Jay P. Morgan of Slanted Lens has a quick tip about maximizing the distance of your C-Stand, and it goes against what you may have learned in school. In this 4 minute video, he demonstrates the method and why he uses it.
C-Stands can be used to hold just about any equipment you can think of, and that equipment is often expensive. Setting up a C-Stand incorrectly can result in it toppling over and damaging that equipment, or worse, yourself or your crew.
The safest way to set up a C-Stand is to have the taller leg pointing in the same direction as the arm, as pictured above. If you have something heavy on the arm, the C-Stand won’t fall over because the weight is centered over the larger leg. Thanks, physics!
However, positioning the C-Stand in this way means the effective length of the arm is reduced, since the long leg may be in-shot. Morgan suggests spinning the C-Stand around in the opposite way, which takes the longer leg out of the shot. It’s important to sandbag the leg (maybe twice) in order to counter-balance the arm.
If you’re going to set your stand up in this way, it might be wise to make sure you have plenty of production insurance. For what it’s worth, Morgan says that he has been using this technique for years without any accidents on set.