Jump to content



Photo

back injuries


  • Please log in to reply
17 replies to this topic

#1 surreal

surreal

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 8 posts

Posted 24 May 2005 - 12:07 PM

as my research continues, it has come to my attention, that a few people i have spoken to have all claimed back injuries, from using this device. one particular ex op, is near enough wheel chair based. these are guys are not like 5ft tall, try 6ft + and look like they can devour a horse if needs be, (not overweight) it appears that one thing guaranteed apart from being paid well for enjoying what your doing, is back injuries, not matter your experience. also one of them said it is not recommended to use the unit no more than 30 mins at a time.

does anyone here suffer from back injuries, and what are your beliefs to how long an operator should fly for or what may cause these injuries?

thanks
  • 0

#2 Bryan Fowler

Bryan Fowler

    Advanced Member

  • Sustaining Members
  • 370 posts
  • Chattanooga, TN

Posted 24 May 2005 - 01:00 PM

Hi surreal,

I've been told, and beleive that using a steadicam correctly, is an excellent way to keep your back in shape.

I too have heard of people claiming back injuries after operating for 2 or 3 years. One guy I know is trying to sell his, because he can't stay "in it" for more than 3 or 4 minutes, and complains that he can't get a steady shot because of the strain. He's has his rig for 4 years. And he's in shape...more so than I.

I'm 5'7", 140lbs, and I can stay in my rig for much longer than that. Sure, it's tiring, but not painful.

I also have met several operators that have been operating for 10, 12, 20 years, and are doing fine.

I think having a proper operating posture helps prevent the back injuries you might hear about.

just my general thoughts

If you are still concerned about it, arrange to spend a day with an operator that has gone to a workshop, or has been operating "pain free" for several years. Odds are they have, and can teach you the correct posture.
  • 0

#3 Jason Torbitt

Jason Torbitt

    Advanced Member

  • Sustaining Members
  • 401 posts
  • Manchester, London UK

Posted 24 May 2005 - 01:22 PM

One guy I know is trying to sell his, because he can't stay "in it" for more than 3 or 4 minutes, and complains that he can't get a steady shot because of the strain.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


That sounds strange, I suppose wearing a Steadicam is a different experience for different people, but if you have it set up correctly there should be no problems like that. I know an Op here in the UK who has been doing Steadicam for some 12 years now. He's working most days in a week and pulls off some of the most challenging shots on live TV I've seen. He's still going strong and doing a great job.

I can imagine when you are doing it for years on end then it would take its toll on your body eventually, but to suffer those sorts of pains sounds like the rig hasn't been set up properly, probably at the socket block. The golden rule I've always been told is "if it doesn't feel right, put it down" which makes sense!

Of course now we have these backmounted vests which are brilliant and give your back so much support. Definatly on my ever-lengthening shopping list!
  • 0

#4 Imran Naqvi

Imran Naqvi

    Advanced Member

  • Sustaining Members
  • 221 posts
  • London. UK

Posted 24 May 2005 - 01:39 PM

Hi surreal,

I've been told, and beleive that using a steadicam correctly, is an excellent way to keep your back in shape.

I too have heard of people claiming back injuries after operating for 2 or 3 years. One guy I know is trying to sell his, because he can't stay "in it" for more than 3 or 4 minutes, and complains that he can't get a steady shot because of the strain. He's has his rig for 4 years. And he's in shape...more so than I.

I'm 5'7", 140lbs, and I can stay in my rig for much longer than that. Sure, it's tiring, but not painful.

I also have met several operators that have been operating for 10, 12, 20 years, and are doing fine.

I think having a proper operating posture helps prevent the back injuries you might hear about.

just my general thoughts

If you are still concerned about it, arrange to spend a day with an operator that has gone to a workshop, or has been operating "pain free" for several years. Odds are they have, and can teach you the correct posture.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Listen to the man.

I met Bryan last week at the philly workshop, he is a long way from the stereotypical op and quite apart from being a great guy, was more than capable of flying the rig without too much discomfort.

The trick is to stop if it starts hurting too much. You won't get far by trying to mucsle your rig and ignoring pain. Conditioning takes time, and you have to be careful as you build your stamina.

However, I'm sure Bryan will agree with me here, regular flying improves your stamina. By the end if the week I was flying in the rig, trying stupid shots (full long mode tilted crazily over a bannister and even a spot of light jogging in don juan) and realising there's no way I would have tried them on the first day.

P.S. yes it's a GREAT idea to do an SOA workshop. I can't reccomend it enough!
  • 0

#5 Bryan Fowler

Bryan Fowler

    Advanced Member

  • Sustaining Members
  • 370 posts
  • Chattanooga, TN

Posted 24 May 2005 - 01:51 PM

That sounds strange, I suppose wearing a Steadicam is a different experience for different people, but if you have it set up correctly there should be no problems like that.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Yeah, that's why I was wanting to buy it from him at a low price. =) I know how he operates it, and it's not the way I would choose. I tried to help with getting it set up, but it wasnt' a big deal for him. He has other means of income, so he has happy to NOT operate because it hurt his back. Really nice guy though.

Hey Imran! (pronounced Em-Ron) =)

Thanks for the kind words! I agree with Imran too... a workshop is well worth the money. Especially if you have access to a rig. It feel that is prevented me from learning ALL kinds of bad habits.

and remember practice doesnt' make perfect...

