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Ever see this happen...?


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#1 Alan Lifton

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 04:53 PM

I'm wondering if any of you have ever seen this happen before or had it happen to you. Backstory is, I'm teaching a Steadicam class and groups of students (university students...) are practicing a variety of shots. This one guy is getting ready to follow an actor up a spiral staircase in a large foyer. Three people spotting him. He begins the move following the actor, and then mis-steps on the first step. At the precise moment that his foot slips hard off the step, he booms up to keep the actor in frame. This perfect storm of timing leads instantly to the rig flying off the arm and the arm slamming up and backward! Missed the spotter on the right shoulder by millimeters. This guy is probably still shaking. The operator had a pretty good grip on the handle, and another spotter was quick enough to also grab the rig, so no damage to anyone or anything. I've been operating and teaching for a while now, and have never seen this happen. Has anyone on the forum seen this? Please share...
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#2 Sean Jensen

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 05:14 PM

Hi Alan

When I did my Steadicam course in L.A. back in the day, we were learning how to run and also how to spot. Everyone in the class would take a turn with the rig while another student spotted. When it was my turn to spot, a similar thing happened. The op took about five steps and basically tripped over his own feet. Down he started to go and I started hauling back on his vest. The bottom of the sled hit his knee, the gimbal popped off the arm post and the sled went flying. He went down on one knee and was alright. The sled (an EFP with an old defunct video camera on it) came crashing down hard but was essentially fine. The instructors, Jerry Hill and Travis Clark, had never seen this before. I haven't seen or heard of this again until now. Perfect storm, I guess.

Cheers!

Sean Jensen
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#3 PeterAbraham

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 05:56 PM

Famous story of the Op on "Far And Away" doing vehicle mount shot of the huge land rush sequence. ATV mounted rig. It hit a depression in the ground while moving at a high rate of speed and the arm bounded upwards, coming to top of boom and locking.

The sled went flying. Wrecked the sled, wrecked the 65mm Panavision body and lens and mag.

I fell a few times while operating. The former MSNBC studios in Secaucus, NJ were a patchwork of aluminum diamondplate walls, stairs and platforms. All of the platforms had overhang tops to them. That is, the sides were recessed about a foot in from the platform surface, leaving a 1/4" sharp edge of diamondplate.

Tracking behind a very young Brian Williams, I quickly stepped upwards onto a platform behind him. Having misjudged the height of said platform, my shin slammed into the edge of the metal. ( Yes. Wince. The blood was copious, the pain memorable ).

Falling over onto the 12-14" high platform, I fell over. The sled feet ( MS Elite ) hit the platform and due to the upwards pressure on the sled and the angle of my fall, the sled came off of the arm and fell.

It happens. Just not often.

Might I add, in the heat of battle at the end of a long walk, there's a neat trick for removing the sled from the arm without a stand being nearby ( Said stand being back "at 1" ). Instead of having a grip or a.c. pull up while you bow down, just lift a knee, rest the sled on your thigh and lean into it just slightly. Do so WHILE the a.c. or grip is holding the centerpost.

The gimbal/ handle will disengage off of the arm post without the nice person who is willing to schlep the sled back having to pull the rig high up in the air to clear the arm boom.

Best,

Peter Abraham
Director of Technical Services, Steadicam®
The Tiffen Company
pabraham@tiffen.com
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#4 chris fawcett

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Posted 01 December 2009 - 03:03 AM

The gimbal/ handle will disengage off of the arm post without the nice person who is willing to schlep the sled back having to pull the rig high up in the air to clear the arm boom.

Great tip!
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#5 Robert Starling SOC

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Posted 01 December 2009 - 11:22 AM

The two times I've fallen (both times moving backwards with an inexperienced utility) I cushioned the camera and rig with my forehead and knee! Isn't that the proper method? :huh:
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#6 PeterAbraham

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Posted 01 December 2009 - 11:28 AM

Yes. Yes it is.

:D
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#7 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 05:18 AM

The two times I've fallen (both times moving backwards with an inexperienced utility) I cushioned the camera and rig with my forehead and knee! Isn't that the proper method? :huh:

I thought the correct way was groin and forehead, but whatever works for you....
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#8 Peter Schmehl

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 10:10 AM

Hey guys,

excellent stories... all I can contribute is that my DOP was running backwards at a gas station with me for about 300 feet and one of the gas pump terminals was torn down, cuz they were rebuilding it. So he was tripping over the left behind base terminal on the ground, he fell pretty bad an had his nice NIKON or Canon camera falling down on the lens as well. I was lucky to have missed the base terminal by about 1 foot. :)

so I guess, take care, wherever you operate. :)

Peter
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