Lighting stand and boom recommendations, please!

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by christal|1, Sep 19, 2014.

  1. I posted another question about lighting in this forum, and Devon recommended Avenger lighting stands. They seem like a good stand for a reasonable price. I plan to buy an Octobox, so what kind of stand would you suggest buying for it? How tall? Would you buy an all-in-one boom stand (they seem expensive to me), or would you buy a lighting stand with a boom arm? And can you recommend any particular brands? I don't need top of the line, but I'd like good quality.....and by that I mean lightweight, easy to set up, sturdy and optimally come with a case. The Avenger stands come with an air cushion that protects the stand from collapsing.....could be a good thing to have.
  2. Another +1 for Avenger gear. You really can't go wrong with anything in their lineup. That being said, you're not going to get a case, and lighweight and sturdy don't really go hand in hand.
  3. Here's a few:
    Bear in mind that using a big light on a boom arm with a counterweight (clamp-on metal type) requires a much sturdier stand.
  4. My rule of thumb would be to get a boom and stand at least one gauge heavier than what you think will do the job. I bought a 20mm diameter duralumin telescopic boom with the intention of using it with a small monolight + softbox-brolly (giving a similar light to an Octa). I found I can't use the full extension of the boom because it flexes far more than I feel comfortable with. The included counterweight is also woefully inadequate.
    BTW, I have it mounted on an ancient all-steel wide based stand that's about twice the weight and strength of a modern equivalent stand. Maybe I'm being overcautious, but I would still not trust it hanging above the head of a portrait sitter, that's for sure. It's now relegated for use mainly with little hotshoe flashes and lightweight modifiers, where it does the job quite safely.
    A steel boom of the same diameter might have been better, but given the purchase again I'd go for something at least 25mm diameter, and in a tougher material than aluminium. Trouble is, the added weight of the boom then requires a heftier stand and counterweight.
    The moral of the story being to always overestimate the size and gauge of boom and stand you'll need. Look carefully at the maker's recommended maximum load and then halve it!
  5. "I'd like good quality.....and by that I mean lightweight, easy to set up, sturdy and optimally come with a case."
    "Good quality" and "lightweight" are basically opposites when it comes to a light stand. Understood that you don't want to carry around something that's going to break your back, but the heavier a lightstand is the more sturdy it is and the more it can support.

    You can buy bags and cases for light stands but I've never seen a stand that comes with a case.

    Air cushion is nice but I've never had a stand collapse.
  6. I have a small studio/office as I primarily dowhat I call "studio on location" type lighting.

    My favorite stand set up is an Avenger "turtle base" C-Stand kit like this

    But if I need to put a light at the end of a boom swap out the grip head for a Lowel KG Grip,

    And the 40" arm for a Lowel KP Pole

    I have also used the Avenger Junior boom

    But it's a little too long when collapsed for easy transportation.

    p.s. Don't forget to bring and use sandbags or other ballast, always put the longest leg of your stand underneath the mass at the end of the boom , and any cables should not dangle from your light but go back to ths stand.
  7. These, in the appropriate sizes, are very handy for keeping stands, cables of all types, and power cords organized. I've seen them at Home Depot too.
  8. Your question is very vague and without detailed info about how you plan to use the boom setup. Its like asking I want to buy a camera what should I buy? You forgot to mention what size of an octabox as well. Common sense and safety should guide you most of the way. Larger heavier stands to support the weight of any equipment that you have now and may purchase in the future. Lighter items can be knocked over or fall on a client. Boom arms come in three sizes and lengths but only you can determine which one works for you as you did not give us any clue on what or how your going to use this setup. The all in one boom arm/stand are limited in flexibility but if you are only doing table top stuff or head shots and small group shots then you could be ok. As a rule you should always plan for future use and invest with that in mind.
  9. Here is the boom arm that I currently use with an Interfit softbox head with 3 CFLs to photograph small still lives. The boom arm is a very old Paterson Interfit type, it is 2 sections, closed it is 110 cm long, it would extend another meter or so but this would be usable only with a very big counterweight. As shown, the boom arm balances on its integral counterweight at the position shown. This avoids the need to tighten the clamp up too much. Because the boom arm is very old, two of the clamp screws have stripped and I have re-tapped the holes and fitted new screws. This arm sits on a Manfrotto 008B stand. I have when necessary also used the stand and arm with one of my venerable 600 w/s monobloc strobe heads, although to get a greater usable boom arm length, I would need to fit an additional counterweight (I have a metal one somewhere). This set-up I would regard as the minimum for any purpose, there seem to be some very light stands/arms around which might just work with a camera-top strobe.
    Incidentally, as far as I am aware the main advantage of air cushion stands is that they don't move down quickly when you release them, thus avoiding potential hand injuries.
  10. The light on the end of the boom in the above picture is a hot light, and is therefore much lighter than a strobe with even a 36in Octa softbox, especially if you use a mono-light (as opposed to a pack and head system, or speedlights).

