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Taming the tilt, background stands fixed!
Posted By: 45 Mike, 02-11-2014, 04:34 PM

Some background.

I ordered a set of off camera speedlite flash stands, with the adapters and umbrellas. It was a fairly cheap set, came in a bag and works pretty good.
I was also looking at ordering a set of background stands with a crossbar that is used for hanging a paper roll, or muslin as a studio set-up.

Then I noticed that the stands they are selling are no more than the same as sold as light stands, (with a few exceptions). This might seem silly, but I already have a set of CFL stands with umbrellas, fixtures etc, and really I should have just gotten the flash base adapters instead of another full set of stands ect.

With that all said, I quickly realized that I have 5 light stands in total, and most lighting setups use 3 at most, I could easily re purpose 2 of those light stands as a background stand. All I need is a cross bar.

My Mom had purchased some kind of funky adapter set that let her do machine quilting with her normal sewing machine, and she also had a friend that had the same set. Her friend no longer used that set, (she upgraded to a real machine quilting setup).

In any case they combined the two sets and got Mom set up with this adapter thing that she never uses, (grinning because she thinks the same about all my photo stuff), and after all that there were these lengths of fairly stout tubing that telescopes as sections, about fifteen feet of this tubing that she does not need, nor want.

The tubing laid out in a pile of junk for almost a year, and as I walked by it something clicked!
I asked her, (ALWAYS ASK!!! LOL), if she wanted that, could I have it??

OK, I have the stands, and now I have a crossbar.
The question becomes HOW do I attach that crossbar tubing to the top of the stands in such a manner to hang up a twenty pound roll of seamless paper???

The light stands I have, have a 1/4" bolt on top of the 5/8" stud. The tubing has 1/4" holes in some of the ends.
The first thing I tried was just dropping the holes over the bolts, but that was floppy and not looking very promising.

I went online to look at how those commercial stands attached the crossbar. As I looked at the examples online I ALSO began reading product reviews.

Nearly all the reviews have at least one comment that complains about how difficult the process is to raise the crossbar once attached with background attached with just ONE person! The comments indicate that two people each raising their end at the same time is what is needed!

Why is THAT??

I looked at the attachment types used and it becomes obvious that the flaw is in the manner the attachment locks the crossbar angle to 90 degrees to the stand!

Here is a pic of the situation:

Here you can see the bar attached, and horizontal

This next pic, shows what happens when you try to raise ONLY one end of the bar.

Note how raising one end tilts the entire assembly, placing stress on the stands, and creating a dangerous unstable situation for the person trying to deal with a heavy 10 foot roll of paper on that system!

Ohh, now look at THIS!!

Notice that the crossbar is not horizontal, but the stands themselves are still solidly supporting both ends without any tilt, wobble or falling!

How did THIS happen?? Well that is the subject of this article and I am gonna show you!

Maybe that looks somewhat familiar! I hope so. I used a speedlite flash adapter and modified it to use as attaching hardware for the crossbar. I will illustrate.

I removed the speedlite plate, then used a hacksaw cut off the nose looking portion of the umbrella port.
I cut all the way through the top, but you may want to keep that so you can still use it as a speedlite adapter as well.
Then the messy part.

I used a dremel cutter tool and hogged out all the innards of that umbrella mount port. So that I could fit the end tubing of my crossbar through it.

Now I can fit the cross bar tubing sections over that short length and add as many lengths as I need. Up to 10 feet.

This shot shows 10 foot of crossbar on the right, to the left are the sections that fit inside the outer sections,
this telescoping strengthens the bar considerably and allows adjustment of length from two feet to ten feet.

This next picture shows the outer tubing along with smaller inner tubing. The inner tubing is equipped with the button locks that would normally lock into holes in the outer tube. I have no holes in the outer tubing, as there is no reason to lock the pieces together. The buttons do provide a friction fit that holds the tubing sections together very well.
Note that the inner tubing is a few inches shorter than the outer tubing.

A shot of all the tubing pieces I have available for setting up.
FROM TOP: the two short smaller inner tubes that fit into the light stand tilting adapters.
Two pieces of 24" outer tubing.
Four pieces of 30" outer tubing, three of which have 28" sections of inner tubing nested inside.

This next and final picture is showing the entire kit, that fits inside the original bag and serves as both flash stands, as well as background support. (The two black bags are my white and light blue backgrounds stuffed into stuff sacks Mom made for me. They do not fit in the kit)

That's my story. And I'm sticking to it!

Last edited by 45 Mike; 02-11-2014 at 04:54 PM. Reason: forgot one image
Views: 2,096
02-11-2014, 04:48 PM   #2
Tom S.'s Avatar

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Good post!
02-11-2014, 04:57 PM   #3
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45 Mike's Avatar

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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Tom S. Quote
Good post!
Thanks! Kinda long winded, but I enjoy writing, as well as making pictures.

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