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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old August 31st, 2009, 02:55 PM   #1
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Health Issue

Around this time last year I hurt my knee while playing with the dog, so not only am I over 30 but now I'm getting injured doing normal everyday activities. Wonderful. Anyway, my aging issues aren't the point of this post.

The knee has flared up again these past couple months and causes me a little discomfort from time to time but nothing that keeps me from doing my job, yet. My fear is that it will continue to get worse with time and I might have to get something done about it and that could very likely put me out of action for a little while since my style requires me to be running all over the place with a stedicam.

How do I handle this if I have to get surgery and miss some weddings? The way our contract is written I've got no problem legally pulling out of a scheduled event and forfeiting any money already paid for said event, but I'd rather not back out on someone somewhat last minute. Should I inform the couples of the situation and have someone else shoot it for me while I'm out of commission? Should I just block out a few weekends next year to keep them clear of bookings and do a preemptive strike on the knee during that time frame?

Any of you guys deal with something like this before?
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Old August 31st, 2009, 03:04 PM   #2
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i would block out few weekends. Last thing people want to know is about your problems when they are busy preparing for the wedding. They have enough things to worry about.
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Old August 31st, 2009, 03:07 PM   #3
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About a decade ago I hurt my lower back and had a hard time carrying a big camera. My solution was to have an assistant do all the shooting, but I was there on site to "supervise." My clients were totally comfortable with that, I told them up front what was going to happen.
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Old August 31st, 2009, 07:02 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Ethan Cooper View Post
Around this time last year I hurt my knee while playing with the dog, so not only am I over 30 but now I'm getting injured doing normal everyday activities.
You poor old bugger! over 30!! I've built a steadicam mount for my walking frame, I'll send you some pictures if you like.

I was talking to another videographer my age recently - He saw his doctor for shortness of breath and was in getting a triple bypass a week later. He contacted other local guys whose work he liked and passed his bookings on to them. He said he only had to actually cancel a couple - he's back into it now.

If you need something done - bite the bullet and book it in. Your doctor/specialist can advise you best, find out what the problem is and get it fixed - just the same as you'd do for your camera
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Old August 31st, 2009, 09:14 PM   #5
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A situation near and dear to my heart, Ethan. Never had a knee problem of any sort until a few weeks ago, when an incident on set followed by a couple of weeks of very intense Steadicam led to a initial diagnosis by a sports doctor of a torn meniscus, which would have meant surgery and a couple months recovery before getting back to work. Fortunately an MRI revealed no tear, so after some phsyical therapy it's getting better and should be all good within a few weeks.

Not sure what to take from this other than see a good doctor and get an MRI so you know what you are dealing with and what the ramifications are. I was already starting to scheme and plan how to deal with the surgical requirement (and had incidentally found some promising alternatives online) when it turned out that I was actually out of the woods. Certainly it's best to deal with this stuff before it gets worse.
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Old August 31st, 2009, 10:53 PM   #6
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Ethan,

You could always contact other cool videographers in your area to see if they would help :) I was thinking about the same thing last week. My knees aren't in the best shape either and I wondered what would happen if I had to take time off. Let me know if we can help in any way.
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Old August 31st, 2009, 11:13 PM   #7
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Certainly it's best to deal with this stuff before it gets worse.
When Papert speaks, dudes named Ethan listen.

Quote:
My solution was to have an assistant do all the shooting, but I was there on site to "supervise." My clients were totally comfortable with that, I told them up front what was going to happen.
I really like that idea. It would also give me grumpy old man practice as I could just sit around and complain while whacking people with a cane. Good times all around.

Quote:
You could always contact other cool videographers in your area to see if they would help :) I was thinking about the same thing last week. My knees aren't in the best shape either and I wondered what would happen if I had to take time off. Let me know if we can help in any way.
Thanks Chad, when I finally get over my fear/distrust of medical professionals and get this thing looked at I'll give you a call.

Same offer here buddy, get a knee or two scoped and give me a call.
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Old August 31st, 2009, 11:22 PM   #8
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About once or twice a year I manage to hurt my back and basically can't stand up straight for a couple days. It's never happened before a wedding, but it's something I think about too. My only assistant is my wife. It's definitely something to think about... I Don't have any help to offer, just want to ad fear as well :D
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Old September 1st, 2009, 03:40 AM   #9
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Wow... too many videographers with bone problems! :) I am not really laughing though, since I have the same problems (lower back which many years ago gave me a month sitting on a bed, thank God I wasn't a videographer back then). The problem can come and go at any moment and I am also thinking about it. But anyway, some of my advice for such problems are

-Getting a fellow videographer that can cover the event decently. It may not do the same work, but if I had to choose between no coverage and the average coverage, I'd go for the second and I'd do a discount to the couple.

