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Seat Belt Harness?


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#1 Colin Donahue

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Posted 11 August 2009 - 12:47 PM

I will be shooting in Las Vegas this weekend. One of the shots is of the host driving down the stip in an Aston Martin. We do not have a camera car. I will be shooting an F900 hand held from a convertible mustang tracking along side. I have been informed that I may need to get a harness to attach to the seat belt to be legal. Does anyone know what kind of harness to use, and would it be legal?

Colin Donahue
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#2 Jess Haas SOC

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Posted 11 August 2009 - 01:47 PM

How and where in the car are you going to be sitting? If you are in a seat with a seatbelt on I don't see what problem there could be about legality but that could of course be very limiting as far as the shots you can get go. A positioning belt(http://www.grainger....ger/items/3AZ86) is what I usually use for such things. Not sure about Nevada but in most states only the people in the front seat of a car are required to wear a seatbelt. Of course if you are sitting on the trunk or standing up in the car or something it really comes down to what you can convince the cop is safe for you and everyone else. When doing driving shots it is often helpful to have a police escort because then almost anything you do becomes "legal" and if some gawker happens to run into you there is a cop there who saw it and is on your side(I have had this happen).

~Jess
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#3 Colin Donahue

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Posted 11 August 2009 - 03:05 PM

Jess,
Thanks for the reply. I imagine I will be in the front seat or back behind the passenger shooting out the side paralell to the Aston Martin. I have found shooting from these types of cars (Mustangs) very difficult because the front seat is low in the car and it is hard to twist sideways and be up high enough to get the tracking shot. The back seat is higher, and easier to shoot from the knees. From there I can do tracking and other angles and keep my car out of the shot. Usually I just wear the seat belt as loose as possible.

The Grainger belt looks like it would work. Any idea if I can rent one of these?

Funny thing about the cops. I shot the TV show COPS years ago in Vegas and was considering looking up some old buddies or at least name dropping a few if I got in trouble.

Colin
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#4 Jess Haas SOC

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Posted 11 August 2009 - 05:40 PM

I am sure you can find one to rent, but they are a good piece of kit to have and not that expensive. You can also use a climbing harness if you can find someone to borrow one from they just aren't quite as comfortable. You will also need some way to clip yourself in. Most people use climbers daisy chains(http://www.rei.com/product/782801) and carabiners or something similar. Places like grainger sell things like them made for fall protection but I don't personally like them because they are usually bulky or have have some failure mode that will leave them just long enough for you to be draged.

Daisy chains are also great for securing the camera, just wrap it around the handle and clip it to something.

~Jess
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#5 William Coss

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Posted 11 August 2009 - 08:48 PM

BTW~
It is the responsibility of production to supply you with all necessary safety equipment.

Bill
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#6 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 11 August 2009 - 11:57 PM

BTW~
It is the responsibility of production to supply you with all necessary safety equipment.

Bill



BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA


You want to make sure you're safe? Do it yourself
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#7 Jess Haas SOC

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 03:28 PM

While it should be the responsibility of the production you never really know what you are going to end up with when someone else is supplying it. The problems could range from an uncomfortable harness to someone thinking all they really need to do is bring some cheap rope to tie you in with. That is if they bring anything at all. Then there are all the times that I have seen people "safetied" to vehicles with enough slack that if they fall they will be dragged behind the vehicle. If I relied on production and didn't bring my own safety gear there would have been multiple times when I would have had to chose between refusing to do a shot or doing it in a way I was not comfortable with. While refusing to do the shot would have been the correct thing to do (if I didn't have my own safety gear) I don't think it would have helped me get hired again in the future.

Do as you wish. After all it is your life.

~Jess
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#8 Ken Nguyen

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 05:40 PM

Simple solution.
I just use my pant belt as a harness.
A cord is tied one end to the belt and the other end to the receptacle seat belt.
I use figure 8 slip knot for safety and ease of tying and untying.
Most of the time I use the system as an anchor by pulling myself away from it to keep my hand-held steady.

About the safety issue, I rely almost 100% on my harnesses.
Most production won't provide you (or not provide) the right harness unless it is a popular or specialty use.
I use to test the production's harness days before the shoot to make sure it fitted.
Always asking for it and/or involving into the renting/buying/building process.
Don't assume, it is a big budget high profile production - it has everything.
Be prepare and be prepare!
It's a money shot; you refuse to do it; the whole crew will blame of their lost on you.
Most likely, the director will say: "Hey! we discussed the shot before... you knew it"
You won't be hired again from that production, that director, and that DP.
So again, be prepared!
Ken.
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#9 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 06:21 PM

Simple solution.
I just use my pant belt as a harness.
A cord is tied one end to the belt and the other end to the receptacle seat belt.
I use figure 8 slip knot for safety and ease of tying and untying.
Most of the time I use the system as an anchor by pulling myself away from it to keep my hand-held steady.



That is quite honestly some of the worst advice that you could give someone.

Your pants belt is not a safety harness

It was never ENGINEERED to be a safety harness, it's a decorative support to keep your pants from falling off, nothing more.

Get a real harness.
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#10 Ken Nguyen

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 09:26 PM

Simple solution.
I just use my pant belt as a harness.
A cord is tied one end to the belt and the other end to the receptacle seat belt.
I use figure 8 slip knot for safety and ease of tying and untying.
Most of the time I use the system as an anchor by pulling myself away from it to keep my hand-held steady.



That is quite honestly some of the worst advice that you could give someone.

Your pants belt is not a safety harness

It was never ENGINEERED to be a safety harness, it's a decorative support to keep your pants from falling off, nothing more.

Get a real harness.


