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Technique of operating without footsteps


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#1 Janice Arthur

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 10:13 AM

Hi all;

I thought we needed to get away from the gear since we're all numb about that and the manufacturer(s) are addressing to most people's satisfaction.

Please don't digress into who has what.

I'll start it off where Charles left it. I felt I had arrived when I could hide mine, lately though I'm sure my steps have come back on shots to my horror.

Mine is partly these; vest fits differently as I have aged and I need to really analyze that; I've lost a few inches and pounds in the last months and my posture should change too; and the quality of shot making these days (much harder); work load in a day and your ability to focus on the shots while planning four shots ahead on the long work load, no set up time days. How your feet move and how you have adjusted your body's CG to move the weight (of the rig)without notice.

Those alone should keep us all thinking for weeks.

First, not in order, loosing or gaining weight, I find I have to lean against the weight of the rig more if I'm lighter and that changes how I relate to the rig, my detail of how I start and stop is very different.

I think you also have to consider more or less muscle on a weight loss or gain. The flab will mean you're carrying more mass, good against the weight of the rig but bad for overall day's endurance. Less weight, ideally you've added muscle, means you're leaner but less mass against a heeavy weight, (even the lightweight rigs get heavy).

Thanks and maybe we can all just focus on something new and learn too. The forum needs a new focus, I'm brain-dead on the other topic.

Janice
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#2 Andrew Ansnick

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 01:20 AM

Great post Janice!

I'd like to share some golden nuggets on the subject that were passed onto me by a great operator on the subject of slow moves....

"The answer there is to learn to walk without moving your upper body up and down, side to side, or with any changes in forward speed at all. If you can move the socket block through space in a perfect dolly like smooth, straight line, the rig will also do that. You should practice making the steadicam move in that smooth fashion without touching with your hands at all. Until you can do that hands-free you will always be frustrated by slow moves. You need to learn how to walk slowly without ever committing to the next step, in other words, at any instant in the walk you should be able to stop, even reverse direction at will. This requires an entirely different walk of walking than you have ever done without training.

One method which is a dance technique is to touch down first with the toe and gently transfer weight to that foot. I sometimes use another technique which involves rolling up on the ball of the back foot, flexing my knee dramatically while moving forward to stay balanced on one foot, but you must always be able to stop your walk and reverse direction, going forward and then backward at any moment during the walk, never "falling" onto the next footstep. Most of the time you must be balancing on one foot only as you slowly swing the next foot forward for the next step, but able to stop that action at any time during that swing and weight transfer.

Basically you have to be balancing on one foot only, most of the time. Your feet must go in a straight line like a tightrope walker so the socket block doesn't shift from side to side, and never move up and down as you walk, which means slightly bended knees throughout. All this while simultaneously controlling the position of the sled with body control only, no hands. If you have never tried this it will seem impossible at first..."


I spent hours, days, and weeks perfecting this method and now my slow moves are actually usable, though far from being as dolly smooth as his. Now, back to the garage to practice with my weight cage!
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#3 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 01:42 AM

Well.....

Slow moves are a function of motion transfer from your hands and arms. If your Steadicam arm and gimbal are doing their jobs socket block displacement contributes next to nothing to slow movement stability. If your arm/gimbal fail the toe test THAT will be seen same for lack of arm disassociation. Combine those two and slow moves are impossible

Walk how you've been walking your entire life so that you dont over complicate things
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#4 Twojay Dhillon

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 08:03 PM

Well.....

Slow moves are a function of motion transfer from your hands and arms. If your Steadicam arm and gimbal are doing their jobs socket block displacement contributes next to nothing to slow movement stability. If your arm/gimbal fail the toe test THAT will be seen same for lack of arm disassociation. Combine those two and slow moves are impossible

Walk how you've been walking your entire life so that you dont over complicate things


Eric, would you please explain what the toe test is? I think some may not know what you're referring to.

Oh, and losing weight will dramatically change EVERYTHING about how you operate (save for whip-pans ;D). I actually just went through all of my arm-side socket-block adjustments and found that all settings were way off after losing 25lbs.
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#5 Brian Freesh

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 11:31 PM

I just began the process of gaining 25 lbs. I look forward to adjusting everything!
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#6 David M. Aronson

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 02:54 AM

I just began the process of gaining 25 lbs. I look forward to adjusting everything!

