Can a Glidecam system cause back problems? at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Support Your Local Camera > Stabilizers (Steadicam etc.)


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old April 9th, 2008, 03:38 AM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: NSW, Australia
Posts: 64
Can a Glidecam system cause back problems?

I got my first "real" camera stabiliser 3 days ago. I bought a second-hand Glidecam V8 system complete with L4 monitor which I'm using with my Canon XH-A1. Having owned one of those cheap nasty Indian Flycams (with body pod) from e-bay I found balancing the XH-A1 fairly straight forward. My biggest problem with this rig is the sheer weight of the whole thing. It is giving me huge back pain and I haven't been able to wear it for any more than about 10 minutes at a time.

While the V8 manual has lots of information in it, it lacks illustrations which makes it hard to comprehend.

Can anyone recommend a training resource that explains how to wear this thing without doing permanent damage to your back?

Also if anyone is using the Glidecam L4 LCD monitor, are you able to make this thing display un-squeezed 16:9?

Thanks!!

JT
James Thirston is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 9th, 2008, 06:25 AM   #2
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: switzerland
Posts: 2,131
unless you use a vest with the arm fixed on the back, it is a real pain to use such stabilizer for a long time. You can have your vest modified.
Giroud Francois is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 9th, 2008, 08:17 AM   #3
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: NSW, Australia
Posts: 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Giroud Francois View Post
unless you use a vest with the arm fixed on the back, it is a real pain to use such stabilizer for a long time. You can have your vest modified.
I've never seen this before, has anyone here done this mod?

JT
James Thirston is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 9th, 2008, 08:44 AM   #4
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Lanark,Scotland
Posts: 736
James, iv owned my v8 for a few years now and the back pain goes away after a while, i recently operated a steadicam master with an HDW750 for the first time and one of the pro operators on this site (charles papert) gave me some good advice which was to keep the rig as close to your body as possible. The fact is any steadicam system will affect your back untill you strengthen the muscles.

Im not sure you can modify the v8 vest to fly from the back but i do know you get rigs that are designed that way.

The LCD monitor is only 4:3, there is no way to unsqueeze it, i have this problem as well, buying a 16:9 monitor is the only solution.

Andy.
__________________
Actor: "where would that light be coming from?"
DP: "same place as the music" -Andrew Lesnie-
Andy Graham is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 9th, 2008, 09:00 AM   #5
Major Player
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Posts: 318
Do a workshop: http://www.steadi-onfilms.com.au/ste...workshops.html
It will make a world of difference.
__________________
Nick
Nick Tsamandanis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 9th, 2008, 09:36 AM   #6
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 326
A Steadicam-type rig, if worn properly, should not cause major back pain. You may feel some muscle strain in your lower back (I believe in your lumbars) at first with a reasonably heavy setup, but standing the correct way and letting your body take the weight of the rig in the proper way should alleviate any strong sensations of pain you're having.

The XH-A1 is a relatively light camera, even when well kitted-out, and to give you a frame of reference, everyone at the workshop I took was able to fly a rig that was very close to 15 pounds just for the camera (HVX and Letus35EX with a big Nikon lens, all on heavy rods). Sure, you may feel it in your back a little, but if it's so uncomfortable that it makes you incapable of operating, something is wrong.

A good resource for learning about Steadicam posture is here: http://steadivision.com/steadipos.htm
but the best advice is still to take a workshop (in the US, it's http://thesteadicamworkshops.com ), and get hands-on training on posture and many other very important factors.
Tom Wills is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 9th, 2008, 10:43 AM   #7
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,781
Everyone has made good points.

Generally a front-mounted vest will ask things of particular back muscles that normally sit quietly and mind their own business. It can be alarming to feel a strain anywhere in the back as one immediately thinks the worst. However these are muscles just like any other. With the rig flying on your left side, you will likely feel the strain in the lower right side (and obviously the reverse if you fly on the right). As long as it is not felt in the center of the back, i.e. spine, you are not doing any damage. Take your time and work up to it. As I'm sure you know Steadicam requires plenty of practice and body conditioning is part of it, particularly once you start to load up the weight.

Make sure the vest is linear, that the straps are equal length on both sides and it does not sit crooked on your body, especially when under load (look at yourself in a mirror or have someone inspect you. You should be able to lift your leg so that the thigh is horizontal, with the bottom of the vest just above. Your hips should not be able to move freely inside the vest, and the whole thing should be snug, not so tight that you can't breath of course but tight enough that you can't move inside it.

When the rig is on your body, you should be able to stand upright without it flying away from you. Unfortunately the V8 doesn't have the ability to adjust the pitch of the arm but in the event that this is happening, you might be able to level the arm with towels under the vest etc. Having to lean back or to the side substantially while operating to keep the rig in check, or just as bad having to muscle it to hold it in place will both result in greater fatigue.

Be persistent and you will be amazed at how quickly you can build up your stamina.

The back-mounted concept is good but we used front-mounted vests for 30 years (many still do) and they are perfectly capable of supporting the weight without hurting your back, especially the relatively low payloads you are describing.
__________________
Charles Papert
www.charlespapert.com
Charles Papert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 9th, 2008, 10:51 AM   #8
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: NSW, Australia
Posts: 64
Thanks guys for the good advice!

It sounds like I will need patience and perseverance... the Alexander Technique sounds very interesting.

Tom thanks for those links - that PDF file on posture by Chris Fawcett looks like a very informative read.

Giasou Nick, I will definitely get in touch with the Getting Creative guys to see if they have any winter Stedicam workshops.

Thanks for chiming in Charles your advice is very timely and you are definitely right, it was a bit of a shock when I first wore the rig only to find after several minutes that I couldn't stand the pain!

Cheers,

JT
James Thirston is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Support Your Local Camera > Stabilizers (Steadicam etc.)

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:49 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network