    I use a turtle base c-stand and mini-boom by Kupo, with the appropriate sandbag(s) to counter the weight of whatever head/modifier I have mounted.

    You need pretty good upper body/arm strength to raise and lower such a rig... t
  11. The light on the end of the boom in the above picture is a hot light
    It's actually a "lukewarm" light - the fitting takes 3 compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) - but it IS pretty light in weight. As I said, the stand and arm work fine with a 600 w/s monobloc strobe, too, but of course I would need to re-balance the boom arm by slacking off the black knob in the center of the picture and sliding the boom arm to the right.
  12. At the heavy-weight end of the boom/stand range is this Manfrotto boom stand and remote controlled boom arm. The stand raises and lowers by hand crank so weight is not an issue, and the boom arm adjusts the angle, rotation and tilt of the light by remote hand cranks on the other end of the boom.
    It's heavy and big but it's indispensable in the studio and on location when you need to support real weight. And it's so convenient to use when raising the stand, or boom or adjusting the angle of the light. I've had this boom and stand for 30 years and it works like new. I take it on location whenever I need it.
  13. Sorry I'm just now getting back to check for responses. I'll spend time over the next 2 days reading through your suggestions. I actually purchased something, and it arrived on Friday. But it's an Avenger CHROME.....and it's heavy! My concern is reflectivity with a chrome surface. Has anyone had experience with a chrome stand in this regard?
  14. Short answer No... Reflectivity of a chrome stand has no effect in your picture if that is what your asking. If on the other hand your chrome stand is visible in your picture then it would be more noticeable than a black stand. As a rule the stand holds the light source and the light source is aimed at the subject not back at the stand and even if the light was spilling onto the chrome stand it would not have enough intensity to do anything to your image unless your subject is a few inches from the stand. I love steel chrome plated stands from Mathews and I use them all the time. Most all my indoor portraits on my website are done with shinny chrome plated stands and I have yet to have a problem. Now you might see in your subjects eyes a tiny reflection of a stand if it is directly in front of them off to the side holding a flag or something. I would have to take a close examination of the eyes but then again I would probably see myself taking the picture so does it really matter?
  15. Thanks, Michael. I haven't decided if I'm going to keep the chrome one I ordered. It's really heavy for me to manage by myself, and I may not always have an assistant. This time I corralled my husband. :) But it's nice to know that reflectivity isn't an issue. Thanks!
  16. which avenger stand and boom did you get?
  17. Michael, actually I mixed it up, based on the advice of 2 different reps at B&H. I bought the Impact 9.6 Air-cushioned 3-section Heavy Duty Stand, but the boom was Avenger D600. They're easily compatible, and they said the Avenger boom was simply better, but the Impact stands were same quality but better price (I think). Anyway, they've both been delivered and they're good quality and easy to set up. The boom comes in both chrome and black.
    After putting the stand and boom together, I realized it's not as heavy as I thought. I can manage it, so I'm going to keep the's good quality. But I am going to exchange the chrome for black, which is what I thought the salesman has suggested to me in the first place. I prefer the black, though I know the chrome would probably last longer.
    The boom has a hook on the end of it for counter-balancing. I've bought some empty 5-lb. sand bags to fill with sand to use for that. Is that what you would do?
    The stand can carry a 22 lb. load, and Avenger boom something like 15.7 lb. Hope this helps. I'll post the links for them.
  18. May I suggest a roller stand as it will make life much easier to move both stand and boom with light source. The stand may be light now but when you have the boom and light source on it it is a pain to reposition when you realize you need to move it. Trust me.
  19. You don't want to spend $110 on a nice boom arm to place it on a $35 stand. don't listen to the salesmen they just want to sell you the store brand.
  20. Yes all stands especially the boom stand need to be sand bagged. All the more reason to get a roller stand. The boom itself needs a smaller sand bag hanging off the end or hook for counter weight.
  21. Michael....thanks so much for the suggestions! I'll print this out so I won't forget where it is and keep for future reference. I'll keep what I have for now because of time constraints, but I'm planning to try to find a spot nearby for setting up a studio permanently (don't have room in the house), so I'll be adding equipment eventually.
    As for the 'store brand'..... is Impact B&H's own brand? If so, I didn't know that. But they DIScouraged me from buying the Impact boom, saying the Avenger was a better product. So I really don't think they had any bias. And I did tons of research on my own, which indicated the Impact stand, though only $35, was equal in quality to the much more expensive brands. After seeing it, I would agree. We used Profoto equipment at photo school this summer, and I would say this is just as good quality.
  22. Yes impact is BH brand. I use the Mathews baby rollers and I also have the Avenger A-5033 both stands are used in my living room and are not bulky at all. You will soon realize that the mini boom has it's limitations in reach and you will be extending it almost to the max (which is why you need counter weight) You will soon see that the stand will be in some shots and you will find yourself moving or shall i say dragging the stand again and again to get it out of the shot. That is when you will realize you should have invested in the roller stand. Keep the $35 stand you will defiantly use it for other purposes, it does what its suppose to.
    I don't know what you meant by Profoto is just as good quality as they do not make stands only lighting and light modifiers.
  23. Michael....okay, let me clarify a few things. First of all, all of the soft boxes and most of the equipment they used at school were from Profoto, so I assumed the stands were as well. I must be mistaken about that. And I forgot to mention that I bought the caster wheels for the Impact stand. It helps. They don't wheel the best, honestly, but it will make the stand easier to move around than without them.
    Now can you please clarify what you meant by
    You will soon realize that the mini boom has it's limitations in reach and you will be extending it almost to the max (which is why you need counter weight) You will soon see that the stand will be in some shots and you will find yourself moving or shall i say dragging the stand again and again to get it out of the shot. That is when you will realize you should have invested in the roller stand.

