Backlight stand for heavier monolight

Discussion in 'Lighting and Hardware' started by adamhiram, Nov 25, 2019.

  1. adamhiram

    adamhiram No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I recently upgraded from speedlights to larger AD400 monolights, and while setting up for the first shoot I immediately realized I need a new backlight stand. I've always used a lightweight Flashpoint backlight stand hidden behind the subject, but there's no way I'm putting a 4.6lb light on this little thing. I can always just use a regular full-sized light stand, but my bigger air cushioned stands have a minimum height of about 40" - fine for a standing adult subject, but too tall for someone sitting, especially a small child.

    Can anyone recommend a good backlight stand for a heavier monolight? This Manfrotto stand looks to fit the bill, but comes at a pretty steep price for what it is. On the other hand, I came across a cheaper version from Impact that looks nearly identical at a much lower price point, but got mixed reviews. It may even make sense to simply get a stud adapter that screws into my travel tripod's QR plate, although I'm not sure how good of a solution that will be. I'm very curious what others here use.

    Alternately, I'm curious if I can simply position the background light to the side. My concern would be light falloff from right to left (or vice versa), or a grid spot that looks less round due to the angle. It seems like behind the subject is still the most logical placement, but don't want to buy extra gear if there's an easy workaround.

    Thanks!


     
  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Why not add about a 5 or 6 lb counterweight to the very bottom of your current stand? Even a 3-pound boom arm counterweight would give you much more stability. You could make your own ballast out of any number of found objects.
     
  3. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    @adamhiram If you have a handy wife and you're really nice you could ask her to do what my DW did for me. I bought a 20lb bag of rice at Wal-Mart for $9. She took an old pair of my jeans and used the cut up legs to sew up tubes approximately 3" in diameter and about 12-14" long. I filled them with rice (don't fill completely) then she sewed the ends shut. They work great, because they're flexible, will wrap around legs, braces, hold the bottom of backdrops, etc. One of my most used accessories.
     
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  4. adamhiram

    adamhiram No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well, that was easy. 2x 10lb sandbags are more than enough to hold it in place, and I can definitely see how a horseshoe shaped sandbag would be ideal here. It never even occurred to me to use them indoors - with speedlights, the stands are typically stable enough on their own, and in all honesty, the worst case scenario was having to replace a $65 unit. These monolights are a whole different beast! Thanks for the sanity check.
     
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  5. Braineack

    Braineack Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I have a few of these:

    Impact Heavy-Duty Air-Cushioned Light Stand (Black, 9.5')

    I'd have no problem with that strobe for a backlight and a simple modifier, but anything requiring an odd angle or heavy modifier would not hold up at all. I use sand bags as well.


    I use this now:

    https://www.adorama.com/fplsc.html

    need more; love it. Incredibly sturdy. I also have the extension headfor my XPLOR600 and hang the strobe/battery over the stand to help weight it down and that helps as well.

    I was also looking at the manfrotto air cushioned stands for travelling work as well -- others seem to have no issues with them and heavier strobes. I would like the 12' ones for receptions.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2019
  6. adamhiram

    adamhiram No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks @Braineack, I wasn't even thinking about my primary light stands. The Flashpoint air cushioned stands I use look very similar to the Impact stands you mentioned, and seem sturdy enough. My only concern is that the receiver is riveted on instead of attached with a screw, which seems like it could be a weak point. For portability, the Manfrotto stackable stands look fantastic.

    I was looking for something with a minimum height under 24", which none of my "standard" size light stands can do. Picture a 4 year old sitting on an 11" tall stool, and trying to hide a light behind them. I think I'm good with the sandbags for now, and if I need something more portable, that Manfrotto one looks to fit the bill, with a much wider footprint for stability.
     
  7. Braineack

    Braineack Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    ohhh, i found some cheap background stands for that -- still not too worried.
     
  8. JBPhotog

    JBPhotog No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    One must bear in mind the load rating for a stand if you don't want to overload it by adding a sand bag. FWIW, the Manfrotto backlight stand is a highly valuable stand, the Impact one will likely do the job too. However, for @$10 more buy the Matthews version as the pole extension is a three section model and goes much higher, the load rating is also much higher so the pole extension can handle high loads, you will own it for life.

    Matthews Back Light Stand, Black - 19-52"
     
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  9. adamhiram

    adamhiram No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Coming back to update this thread with the solution I went with.

    I would NOT recommend the Matthews back light stand mentioned above for several reasons:
    • The receiver in the base was not level, which meant the extension column was not vertical. This was the case on 2 units before deciding to return them and get something else.
    • The included extension column is different from the product description. I expected a 4-section column with a maximum height of 52", instead it came with a 3-section column with a maximum height of 41".
    • The extension column just doesn't feel strong enough. It is made of thin aluminum with the base pin riveted on, and felt like the pin might snap off with any real movement. I was not comfortable putting any real weight on top.
    Instead, I opted for a Manfrotto 003 backlight stand base and Matthews telescopic baby stand extension, on the updated recommendation of @JBPhotog. It feels a lot more solid, the center column is vertical, and hopefully will last me a long time.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2020

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