Eric,
You may misunderstood me somehow!
May be my technique is too unconventional, non-Hollywood styled.
And, it's not in the union safety book.
Should I know what I am doing!
Yes, I've been in this business for more than 20 years.
I shoot from high cliff, high rise building window, edge, top of the palm tree, under the water, helicopter, boat in high sea, in real battle field between life and death... (you name it)
Till now, I have no bruise, no scar, no permanent shooting memory on my body but joy and love.
The tip I described previously was the one I used everyday on a Humvee driving at top speed, bouncing up and down on Kuwait desert during the Gulf War - Operation Desert Storm.

To clarify my tip:
A leather belt worn with a decent working pant or jean is strong enough to hold a 300 lbs person up into the air by lifting just from the belt.
For car use, a force that rips the pant off or snaps the belt and the climbing rope in half must be very strong. In this case, no other harness, I mean NO OTHER HARNESS is powerful enough to save you from being killed.

For comparison:
The plastic buckle in your steadicam vest is weaker than the buckle on your belt.
The velcro on your vest is nothing compare to the buckle of the belt.
The car seat belt is weaker than the leather belt.
For the strength of the rope go to this link: http://www.caves.org...0/knotrope.html

It's nice to have the harness.
But, what if the shot is called and you are not prepared nor informed of it?
You don't have a harness at hand. What should you do?
Say NO and go home happy? (knowing that there will be one less production to deal with????)
Or, build yourself a working harness using your own idea or what you learn from other?

Open your mind, learn and test suggestions of other.
Show your proof, if it failed from your test.

I'm open to debate.

If you want to jump on a moving band wagon, make sure you know where you are going to land.
Climbing is my hobby. I won't climb, if I don't understand the rope and the safety harness.
Ken, the jungle survival styled cameraman, Nguyen.
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#11 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 09:34 PM

Simple solution.
I just use my pant belt as a harness.
A cord is tied one end to the belt and the other end to the receptacle seat belt.
I use figure 8 slip knot for safety and ease of tying and untying.
Most of the time I use the system as an anchor by pulling myself away from it to keep my hand-held steady.



That is quite honestly some of the worst advice that you could give someone.

Your pants belt is not a safety harness

It was never ENGINEERED to be a safety harness, it's a decorative support to keep your pants from falling off, nothing more.

Get a real harness.

Yes, I've been in this business for more than 20 years.

To clarify my tip:
A leather belt worn with a decent working pant or jean is strong enough to hold a 300 lbs person up into the air by lifting just from the belt.
For car use, a force that rips the pant off or snaps the belt and the climbing rope in half must be very strong. In this case, no other harness, I mean NO OTHER HARNESS is powerful enough to save you from being killed.

For comparison:
The plastic buckle in your steadicam vest is weaker than the buckle on your belt.
The velcro on your vest is nothing compare to the buckle of the belt.
The car seat belt is weaker than the leather belt.
For the strength of the rope go to this link: http://www.caves.org...0/knotrope.html

It's nice to have the harness.
But, what if the shot is called and you are not prepared nor informed of it?
You don't have a harness at hand. What should you do?
Say NO and go home happy? (knowing that there will be one less production to deal with????)
Or, build yourself a working harness using your own idea or what you learn from other?



Ken

I've been making a living at this for 25+ years.

A leather belt is NOT stronger than a seat belt, I have raced professionally for longer than I've been in this biz and I've NEVER seen a harness made of leather, they are made of nylon webbing just like a normal seat belt.

As for not being informed that I'm going to need a harness. Guess what, as a Professional Operator I have in my steadicam kit all of my harness, all of my blocking and all of my tie in gear, I don't need to say no, I don't need to run home, I just go to my cart or the camera truck and get the CORRECT tools for the job.

It's called being a Pro
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#12 Jens Piotrowski SOC

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Posted 13 August 2009 - 12:14 AM

here's a simple question:

Is it cal-OSHA approved? I will use it, otherwise I won't. My life depends on it, period.

It's just another movie.....

Ken, what you do on your own, private time is your personal choice....
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#13 Bryan Fowler

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Posted 13 August 2009 - 07:42 AM

There's no way I'm using a belt loop and leather belt to prevent a fall.

The belt and belt loop company do not have QA, and rigorous testing, for static and dynamic falls that a harness manufacturer does.

The absence of incident alone does not equal safety, no matter how long it's been done, or who it's done with.

When a production wants me to do something that is unsafe, my decision to proceed or refuse is not be based on if I want to work for them again, it's do I want to WORK again. And if I need a harness and helmet to be safe, I walk over and pick them up from my bag.

A leather belt is NOT stronger than webbing. Let me say it another way. Webbing designed for safety has more tensile strength than leather.

My vest has nothing to do with keeping me safe. It is not used as a point of contact.

Keeping safe is not my hobby, it's my job.
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#14 Lukas Franz

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Posted 14 August 2009 - 05:41 PM

I always have some ratchet tie downs in my equipment to secure anything and to get myself a safer feeling while working in any situation.
For any vehicle and aircraft shot I use climbing harnesses which most of time ARE provided by the production IF you tell them you need them.

Colin, the Mustang is not really an ideal car to do camera shots out of it, especially with a F900. Good luck!
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#15 Colin Donahue

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Posted 15 August 2009 - 01:13 AM

I always have some ratchet tie downs in my equipment to secure anything and to get myself a safer feeling while working in any situation.
For any vehicle and aircraft shot I use climbing harnesses which most of time ARE provided by the production IF you tell them you need them.

Colin, the Mustang is not really an ideal car to do camera shots out of it, especially with a F900. Good luck!


Thanks for all the responses. I ended up getting a full body harness made by North. They sell them for $90 at United Rentals.
The shoot was this morning and all went well. I was glad I got the harness myself and was able to get something that I thought was safe and would allow me to do the job. We drove right past a cop on the Strip and he didn't even look twice at us.


Colin
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