This is the first time that we have been looking at a C-stand here on LensVid and although it might not be the most complex piece of gear it is a very important one for both stills and video work.
On this quick video I am not going to go into too many tips or techniques of using a C-stand – there are plenty of good videos on the on the web (here are 4 really cool ones that are shown in the video as well – C-Stands: How To Set Up and Use, C-Stand Basics Powered by Matthews Studio Equipment, C-Stands vs. Straight Stands and Gripology 101: The C-Stand).
But I do want to share our experience with this particular model from Matthews called ” Hollywood Pro C-Stand 40″ with a low profile base and Grip Arm Kit” which is super long name, but pretty self explanatory one actually. Like most C-stands it is heavy at 16lbs/7.2kg – which isn’t a bad thing as you want a C-stand to be as stable as possible.
Matthews has been in business for over forty years making all kinds of studio accessories. They make all of their gear in the U.S. and have quite an extensive range of – C-stands (which is short for century stands), from small ones to really beefy ones meant to huge and heavy broadcast and production gear.
Super robust – Matthews Hollywood Pro C-Stand
The stand that we are going to review today has two raisers or basically sections which you can raise with your gear up to a height of 10.5 feet or 3.2 meters – which is just incredibly height and well over any normal use that we can think about for our purposes. When closed down the Stand is 53″ or just under 1.3 meters.
This particular model doesn’t have a turtle base which means that you can’t separate the legs from the raisers, Matthews does have a similar model with a turtle base but it is a bit more expensive and theoretically at least it is another failure point over time, however a turtle base does make the stand easier to store and transport.
Despite the lack of a turtle base you can rise the tall leg up to 28″ or 73cm from the ground to place it on a stair or even a short table. Sadly it wasn’t tall enough to be placed on our counter-top but the stand has a footprint of only about 31 inches or 80cm – much smaller than most tripods for example and the lower leg can get below 3″ or 8cm spaces which is quite convenient.
Our stand came in the kit with a grip head and a 40″ or about 100cm arm. This arm is probably the main reason why many people use C-stands as it allows the user to place heavy lights and other accessories in different angles and even above objects. In our case we were looking to place our very heavy and large BB&S Pipeline bank system which we recently reviewed. Using a weight to counterbalance the light we were able to place it over our counter-top for our food videography shoot which is something no regular stand can do safely.
Can carry heavy load on the arm
After using the stand for about a month now we can clearly say that it is very robust and extremely well made. There are a few small improvements that we can suggest that will make it even more versatile and easy to use.
No turtle base (in this model)
First, we would like to see rubber add-ons on each of the metal T-handles – yes it is recommended that you work with gloves but not everybody does that and not all the time and there are such add-ons on the market from other manufacturers – it would be nice if Matthews will make one as well.
Talking about rubber – we would also suggest adding either rubber or thin strong foam on the riser itself so it won’t be that cold to the touch – you can also just wrap it in heavy duty tape which we would have done if we didn’t need to return the review unit.
Another small point which might be worth improving – the top of the risers has a baby pin – it would be nice if the tip had a 3/8″ 16 connector as well, like many light stands do – and this is also true for the two tips of the arm. Matthews does have all sorts of adaptors but it would still be nice if it came like this.
Finally the risers are not air cushioned. To be honest as far as we know there are no air-cushioned C-stands by any manufacturer – which we find pretty strange. The only reason that we can think of is that the system needs to be very robust to work and is maybe too big or expensive to make – but if it is technically possible we would like to see it on a stand. The raisers do have rubber gaskets between them though.
So let’s sum things up. At $177 this is certainly not the most inexpensive C-stands around and there are a few small things that we would change or improve but in terms of build quality and general functionality it delivers in full and if you need a high quality C-stand that will last you forever the Matthews Hollywood Pro C-Stand 40″ is a sure bet.
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