Reporter Hit by C-Stand Not Secured with Sandbags… While Reporting on Sandbags

Here’s your dose of irony and humor for the day, plus a handy tip to top it all off. First, the tip: always secure your stands — for both safety and financial reasons, this is a good idea if you think there is ANY chance whatsoever that they might be knocked or blown over. Okay, now for the humor and irony.

In this short local news clip from southern California, reporter Michele Gile is telling viewers about the volunteers at Seal Beach who are filling up sand bags for people to use to prevent flooding.

Sadly, whoever set up the C-Stand to the right of Gile didn’t think to ask any of the volunteers for a couple of sand bags of their own… and so the stand that was sitting there was blown right onto her head as she was signing off. Thankfully, Gile looks to have escaped unscathed, and she handled the incident very professionally.

(via DIY Photography)

  • Sean Lucky

    Are we sure the stand wasn’t bagged at all? I’ve seen combo stands with dirt on them still go over in strong enough winds.

  • Sean Lucky

    I take it back. From the way it bounces against her, I reckon there’s no weight at all…

  • Vlad Dusil

    She didn’t skip a beat. True professional. Can’t say the same about whoever set up the flag without weighing it down.

  • Mark Sebastian

    Looks like the light hit her just right.

  • Alex Huff

    Love it.

  • Peter Böszörményi

    That was a scrim, not a flag. Sorry, couldn’t leave it uncorrected.

  • Peter Böszörményi

    4 words: never use c-stands outside.

  • Vlad Dusil

    I stand corrected!

  • Peter Böszörményi

    But with a sandbag I hope.

  • GoCat

    Lucky that it wasn’t something heavier …

  • Eduardo Mozer De Castro
  • Vlad Dusil
  • Michael Carney

    It’s not a scrim. Its a diffusion panel. Specifically a “silk.” A scrim is a fine black mesh that’s only purpose is to cut the amount of light without changing the quality. A silk is designed to diffuse the light into a softer, even source.

  • mark

    if it was heavier… would it have fallen

  • Rose

    Sorry, no flag, scrim or diffusion panel. You are all wrong, it’s a yellow thingy in a stand.

  • Burnin Biomass

    I think its a giant flyswatter.

  • Ejody

    That would be a SILK she was hit with, not a C-stand.

  • tomcatv1

    News station being cheap. No grip allotted to the shoot.

  • Steve Ausdahl

    Probably good advice, but no one in the industry would make that absolute decision.

  • Peter Böszörményi

    I actually came to hate c-stands recently. Especially ones that are not new. I realized that there is a reason that gaffers who have their own gear don’t by c-stands.
    I usually skip on them and bring alu stands instead if the rental house has enough.

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  • ScottSummers

    It’s all about the one-person band and automation these days.

  • RonT

    Just to correct your correction: You’re not describing a scrim in photographic terms, your description sounds closer to a stage lighting scrim, you’re describing some form of flag in photographic parlance.

    A scrim is a translucent white fine meshed panel used for softening and diffusing harsh light and placed between the light source (normally the direct sun) and the subject. A scrim could be MADE of silk I suppose, though most are made of either cotton or woven plastic (same material as the softbox panels usually, whatever that’s called).

    A flag (it has a variety of names) is a black panel designed to reduce reflectance (sometimes called a ‘negative reflector’ these days, though the name is a bit of a misnomer).

  • Michael Carney

    To Peter and Ron:

    SCRIM, FLAG, DIFFUSION and NETS are all very different, and very specific light modifying tools.

    SCRIMS are mesh panels that go directly in front of a light source that do nothing but reduce output. They typically are specific to a size and type of light (a scrim for a 150W, 3″, fresnel will not fit a 4.5K HMI) and come in one and two stop strengths as well as half scrims that have the mesh on one half and open on the other. Scrims are often used in film and video to reduce the output of hot lights (like fresnels) and are rarely used in still photography/strobe lighting situations (where power levels are more easily controlled electronically by varying voltage to the lamps).

    FLAGS, also called solids, are opaque devices, typically fabric, but can also be fashioned out of any material that does not transmit light, that are designed to completely block a light source from an object. They can be used for what is called “negative fill” which is actually just blocking ambient light from a subject.

    DIFFUSION is a generic term for any fabric or gel that is designed to soften a light source. A by product of this is light loss (just like with umbrellas and softboxes). Many examples include various strength silks (1/8-full strength are most common), diffusion gels (Opal, #216, #214, Frosts, etc) and other materials that transmit some percentage of light (grid cloth, diy shower curtains, inner diffusion panels of 5-in-1 reflectors, etc).

