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Old February 1st, 2010, 01:20 AM   #1
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Reduce Back Pain

I've been shooting weddings for almost a decade now. My physical conditional isn't what it used to be. I did a forum search for a good shoulder support for my HVX200A. I've read a lot of good things about the Fig Rig and the Steadicam Merlin. Since I've never used either system before, I wonder if either of them is any good at reducing shoulder and back fatigue. Should I be looking at a shoulder support like the Red Rock Micro's Shoulder Mount?

If this type of idiotic question upsets some of you, I apologize in advance for my lack of IQ. I would really love to hear some of your personal experiences on this issue.
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Old February 1st, 2010, 02:21 AM   #2
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A good set of sticks to put the camera on has saved my back over the years.

I'm not being a smartypants, but having the camera on a tripod means the tripod is supporting the full weight of the camera for 90% of the shoot, leaving me to shoulder mount the camera only for the bits that can ONLY be done 'commando'.

Ben
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Old February 1st, 2010, 05:14 AM   #3
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Hi Jason,

I've been shooting for many years starting with U-Matic years ago, plus many heavy broadcast cameras, thesedays I use a shoulder SPX800, i'm guessing it's four times heavier than a little HVX200. ( Recently I also have just purchased a HPX172 for run n gun jobs.)
Use a tripod is very good advice, and may i suggest you look at your feet, see a podiatrist, you may have feet issues, that radiates pain up your legs and to the base of the spine.
Orthodics may be needed in your shoes, a simple fix, and try doing some gym work to build up your muscles and stamina.

I'm getting on myself, as many are who began in Video in the eighties. just adjust your work methods to suit your age and fitness level, whatever that may be.

Cheers
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Last edited by Tom Klein; February 1st, 2010 at 04:05 PM. Reason: typo's
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Old February 1st, 2010, 08:03 AM   #4
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Like Tom as a sound recordist I had to carry hi band u-matic machines and nagra recorders in the 80's. I now have an HPX301 and find that the shoulder mount format is the best for hand held but like others I use a good tripod for 90% of my shooting.

I have also added some matte box rails and a pair of grips and this gives more stability and spreads the weight across both arms rather than just one in the fujinon lens grip.
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Old February 1st, 2010, 08:27 AM   #5
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100% agree with the tripod method. I use a HPX172 here. For tripod, I use a Manfrotto Carbon fibre with a Manfrotto video pan head. Total weight about 3kg. Light enough for whole day use. Stable enough to support the HPX172 totally.
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Old February 1st, 2010, 10:31 AM   #6
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Hi Jason:

I shoot a lot of behind the scenes and EPK material and it is similar to what you go through with weddings as far as the amount of hand held footage needed. Here is my take on it:

1. Fig Rig isn't going to help you out at all as far as your body/back issues. You are adding weight and holding it away from your body. While the Fig Rig works nicely, it would actually add to your back and shoulder issues, not alleviate them.

2. Same with the Steadicam Merlin, unless you are considering the model that includes the vest. Believe it or not, using a Steadicam Merlin can actually cause you extreme pain in your back and shoulders, once again, because you are holding something with some significant weight out away from your body.

I agree with using the tripod mostly. I also would suggest that you acquire a monopod, it allows for more mobility and lighter weight yet can still give you steadier panning and if you buy one that can take a video head, steadier tilting as well. As far as shoulder mounts, one of the best values on the market is the Bushhawk Series http://www.bushhawk.com/_product_421...o_Camera_Mount I have one and it is pretty great and cost only around $300.00 with everything. There are really fancy and expensive rigs from Zacuto and Red Rock Micro as well as dozens of others but they are mostly really expensive and functionally, end up very close to the Bushhawk.

Good luck,

Dan
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Old February 1st, 2010, 09:40 PM   #7
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Shoulder Support

Thank you all for the helpful tips. The reason I don't use a tripod or a dolly is because the wedding photographers I've dealt with usually like to accuse me of getting in their way. Secondly, I've missed out on a lot of valuable "kodak" moments because my camcorder was on the sticks.

