Light Stand Safety
Proper Stand Set-Up
To properly set up a light stand you want to keep these “best practice” rules in mind to protect your equipment from damage and to prevent injury.
- Make sure that the leg braces are always parallel to the ground so that the footprint is at it’s widest for maximum stability. If using a light load on a heavy-duty stand, the legs can be partially opened or “cheated” so that the footprint is smaller.
- Make sure that all knuckles (knobs) are secured tightly. All knobs include the knobs on the base, the riser section knobs and the locking knob for the light fixture itself. This is extremely important to avoid damaging equipment and the serious injury that can result from for heavy loads falling.
- All knobs should be in line so that they are easy to find without visibly looking for them.
- If lifting a very heavy load, be sure to get some help to raise that load to prevent injury. Usually one person will lift with both hands on the risers while the other will help raise the load and lock off the knobs once at the desired height. Getting help is also essential for mounting heavy loads above ones head onto the stand.
- If a riser section starts to fall unexpectedly, and the load is too heavy for you to handle on your own, back away quickly and don’t try to catch the falling load as it could lead to severe injury.
- Be sure to use plenty sandbags to secure your load. In high wind or high (foot) traffic situations you may want to use additional sandbags for extra safety.
- Do not use a stand if it is damaged in anyway. If you discover a stand is damaged, mark it with tape and make sure it is properly repaired before the next use.
- Safety on set is always top priority and equipment your not familiar with, should only be handled by experienced professionals.
Proper Stand Break Down
- To properly break down a light stand, make sure all knobs are in line so that the next person to use it won’t have to search for them.
- Make sure all knobs are secured tightly. This is vital to protect the grip from loose risers that may extend unexpectedly and cause great harm from passing the stand to and from the grip truck, especially when the risers are right at eye level!
- A sand bag is a what’s known as a “Silent Grip” because it does its job efficiently without any complaints!
- Sand bags are necessary safety items. They prevent light stands from tipping over, provide a down and dirty place to support a camera and also act as counterweights for booms.
- They come in many different sizes and weight capacities. Common weights are 15, 25 and 35lbs. They are filled either with sand or lead shot and come pre-filled or have zippers or Velcro as closures so you can fill them yourselves.
- You always place your sandbags on the leg of a C Stand so that it is not touching the ground and gravity is affecting it. If you have people, especially little people (children) in your studio, a sand bag can prevent them from knocking down an expensive lighting fixture or worse causing injury to themselves or others.
Check back soon for a short video that will illustrate the safety features that were mentioned in this post.
Never Let Go!