Life can be expensive, especially when it comes to photography which is connected to technology. Life is full of surprises though and maybe we get to discover one of these surprises today.
Sometimes we get the opportunity to get hold of something that makes life a bit easier, and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Talking about legs, today we have a look at a nifty little ‘gadget’, I guess you can call it a gadget as it can be used in quite a few ways. I bought mine at a shop called Daiso, a small Japanese store in Singapore.
Just about every country has the same type of shop – everything have the same fixed low price. Usually something around $2 and the quality absolutely depends on the type of product you are buying. So what is this so called gadget? It might sock you, but it is chair socks. You pull them over the legs of chairs, it keeps them warm and they won`t damage your wooden floors while the chair slides back and forth.
There are usually two types: short fat ones and long thin ones. The thin ones are what we are after. Now these little guys may seem really weird but they serve a good purpose. Why do they come in handy? Well, they can actually come across as part of your professional gear. But what are they for?!!
Ok. I tried them on some lights stands and they fit perfectly! They keep the stands’ legs warm and, they take away any grip between the stands and certain floor types. This means the stand just glides over the floor effortlessly, no need to lift it up. Most of my work is on wooden or tiled flooring, so these guys work awesome! Since discovering this purpose for them, they’ve become permanent accessories.
Also, they protect floors from scratches. They are sometimes also used to serve as protection on carpets. A light stand can become quite heavy with some add-ons like batteries, barn doors, gels, diffusion etc. A few hours of standing in the same spot, might leave its mark. We once had to film a traditional tea ceremony in a Japanese home with beautiful tatami mats. The owner looked a bit worried when the gear, especially the light stands, were taken out. She stood there watching our every move. As the stands were opened up, and put into positioned with their protective socks on though, she immediately relaxed and turned around and went about with her preparations. This says a lot about these little guys.
Something else about them is that they prevent normal light stands from just tipping over with accidental knocks. Normal light stands are top heavy with a light attached to it and tend to fall over easily, unless you use sandbags or weights which I rarely use when traveling light. When the stand is bumped accidentally, the socks make it glide instead of having some grip, meaning the legs will ‘absorb’ some of the impact when sliding. The whole stand moves instead of just the top part. Of course C-stands are much more stable, but heavy and not very mobile. Also a C-stand footprint is not ideal in small working spaces and the only other option is a normal stand.
These little socks are available in different colours and you can even choose the colour according to your mood or client of the day. I usually stick with grey or black though…
In a studio with a smooth floor surface, they make things a bit easier as moving the stands around become a breeze so you don’t have to work your socks off, and your stands would appreciate them during the winter too.
\’säk\ – slipper, light low-heeled shoe