called a "shotgun" flag stand (a reference to the stand having been "sawn off").

A C-stand with a removable base is called a C-stand with a turtle base. The opening at the top of the turtle base accepts the base of c-stand upright or a junior pin. Turtle bases are great for setting up a light very low to the ground.

A C-stand with an upper most leg which is moveable on the vertical axis is called a Stair Leg C-stand as the unit can be placed on a stairway. Also called a Rocky Mountain leg.


  1. ^ Richard K. Ferncase - (1995) - Film and Video Lighting Terms and Concepts pp 28-30, 39.
  2. ^ Professional Cine Photographer magazine How to use grip equipment August 1953 p. 325, 338.
  3. ^ Box, Harry C. "Set lighting technician's handbook" Third Edition, Focal Press, 2003. p. 119.

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