24 July 2012

Tony’s Home Brew Studio.

Maximizing your studio space with column stanchions and super clamps.

The Studio Set Up from Anthony Zeh on Vimeo.

Many people have little studios in a bedroom, as I do. The problem I kept having was lack of space. My room is 12x11, more like 10x9 when you figure your tripods and light stands can’t get in close to a wall. Not very big for a studio, but doable. I really wanted more space, but knocking down walls was not an option. So I set out to look at the problems and how to solve them. The biggest problem was tripods and light stands can only get in about a foot from the wall and 2 feet in from a corner. If I could get lighting equipment and cameras up to the wall, I could gain back about 2 feet in useful space. Also I hate tripping over the legs of tripods and light stands which is a problem in a small space.  These were the problems I set out to solve.

Studio room filled with light stands and tripods
I have only 8’ ceilings so I decided to find a way to work with that. I figured I could hang something, but the mobility of equipment would become an issue. Then I thought of something I had seen as a contractor, which were supports for creating barriers for remodeling. They were expandable stands that went from floor to ceiling.   With this I could add a Super Clamp and I could solve both of my issues. I could get my lights close to the walls and even in the corners. And no more legs to trip over. This allowed more options and lots of possibilities.

Studio space with support stanchions and super clamps
For a small cost I added about 46 square ft of usable space to my studio in a room that is about 136 sq ft. That’s tremendous. Depending on how many you use, just one stand set up will run you about $50. I got 6 for my space to offer the most versatility. Most people could work with just 3.  I bought these less inexpensive Super clamps for $20 ea. The Monfrotto ones are very nice, but at about $35 each, I opted for the $20 version. They are still solid units. The safety catch on them are not that great, but I have not had any issues. 

For the Stands I used the ones below from Haul-Master. I wouldn't hang anymore than about 15 Lbs of equipment on these, but they are stable. They will extend up to 114" or 9.5 ft. Best deal for the Support BarDepending on your strobe or lighting heads you may have to get longer studs for you Super Clamps or use a Umbrella holder to make the room for your light head.  If you use these Haul master Supports, do not put too much pressure. You may damage your ceiling or break the handle on the support. Just make in nice and snug between the floor and the ceiling. No need to push up your ceiling. The ratings on the supports are mixed, but My feeling are they are stable for the use of light stands, just don't put your strength into tightening as you can break something.

For my crossbar I have a monfortto I bought years ago but for a decent inexpensive one I found a 10' one similar to what I use, see below. For my white vinyl seemless I bought the following and and used Gaffers tape to attach it to a ABS 2"tube from Home depot. It is not attached to the cardboard tube it comes on and the tube is not great for support.

Camera Setup is a cross arm with a lap top stand. Any ball head or pan head with a 3/8" screw will fit. **Note: I did have to modify one of the Super Clamps to make this work.

 I drilled out the center hole on the clamp with a 5/16" drill bit and tapped the hole with a 3/8" tap. These can be bought at Home Depot for about $10.


  1. This is awesome Tony. I run into these space issues all the time in my studio. Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

  2. where do I find this Columns stanchions ??

    1. You can find the stanchions at harbor freight. http://www.harborfreight.com/2-in-1-support-cargo-bar-66172.html

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  4. That was a fantastic blog, Tony. Thank you for sharing. I definitely am going to do this. One question... How exactly did you connect your cross bar to the stanchions?

    1. I use a Super Clamp on each end with a double sided post to attach the cross bar. Hope that is of help.

  5. Good job dude! Hey check out this DIY accessory frame stabilizer rig for a DSLR, that you don't cut or drill or glue. Everything comes from eBay!
    The Bracket Rig?