Carrying an XHA1 for 2+ hours - cramping fingers, aching back... at DVinfo.net

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Old August 13th, 2011, 07:36 AM   #1
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Carrying an XHA1 for 2+ hours - cramping fingers, aching back...

I recently did a very fun gig (a Woodstock revival) where I spent the entire 2+ hour show right up against the stage while my second cameraman was up on the balcony. While he was seated comfortably and operated on a tripod, I was moving constantly close to the stage, negotiating a crowd of dancing people (young and old in hippie garb) and doing a lot of different angles. I got a lot of beautiful shots, but although I was changing position a lot, by the end of the night the fingers of my right hand were literally cramping up (I had to physically unlock them with my other hand) and my back had painful muscle spasms.

I'd like to know about support options that will bring me some relief and still allow me to move freely in a crowd. My friend showed me his shoulder rig but that wouldn't allow me different angles (at arm's length, high up above the crowd, down low, etc.), at least not without poking a lot of people with the rails and the shoulder pad. I was hoping for something compact that would allow me to use the EVF (the LCD screen is too close to my face), maybe one hand grip and one shoulder rest? Bonus points if it lets me mount a light, a wireless receiver and a flash recorder.

I've looked at several options and while they seem very comfortable they don't seem to offer a lot of options (except maybe for the DV Multirig).


J.
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Old August 15th, 2011, 07:36 PM   #2
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Re: Carrying an XHA1 for 2+ hours - cramping fingers, aching back...

Using DSLRs, I like a chest rig. I use Redrock's The Event. Add a top handle, and it would be even more versatile.

With a chest rig, you let your arms naturally pull the camera back toward your chest. It locks it in. You have to adjust your posture with more arch in the lower back to keep things balanced. The nice thing is that you can move the camera up or down by pulling it forward just an inch or so. Your shoulder won't block downward movement.

A good handle is important. I carried The Event with a 5D2 for two days at NAB and pinched a nerve in my hand. I was fine when shooting, but when walking, I was carrying it with a rod between my middle and ring finger on my left hand. By the second day, I had lost most of the strength in that hand. It took about a month to come back.

One approach is to model a rig from wood or aluminum to get a feel for what you will like.It won't be easily adjustable without a wrench, screwdriver, and drill, and may be ratty by the time you get it where you like it. It may be usable around town, but won't break down for air travel, and won't allow fine adjustments. Still, it's a cheap way to figure out what works for you, before you spend money on the real thing.
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Old August 16th, 2011, 07:12 AM   #3
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Re: Carrying an XHA1 for 2+ hours - cramping fingers, aching back...

Get to the Gym
Try carrying a 16mm Arri in a jungle war zone for 16 hours [ think that was for 22 days ]
as a one man band - incl sound [ Nagra - and doing interviews from behind the camera ]
and a major US network news org telling you - not happy get into the action / get closer.
Old blokes still hurt but then we are lucky no bullet holes.
Withdrew from Vietnam when I looked behind me one day and the ITV cameraman
had lost his viewfinder [ head ] to a snipper.
Payed well but hell on wheels
Get real buddy - this is not for the faint hearted.
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Old August 16th, 2011, 08:24 AM   #4
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Re: Carrying an XHA1 for 2+ hours - cramping fingers, aching back...

Yea - thanks for that Steve....



I think the DVRig's a winner for the A1 - used it myself and still have one (not the camera) The gas strut takes all the weight and you can move the camera really smoothly - don't try walking. It comes with a quick release tripod mount and you can twist it around any which way for a low mode shot etc.

I do believe there's a Chinese copy on the market - not a solid though
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Old August 16th, 2011, 11:28 AM   #5
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Re: Carrying an XHA1 for 2+ hours - cramping fingers, aching back...

I've been using the DVMultirig for a number of years and frankly I couldn't live without it anymore. Not only does it take the weight and keep my hands from cramping up (yeah I've had that and it's painful) but it allows some pretty smooth moves with practice of course. Not quite Steadicam like but it does allow for moving nicely.
Expensive but then what in this business isn't.
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Old August 16th, 2011, 09:06 PM   #6
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Re: Carrying an XHA1 for 2+ hours - cramping fingers, aching back...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bowman View Post
Get to the Gym
It's not the weight, it's the position. I've done twelve hours with the camera and accessory bag witout to much trouble. But holding up the camera and shooting for two hours straight is brutal. I don't think they did that even in 'Nam.

Don, Paul & Jon: thanks for the tips. It's especially useful since I'm looking at the XF305 as my next camera, which has a similar form factor to the XHA1.


J.
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