Having said that, I am grateful for your kind reminders about seeing a doctor. I'll test out the shoulder mount that Dan mentioned in his reply and I will write another thread on my experience. Once again, I consider myself very lucky to get helpful tips from professionals on this forum. Thank you all so much.
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Old February 1st, 2010, 10:11 PM   #8
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Hi Jason,

If a photo dude ever tells me that, I remind them that the Bride is not only paying for some Happy Snaps, but equally a dam good video/DVD, so time must be shared, if they don't play ball, I let all future brides know of the better photo dudes that realise that she is paying for both. yes I have met/worked with some of those self important people.
Don't be pushed about, your DVD is important, try getting people to cry (invoking human emotions) by looking at "Happy Snaps" and you'll see what I mean.
Moving images with audio is a very powerful tool.

OR, you could switch mediums and become a photographer yourself, their equipment is so light they have plenty of energy left to "cane out" others they feel are not as important as them.

Goodluck.
Tom
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 05:54 AM   #9
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I have personally met those kind of photographers before. They think they are ALWAYS the king. I have had to pull some of those rude ones aside - and tell them off. Some even deliberately walk in front of your video camera - thinking they are transparent!
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 02:36 PM   #10
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Hi
Go into a work out center and learn how to strengthen your back.This helped for me. To much doing nothing but sitting in a chair editing - or driving your car, leaves your body in no condition to do handheld jobs. I am not a health freak - this just works for me when it is needed. I also try to do some of my job on a tripod. Steadycams and such things -does not help your bag.....

Bo.
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Old February 8th, 2010, 12:21 AM   #11
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Shoulder Support System

I went to a local camera store and picked up a Varizoom DV Traveler. I mounted my HVX200A on it and shot a wedding with it. I have to say it totally solved by back pain problem. And, it produced really steady shots. I guess having the weight of the camera evenly distributed down to my hips is the key to reducing fatigue. By the way, I've tried out the Red Rock Micro shoulder mount, Hoodman's Wrist Shot, and number of other prosumer-level models. Varizoom's DV Traveler works really well for event videographers who have to be on the move constantly.
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Old February 8th, 2010, 12:26 AM   #12
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Looks very interesting. Will investigate this further ... thanks for the lead.
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Old February 8th, 2010, 04:00 PM   #13
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Personally I think the viewfinder on the smaller HVX and HPX is not in an ideal position, If I could get an extended HPX viewfinder flat cable, I'd reposition the viewfinder forward as it is the pro-cameras.
then only a small "shoulder rest" would be needed . tripods in my opinion are much better for long runs.
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Last edited by Tom Klein; February 8th, 2010 at 04:07 PM. Reason: typo
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Old February 9th, 2010, 01:05 AM   #14
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Tom,

That is MAJOR SURGERY to a HPX, HVX camera :-). Definitely, no more warranty after that.

Jason,

Have a question for you. According to ZGC people, the DV Traveler can only support up to 2.1 kg - and that puts the HVX200 into the "too heavy" category. The HPX170 is just on the threshold. But you seems to be happy with the DV Traveler. Can it really adequately support your HVX200? If it can, then I shouldn't be too concerned about it supporting a HPX170 - which is much lighter than the HVX200.

Thanks.
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Old February 9th, 2010, 02:36 AM   #15
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Hi TingSern Wong,

Not major surgery at all, if you have a closer look the viewfinder is just mounted by two screws and a flimsy flat ribbon cable for the electronics.
A slide out bracket could be made very simply and easily, then mount it onto the cameras shaft directly opposite the Mic mount.
If I can source an extension cable for the VF, (feed it thru the camera handle)I'll give it a whirl.
Used with a small pullout shoulder rest (from the base plate) it would be much more comfortable to use the cam than the rear position that Pana put it in, I suspect they did it that way because it's easy, and/or no one has asked for a more ergonomic option.

Maybe they could make it an option, ie "shoulder position" or "hand held position" mountings.

Who knows what the future holds ?.

Cheers
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