    I'm using a big octobox, so I need some kind of a boom to extend it out. When you say the boom has limitations in reach and that I'll be seeing it in some of my shots, how would a roller stand be any different? Don't you still have use a boom on your roller stand to accommodate an Octobox? Sorry if I'm dense about this. But at any rate, I'll check out the Matthews brand.....I had heard of them but didn't investigate them. Again, thanks for helping me through this! :)
  24. When you say big octabox do you mean 5ft? If so you better have a high ceiling. The boom arm being in your picture I was referring to was a hair light mainly.
    You can get a 3ft octabox over the lens with the boom arm but that is about it. I assume you want the boom arm for butterfly lighting. Unless you are doing group shots or full length shots you really don't need the boom arm on camera left or right because the stand won't show anyways.
    The boom arm helps with very low angle shots like children so you can lower the light below the minimum stand height. Clam shell lighting is also done with boom arms.
    The Mathews is the standard in the movie business. Stands for life.
  25. Michael,
    Actually my octo isn't quite 5 ft. It's only 47". It's one of the Paul Buff umbrella styles that is really easy to set up. It has a ring so it fits perfectly on my Einstein light. When I was at school I found that I preferred the look of having a larger soft box......also liked the Beauty Dish. So I bought the largest soft box I could manage for now. I plan to experiment over the coming days to see what kind of light positioning I like best, but yes, it will be something more on the order of butterfly lighting. I don't want anything too dramatic for head shots.....just straightforward. Oh, and I will have a very high ceiling where I'll shoot this gig, and I hope to find an older building with a high ceiling to set up a permanent studio. We've down-sized to a small house and I don't have room here. I'm set up in the garage for the moment, and that may work for now in a pinch, but we can't leave the equipment here much longer.
  26. Nice set up you will get great shots. I shoot a lot that way but I also have a white or silver reflector below the lens for fill
    and shadow control.
  27. Michael.....I bought reflectors so I'll be experimenting with those over the next few days as well. I don't want the face to appear flat with no shadows, but I don't want anything like split or Rembrandt lighting either. A real learning curve for me. :) Thanks for all your help. Hey, do you happen to know anything about using gels? I experimented with those tonight....unsuccessfully. I'm going to post another question about them, rather than starting on a new subject in this thread.
  28. While this subject has been pretty well discussed, I thought I'd share a few things I've learned the hard way … mostly by doing it, then doing it over the right way … LOL!
    Always select a stand/boom arm by conjuring up the worst possible scenario you may creatively encounter in future, and buying to safely solve that. Everything else and every other application will then work. In my case it was suspension of a 6' strip light directly over a reclining full figure shot of pregnant woman, followed by a 33" Mola BD 9' up and out on the end of a boom arm.
    There are three basic components to a boom set-up: The Base/rRollers; The Upright/Risers; and the Boom Arm/Swivel Mechanism.
    The key aspect of the base is the diameter when the base is open. The bigger the diameter, the more stable the whole boom is. Most stands provide the open diameter specification. Bigger roller wheels are better than smaller ones.