Is it a boy or a girl :D

Anyway, Thank you Janice for taking this away from "whose gear is better" to "how to actually improve your shots"

Some arms are better than others, but good operating and knowing how to deal with your equipment is what makes a shot good or bad.
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#7 RonBaldwin

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 03:32 AM

Eric, would you please explain what the toe test is? I think some may not know what you're referring to.


I will give Eric a chance to explain this before I tell the story of the toe and test we used
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#8 Twojay Dhillon

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 10:38 AM

Eric, would you please explain what the toe test is? I think some may not know what you're referring to.


I will give Eric a chance to explain this before I tell the story of the toe and test we used


We must record this telling on video, on location, with all parties involved.
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#9 Dean Smollar

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 07:38 PM

Twojay is absolutely right about weight loss, I can attest to it in a more extreme way. In the past 18 months I have gone from 285 lbs. to 225 lbs. I have also increased my muscle mass, and am sitting at a BMI of just over 20% (about 5% higher than healthy range, so I still have some work to do). The difference in the way I interact with the rig has drastically changed; almost the opposite of Janice, I find myself more comfortable in my natural standing and walking positions, though I still try to move with less bounce than a natural walk. My vest barely fits right now, in that it almost doesn't latch tight enough around the waist anymore, and as a result the angle of my socket block changed dramatically ( probably reason why I feel more comfortable in my rig). The only shots that tire me out are shots with long lock-offs in them; standing still bothers my back muscles and hips a lot more than moving does.

Eric, I'm also curious about the toe test. I used the search bar and couldn't find anything.
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#10 David M. Aronson

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 09:47 PM

I'd love to hear Ron's version of the toe test.
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#11 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 11:57 PM

The toe test is a simple test of the arms internal friction.

It goes like this:

Build and balance your rig for hands free flight

set the arm to fly at it's midpoint IE both bones level to the ground

Now gently and slowly without touching the sled rock up onto your toes

If the sled rises with you and the arm doesn't move it fails

if the sled stays put and the arm rises at the socket block end well congrats your arm passes


What this test's is the arms ability to isolate the sled from external influences. Arms that fail will show footsteps, arms that pass should not
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#12 Afton Grant

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 07:38 AM

Yes, that's the test in general, but we should point out the few variables in the equation. The speed of the rise and the weight of the sled being the two big ones. Even the best suspensions in the world will not isolate movement if acceleration is small enough relative to the mass it is supporting.

If you got all arms together and subjected them to the exact same tests and exact same variables, you'd see a pretty good demonstration of differences in performance. However, it's unfortunately not as simple as... if your arm does or doesn't do X, it fails.
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#13 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 08:30 AM

Yes, that's the test in general, but we should point out the few variables in the equation. The speed of the rise and the weight of the sled being the two big ones. Even the best suspensions in the world will not isolate movement if acceleration is small enough relative to the mass it is supporting.

If you got all arms together and subjected them to the exact same tests and exact same variables, you'd see a pretty good demonstration of differences in performance. However, it's unfortunately not as simple as... if your arm does or doesn't do X, it fails.



Even a 1" per second rate works with this test and that's about the slowest that most will go. I've played with this on one of our shock dynos....
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#14 Janice Arthur

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 08:53 AM

Dean;

You're the one or two people in the world who has lost weight and added muscle.

I would try changing the curve of your lower back just slightly and using your stomach muscles more to hold your spine straighter (I'm thinking two inches) on long lock offs. I'd also make sure you weren't slumping slightly into your rib cage. I'd also try to stand up just a little taller.

Just an idea but what we're talking about here is ideas. Its just the monitoring of all the parts in simple ways.

Janice
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#15 William Demeritt

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 12:03 PM

If you got all arms together and subjected them to the exact same tests and exact same variables, you'd see a pretty good demonstration of differences in performance. However, it's unfortunately not as simple as... if your arm does or doesn't do X, it fails.


I'm currently working on a few tests we could hold to show off each arm's performance. All manufacturers included (hopefully), all arms subjected to the same tests mechanically performed. I've got 4 tests so far I think...
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