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Old March 11th, 2010, 05:04 AM   #1
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I am exhausted after 5 minutes of use....

i am a new user of the x10 with hd4000 and sony Ex1r.
I have a lot of weight in the sled, but i dont think that this is the problem.
I am not in perfect fit( a little overweight). Is there any exercises that i have to do?
I feel all the weight in my back and after 5 minutes of use, i am exhausted and my back is killing me and of course i am not able to use it any more.

Looking forward to your help.
Giannis Pass is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 11th, 2010, 06:23 AM   #2
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Sounds rather like you haven't the technique totally sussed and you're muscling the rig rather than using a correct technique. You don't want the rig too far out, otherwise you're using up your lower back muscle's clock time. Also, you should be able to adjust the arm/vest mount screws so that you can walk with the sled floating (hands off) in front of you. When this is adjusted correctly it really sorts using your back on the Steadicam.

Any lower back exercises are good.
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Old March 11th, 2010, 08:20 AM   #3
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don't give up that fast,
like any physical activity, and flying steadicam not the easiest one, you have to start gradually;
if you never exercise and one day will do a hundred sit-ups you won’t be able to walk normally next day; steadicam mostly affects your lower back muscles and you have to let them get used to do the work. If you will start to wear the rig for at least 5-10 min, but every/other day soon you'll be able to fly hours.
Weight on the rig is also does matter, when i added to my pilot six extra weights ( for better stability, next day my back was in pain again, even though I practice every day,
but maybe it is not just your thing, all my friends who shoots the video tried to wear my rig, and all of them say :"I'll never put that thing on again" :)
I love this place!
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Old March 11th, 2010, 09:42 PM   #4
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Hi Giannis

I don't fly a Tiffen rig but a highly modded Flycam ..the principals are still the same though!!

Mine killed me also in 5 minutes when I first used it .. the first issue was my sled clocked in a 30lbs!!! It's now 17lbs and makes a huge difference!! I can use it for an hour (even in our high Summer temperatures!!!)

Make sure that your vest straps are really tight so the vest acts as a "second skin" ..if the vest can slop around then you will definately have a back issue!!! As already mentioned, if you stand still and your rig is setup correctly you should have the sled floating maybe a foot from your body..obviously, is you are expending energy trying to pull the sled left or right or in and out and have to hold it there it's going to wear you out!! Make sure also that the arm is setup correctly so you have boom up and boom down movement with virtually no effort..if you have to physically lift the heavy sled to boom up then you are probably also not only lifting the sled but the arm too...set it up correctly.

BTW: When you stop filming, pull the sled against your body and it's a great "rest" position.
Dunno if you have it but get the EFP training video from Tiffen..well worth the cost!!!

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Old March 11th, 2010, 09:47 PM   #5
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Sorry to disagree, but you should NOT feel lower back pain with a properly adjusted rig and proper technique, even as a beginner.

If you are feeling sharp pains in your lower back, your rig is not adjusted properly or you are not using good technique, or both. Period.

Particularly with a rig as light as a Pilot.

A properly adjusted rig will put the weight primarily to your waist and leg muscles, and of course distributed through the vest. While a heavier rig will require a reasonable level of overall fitness and stamina, and you may feel fatigue and soreness in your MID-back, pain (especially sharp pain) in your lower back is a sure sign of something wrong.

Best and most complete advice is available through the Steadicam Operator's Handbook and the Steadicam EFP training tape. But briefly, your vest should be snug (no shifting) but your lungs should not be constricted. The length of the vest should place the waist pads over the top of your hip bones (not too low or you can pinch nerves in your legs, nor too high where it constricts your abdomen rather than being stabilized by your hip bone). The arm should be adjusted (I don't know if Glidecam has these adjustments) for proper side-to-side and in-and-out. You should be able to stand straight and relaxed, and leaning only slightly back, in order to keep the sled floating in front of you with no hands.

As for exercises, I can say that I have personally benefitted from a regular workout tape, that emphasizes balance and movement. Other operators swear by yoga, still others emphasize core work. In my opinion, the common denominator is balance and overall fitness.
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Old March 11th, 2010, 11:00 PM   #6
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I would recommend swimming. It exercises a wide range of muscles, and it's low impact on the joints. All the while, you are moving fluidly through space. :)

That said, it's not a bad idea to go to a (good) chiropractor and have them analyze your posture and recommend exercises to improve it. Personally, I tend to push my head forward. Improving that has helped me reduce back pain immensely.

Back pain could be due to the rig setup, your body, or both.
Jon Fairhurst
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Old March 12th, 2010, 07:09 AM   #7
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"I would recommend swimming. It exercises a wide range of muscles, and it's low impact on the joints."

Does that mean he will have to get a waterproof housing for his camera ! :)

Gianni, if you have the X-10, there are adjustment screws on the right hand side of the vest.

With the sled off, adjust the fore and aft position of the arms, which should then hang infront of you without any movement forward or sideways. When you then put your sled on, providing it's balanced properly to start with, you should be able leave go and the sled remains balanced so you don't have to compensate.

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Old March 12th, 2010, 08:56 AM   #8
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Previous thread discussing this: I seem to remember Mr. Papert detailing his gym regimen to someone at one point as well - further searching may uncover that tidbit... it was enlightening to me.

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Old March 12th, 2010, 09:01 AM   #9
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Correct idea Peter, but the torque of the rig on the arm will generally require one to backload the balance of the arm to compensate. I would adjust the trim of the arm so that it tends to fall back and towards the socket slightly, then when the load is applied it will more likely settle to level. The easiest trick to judge if the arm is trimmed (other than how the rig behaves) is to watch the armpost; when all is properly set, the post should be dead vertical. So when backloading, it will lean slightly towards the arm socket on the vest.

What's tricky about adjusting arm trim when one is a novice operator is that one's body posture affects these parameters as well. The usual technique is to walk in place for 5 seconds or so and then stop in a neutral position and then judge the float of the rig. The posture should be reasonably "normal", perhaps leaning away from the rig very slightly. When dialing in the trim, you don't have to worry about getting it 100% perfect as your hips will provide the final adjustment. After flying for a while you can sense if the rig is trying to slide one way or the other, and make some more adjustments. Sometimes it's good to go too far the other way just to see what it feels like to have the rig coming at you and you having to push it away, this helps you find the happy medium.
Charles Papert
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Old March 12th, 2010, 11:19 AM   #10
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Giannis Pass.
I'm reading this with interest as I'm new to the Pilot and having issues with my back, which isn't the strongest either.

I am gradually working up to longer periods after practicing a little bit 3 out of every 4 days for about 3 weeks now.

As I get better with the balance it seems to be less fatiguing. I'll try back loading a bit.

Glad to see this post. Good luck to working out your issues.
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Old March 12th, 2010, 12:55 PM   #11
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One thing I would check is the alignment of the vest. I was getting aches (not pain) in my lower back muscles even when using the EX3 on the X-22. Until I looked down after a few days and discovered that what i thought was a properly centred vest, wasn't! I corrected it so the chest plate absolutely was on the centre, as well as double checking the positioning and tightness of the other adjustments, and now I can fly for extended periods with no problems.

Mind you, doesn't stop the quality of my flying from being horrible! ;-)
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