The Emerson VMA Department utilizes an array of specialized film production equipment that requires safe and effective handling and operation. Click on any item heading below to learn more about the safe use of these production tools (links open in a new window or tab).


  • Tying a Bowline – This knot creates a non-binding and non-slipping loop in a rope or line.
  • Clove Hitch – Secures a rope to a solid object like a pole, often used to secure and control a butterfly (overhead) attached to combo stands.
  • Half Bow – A quick-to-untie variation on a half-hitch knot.
  • Trucker’s Hitch – For tying things down securely, this knot is really two knots and a rope-end that works the knot like a pulley.  Often used in rigging guy lines to stands.
  • Square Knot – A strong, but easy to get wrong rope-to-rope knot–Left over right, right over left.


  • Light Stands – Usually better than C-stands for supporting lights on the set. Tripod legs and a central, multi-section riser.
  • Rolling Light Stand – A wheeled 3-leg stand. Good for lighting instruments that need to be moved easily, or other useful things like a Director’s monitor.
  • Baby Light Stand – For extra low mounting levels of heavier light fixtures.
  • Combo Stand – The “Hollywood” Combo accepts larger Junior fixtures via its 1 1/8″ receiver and small fixtures using its retractable 5/8″ Baby pin.
  • High Boy – Also known as a Hi-Hi Overhead Roller Stand. Has the largest gobo head at the top, called a ‘Lollipop’.
  • C-Stand – The most versatile piece of equipment on a set. Has a 2 1/8″ gobo head. The “C” stands for “Century” as it has a 100 cm gobo arm.

Gobo’s: (these tools “Go Between” lights and the subjects the light falls upon)

  • Flags – Flags are square or rectangular frames with mounting pins attached. Used to control natural or artificial light. Can be used to protect the camera lens from flares, control spill light from other sources, or keep light from reaching an area on the set.
  • Floppy – Solid black fabric both stretched over a square frame, with one side including a large floppy square of fabric. This overhanging material can be folded against the framed material and secured with Velcro.

Clamps and Clips:

  • Grip Clips – AKA Pony Clips (a brand-name, usually orange-tipped), available in many sizes.
  • Cardellini Clamp – Beautifully machined, strong, elegantly simple clamp with a baby pin. Almost as versatile as a C-stand.
  • C-Clamp – Someone you know has one in their garage (a big, rusty one).  Used with and without Baby and Junior studs.
  • Duckbill Clamp – Great for holding items such as foam-core, reflector boards, flags, and bounce cards.
  • Furniture Clamp – Also called a bar clamp; has a wide opening, holds stuff together.
  • Mafer Clamp – Invented (along with the “Boom Bonnet”) by the great Fred Willard also known as AFER-Man. An older design that is similar in use to the Cardellini and named for the union between M for Matthews Studio Equipment and AFER for Atlanta Film Equipment Rentals.
  • Pipe Hanger – Used to rig lighting and grip gear to overhead pipe grids.
  • Grid Clamps – Has a Baby pin and is made to clamp securely on overhead grids, car rigs, or camera car rails for the mounting of light fixtures.


  • Apple Box – Almost as useful as a C-stand!
  • Sound Blanket/Furnie PadCan be used to blackout a window or hang in a room for added sound insulation. Sound blankets can also be used to protect equipment during transportation.
  • Offset Arms – Allow you place a light over an obstruction such as a wall, to offset a light fixture from its stand or support diffusion in front of a light without an additional stand.
  • Baby Plates – Works in conjunction with a flat surface for its base to attach and user-supplied screws to mount it to walls, ceilings, or floors. Alternately, it’s often gaffer-taped to apple boxes or the floor to temporarily support lighting equipment at a very low angle.
  • Sandbags – A heavy staple in studios or on location for stabilizing light stands, booms, tripods, and backgrounds.
  • Wedges – For leveling things like stands. props, set pieces and dolly track. 
  • Baby Pin – A standard 5/8″ diameter fitting. 
  • Stand Adapter Pin – Has a filthy nickname; adapts a Junior pin receiver (like on a combo stand) to Baby pin. Puts a smaller lighting fixture onto a big stand.

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