    The key aspect of the uprights is how many risers to achieve the maximum height you may need. Fewer risers is more stable. BTW, while air cushioned uprights are not required, they make height adjustment a lot less difficult when the boom is already extended and has a head and modifier already mounted = heavy! This is one reason a geared stand is preferred if one can afford it.
    The boom arm is all about stability when extended in the worst case scenario. Again fewer extension arm risers tend to be more stable and bow less. I found that what one would think to be strong enough usually isn't … the one clear case where more is better. Again, a geared arm is much preferred if one can afford it. Adjusting a boom arm length is not easy once you have the head and modifier in place, especially something like a 5' Octa.
    - Marc
  29. A couple of concluding remarks - as I said earlier, the goal should always be to get a boom arm to stay in place through equilibrium (adding counterweight as necessary) rather than by clamping the arm up tight (it's far too easy to strip threads). Stands with big bases are of course more stable, according to the principle I mentioned earlier of keeping a perpendicular down from the center of gravity within the footprint of the stand BUT lightweight stands become surprisingly stable if a sandbag is laid on one leg of the base.
  30. Marc.....I understand everything you're saying....makes sense. Except.....what is a 'GEARED' stand exactly? I did a search for them, and wow!.....they are expensive, but I can't tell exactly how they work. I suppose if I had a permanent studio set up (which I hope to do), it would be great to have. Can a huge octobox fit on one of them?
  31. David.....yep.....Got it! :) I bought 3 15-lb. sandbags, for each of my monolight stands, and then I bought some empty 5-lb. sandbags that I'll fill for other uses. I'll definitely use them! I already had 1 near disaster. :) Thanks so much!
  32. "...what is a 'GEARED' stand exactly? I did a search for them, and wow!.....they are expensive, but I can't tell exactly how they work. I suppose if I had a permanent studio set up (which I hope to do), it would be great to have. Can a huge octobox fit on one of them?"
    A geared stand has a hand crank that is used to raise and lower the vertical shaft of the stand. There's a geared mechanism inside the crank that mates with holes in the vertical part of the stand. As you rotate the crank handle the gears mesh with the holes and raises or lowers the vertical part stand. A geared stand also has the benefit of having a very large footprint and is very stable. A geared stand will also have wheels because there's no way you're going to be moving such a heavy stand and boom without them.
    I showed both a geared stand and geared boom in the location setup shot earlier in this thread.
    A geared stand and geared boom is very handy in the studio and can also be used on location as shown.
  33. Brooks, thanks......and I also realize that I didn't thank you for attaching the picture of your set-up above. Greatly appreciated!
  34. I would like to recommend a automatic lightstand, the lightstand have automatic open and retracting, so it will shirten your set time and make sure you have enough room to move your light...
    and it can load at least 9kg, and max height 2.6m footprint 1.05m
  35. Avenger min-boom specs at B&H = Maximum extension: 83.46"
    Kupo baby boom: Maximum extension: 94.49".
  36. Eric and Tom.....thank you!
  37. For those of you who are interested, I posted in another thread the items I ended up buying. I just wanted to follow up with you all and thank you again for all of your advice and suggestions. It's been a real learning experience for me, but my first gig went well and I'm finally getting this lighting thing! :) Here is the link to the other thread in the lighting's my very last post at the bottom.

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