    Finally NETS are fabric meshes that stretch across a frame to cut light output without changing the light characteristics. They serve the same purpose as a scrim, but are used when the desired effect is not wanted across the entire range of the light’s impact (ie netting the bottom portion of a light so when an actor walks toward it it does not become brighter via the inverse square law).

    Diffusion, Nets, and Solids can all be stretched across a Frame – any device designed to hold one of the above in front of a light source, typically from a C-stand. Frames come in all sizes, but typically are 18×24″ up to 4×4′. Larger frames are referred to as overheads or butterflies (6×6′-20×20’+) and still use solids, silks, gridclothes, etc.

    If you were working on set when the DP or Gaffer called for a scrim and you brought them the device seen in the video above, you would A) be reprimanded and B) possibly fired for incompetence – depending on your position and the type of production.

    I recommend to the both of you get positions as grips or even PA’s on a moderate budget set (commercial or narrative, $5k-$30k) to gain some valuable experience and knowledge about the equipment and tools of the trade while carrying a minimal expectation of efficiency.

    In the attached image you can see an 800W Joker Bug HMI with a diffusion gel (IIRC an Opal gel), shooting through a 4×4 diffusion panel (#216 gel) for a soft, daylight source. The blue bag hanging from the stand contains the scrims (small metal meshes) specific for that light. The black material in the background is a 20×20′ solid that we hung to block unwanted light from coming in the door and window (out of frame).

    I hope that clears everything up for you.

  • morgannagrom

    That’s not irony. That’s a funny coincidence.

  • Steve Oakley

    alu stands ? they freaking bend in 1/2. I’ll take a C over an alum stand most days. FWIW the old avenger C stands are made like beefy babies. not all C’s are the same… and yes we use them outside every day, you just have to know what you are doing.

  • Peter Böszörményi

    Alu stands for frames and flags and the likes. Steel stands for anything heavier but I would never put anythin heavier on a cstand either.
    The only pro of cstands is that you can stack more in a small space.

  • Peter Böszörményi

    I think ‘scrim’ can be used more widely than you described, probably depending on the place of usage (US vs. UK etc).
    The device used in this situation is a net or scrim as it is marketed by the company which sells it (as you can see on the link I provided earlier).
    And wihout getting too personal: I have worked as a grip and even as a gaffer on small music videos an although I have been mostly working as an AC the past couple of years I think I know my way around lighting equipment. However I don’t work in an English speaking country and I would be the last to say that I have nothing to learn so probably the truth lie somewhere inbetween

  • Peter Böszörményi

    Flag is not just for reflections. Most of the time it is used to block direct light.

  • RonT

    We’ll have to agree to disagree on terms – I’m aware that there is some variation on terminology and that US video users appear to use different terms for the same things.

    I always ask for a scrim, the assistant(s) always set up what I want (which is a large, translucent panel between the sun and my subject that softens and diffuses the light, stabilising dynamic range). As long as that happens I’m happy :-)

    FWIW, As a still photographer I do actually use a scrim outdoors fairly regularly, most shoots in fact – in fact any commercial photographer on a location shoot is likely to be using them, particularly at the beach or other high contrast areas.
    It’s only the small one-person-bands that probably don’t, and that’s mostly due to a lack of assistants I suspect, since they are hardly difficult to use. Wedding portrait photographers often don’t either, though that seems to be changing in recent times.

  • RonT

    I think you are correct – the variation of terms is probably more country-of-origin of the user based, then a technical one. As you say, the company manufacturing and selling this calls it a scrim :-)

  • RonT

    LOL, more of a people swatter in this video!

  • Nate Scullen

    Very well said sir! having graduated from film school you are %100 on this! Good job on the explanation!

  • Nate Scullen

    Never use a c-stand without a sandbag, without a sandbag it isn’t a c-stand…..

  • Nate Scullen

    yup no knuckle or metal only silk :)

  • Daniel Lerch

    A scrim is used to control the stop. A double has a a red band around the ring and a single is a green band. A single will lose one stop and a double will lose two stops. Scrims are there to help the gaffer control the level of lighting hitting the subject, bounce, or whatever.

  • Daniel Lerch

    The only reason electric department carries c stands is for Kinos. Electric uses baby and combo stands. C stands are a grip thing. And yes they should have used combostands outside with a few ballbuster bags on the stand.