-I may sound heretic here, but I'd do some alternative therapy like accupuncture. Actually I did it. When the doctors told me "do the surgery or you will go crippled in a couple of months" (yes, I was that bad), I went to the alternative methods. So, my back was -almost- completely healed. I am sorry if I sound bizarre, but there are really results from such therapies. Surgery is not the best thing when you have your business needing you.
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Old September 1st, 2009, 04:36 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Ethan Cooper View Post
Around this time last year I hurt my knee while playing with the dog, so not only am I over 30
Over 30, You are an old man :):)
This year I injured my knee playing soccer and I had to have a major operation (ACL), I had the operation in March and I did a wedding in May and used the Glidecam. I am 50 years old :).
It is not as bad as you think, just do it and move on , don't let it hold you down, Good luck.
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Old September 1st, 2009, 05:26 AM   #11
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Dimitris -
Nothing heretical about "alternative medicine" - I had a doctor tell me I'd be dead in the AM if I left the hospital and went home - I was fine the next day... they never were able to figure out the problem! It was a bad spinal dislocation from what I can figure, kids jumping on "horsey" the wrong way, and after getting adjusted (just a couple hours prior to going to the ER when I still couldn't breathe), it took a few days to return to "normal". That adjustment ultimately did the trick, the fancy hospital was next to clueless, though they did administer some cool painkillers... and the rumours of my demise were greatly exagerrated...

I did learn to pay attention to pain a little sooner and seek treatment - could have saved a bundle on ER charges if I'd gone to the Chiro a day or two earlier, before I started to have trouble breatihing...

I've also found that for whatever reason taking CoQ10 seems to have almost eliminated my back pain and general stiffness... cheap relief, and I didn't start taking it for that, just noticed the correlation between symptoms and whether I took it or not, now I just take it!
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Old September 1st, 2009, 05:33 AM   #12
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My best wishes, Ethan. Fitness is an issue for all those who do video, more than most people realise.

Lets face it, in most jobs you can get up and go to work even if you are feeling rather less than 100%. At a wedding, the demands of the various roles vary. Musicians have an easier time - the organist at the wedding can just sit there on autopilot and perform fine even with minor injuries and/or blinding hangover and the range of disasters that can befall the organist is fairly limited. Even if you leave all your music in the bus, you'll have played it all umpteen times before and can busk it. Power failure? Not my problem pal - find a piano, bring it through and I'll play that for you instead. Auntie Jean's warbley Bright Seraphim way off key? Nowt to do with me, mate.

The minister or priest's job is more like that of an actor and he is usually not even required to do his script from memory. OK, he has to keep an eye out for signs of fainting grooms and probably has mild anxiety at the bit where anyone who has just cause is invited to ruin the day or forever hold their peace, but basically it's a breeze.

The cameraman however, requires to be more like a dancer who has to set up their own stage for a performance and strike it immediately afterwards. He/she needs to be physically fit and mentally alert for an extended period of time. The stress on the cameraman is likely to be greater than on any of the other professional participants. No gammy legs here folks and you don't need me to list the things that can go wrong. And that's just the ceremony.

Why do we do it? List your answers here....

BTW I've just had a hernia repair op and I can't even hold up my XH-A1.
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Old September 1st, 2009, 07:06 AM   #13
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OK here's the old man who has had 6 knee operations, 4 on 1 and 2 on the other, recently had a back problem AND is losing his hair!

5 of the knee ops were for torn meniscus1 was for removal of "foreign material". The 5 were over a long period of time probably 20 years and in the "old days" they didn't do the orthoscopic with just the little pokes-they pretty much opened you up although the last 3 were ortho. During the time before the cut ups I made some arrangements with others I knew to cover me during my recovery time. These were people I knew and trusted implicitly. I also explained to my clients and they understood.
When I suffered extreme back and leg pain earlier this year, Iimmediately went to the doctor, ran some tests, found nothing, took some meds he gave me, wore a brace on my knee which gave me some relief, and moved on. After about 3 or 4 weeks the pain went away and I feel fine. I have ZERO idea what I did to cause the issue. It crept up on me but I had my phone book out with all the people I know and trust just in case.
As for the hair issue, I don't think there's anything I can do about it and frankly, at this point, I don't care.
Anyway make good friends with others in the biz and see your doctor.

I'll send you the bill in the morning! ;-)
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Old September 1st, 2009, 10:42 AM   #14
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I was thinking that it should be fairly straight forward to mount a tripod head to a wheel-chair.

Andrew

PS. All the best!
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Old September 1st, 2009, 02:35 PM   #15
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Ethan,

You could always contact other cool videographers in your area to see if they would help :) I was thinking about the same thing last week. My knees aren't in the best shape either and I wondered what would happen if I had to take time off. Let me know if we can help in any way.
I must be lucky to have 2 other videographer friends who freelance for me and me for them when something comes up, double booking or whatever.

In hindsight it was somewhat coincidence I met them, but it has worked out very well.

You need to meet some fellow videographers not just to cover for you, but as part of building a teaming/networking alliance.

PS: We all better get our H1N1 and standard flu shots this year.
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