"Perfect practice makes perfect."

Gotta run, gotta get back to editing. *grin*

--Bryan
  • 0

#6 Matt Burton

Matt Burton

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 484 posts
  • UK

Posted 24 May 2005 - 07:57 PM

I have slight curviture of the spine from birth and as a result my arse sticks out a little more than it should, and the pot belly is a little more pronouced.
Now apart from my slight afliction i find that operating seems the help my back. Due to the vest forcing me to straighten my back and assuming correct posture.
I'm no doctor but i'm sure it's doing me the world of good. However I normaly only operate my "flyer" and due to it's light weight can operate for hours on end with only resting the sled close to my body.
I see it as a gental beginig to my carear and will eventually move onto full size rigs when needs be. I could sumize by saying a full size rig would be even better for me but perhaps it's wishfull thinking, i duno but live in hope.

PS yes you could say i'm also cursed with bad spelling but i have always had bigger fish to fry.

Matt.B
  • 0

#7 Markus Rave

Markus Rave

    Advanced Member

  • Sustaining Members
  • 86 posts
  • Frankfurt, Germany

Posted 25 May 2005 - 04:53 AM

If you have back problems already you might encounter problems working as an operator. I had back problems when starting but obviously they went away. I´d stick with the opinion that a healthy trained back will not suffer through operating except:
you keep the thing on you all the time. The trick is not to. Give the rig to your assistant if the stand is not available.
To clarify this issue you have to know how cartilage in your bone joints is nutrified. There are no vessels in cartilage so the only way to nutrify it is through diffusion. This is done via compression and release. If you keep the pressure for a prolongued time you will increase the risk of damaging your cartilage. To prevent this the muscular bondage around bone joints has to be trained NOT wearing the harness. Wearing time should be kept short. I guess the most "healthy" improvement has been the back mounted harness. I haven´t tried Garrett´s new one he developed with Walter Klassen, but I am sure it is the healthier version than the Master´s vest before.
But talking about your back is not the only issue. The most unstable joint is in your knees. If you have to stand still try to move your knees whilst the shot and don´t bend them back all the time but try to keep an angle. I know this is more consuming but helps your body to stay healthy. A friend of mine already has encountered problems with his knees. This guy is 10 years younger than me and has done hours of TV shows with very long wearing times.

Markus
  • 0

#8 thomas-english

thomas-english

    Advanced Member

  • Sustaining Members
  • 1165 posts
  • UK

Posted 25 May 2005 - 05:19 AM

knees do seem to be the main "old operator" complaint.

"If you have to stand still try to move your knees whilst the shot and don´t bend them back all the time but try to keep an angle. I know this is more consuming but helps your body to stay healthy"

Sorry could you re - explain that? I think its very interesting and would like to understand it further. Do you mean gently do small 2inch squats?

When static do you feel your knees should be locked back or ever so slightly bent? I suspect I bend mine a little too much.

Gennerally weight lifting your legs will help protect your knees from injury.
  • 0

#9 RobVanGelder

RobVanGelder

    Advanced Member

  • Sustaining Members
  • 919 posts
  • Bangkok, Thailand

Posted 27 May 2005 - 01:35 AM

It sound very dramatic what you say here and personally I have not heard of many people that were severely disabled by using this tool. But I am sure that there are operators that have developed some kind of hinderence
because of it and that some people had to stop working with it..

But let´s be realistic here: there is really no job- whatever it is- without any risk for permanent injuries. This is part of our life, while we live and do something we will get hurt, specially as we do repetitive or heavy work. And then the people who are in the job the longest will show more signs of aging and wear.

We are doing everything to make it more convenient for us. We slim-
down equipment to the minimum weight, the back-mounted harness is one of
the greatest adaptations to the system and really extends the working
life of the operator by controlling the forces better and more on
the muscles and bones that can cope with them.

This technology is not at the end of its development, look at the newly
introduced arm, with capacities of the old style but half the weight.
Which we can "misuse" again to get a higher payload......

Bricklayer- officeworker- taxidriver - athlete- gardener- policeman -
etc. They all will develop their work-related problems and injuries,
mostly on their back, legs,knees,feet (and beer-belly), that doesn´t
make them much different from us! (including the beer-belly!)

At the end of the day it is just the adranaline rush and the
fullfillment that you get from performing your shots, the responsibility
that you get and feel on your shoulders and it makes the rig fly LIGHT!
Even if that means that your assistant has to help you getting into the
car at the wrap....... (which happened to me one time).

You mention something about the length of the operator. That could be of
influence, in every society or race or people, the people who do the
heaviest work are mostly the shortest! The LONG and TALL
people are often the MANAGERS who give orders to the shorties. So
you might make your own conclusions here....

Oh, and about the maximum time an operator can wear it, that is so
personal and related to the situation. How many square meters/foot can a bricklayer put down before he has to rest? The job must be done
and it is up to you to develop the best and fastest and most convenient
way. I know that the mentioned 30 minutes at a time is about my maximum,
but certainly not with a BL4 Evolution!

Just try to stay in shape with regular sports, fitness and moderate intake of food and drinks and you should be able to out-live most of those other jobs (and more) that I mentioned.

Rob van Gelder
  • 0

#10 David George Ellis

David George Ellis

    Advanced Member

  • Sustaining Members
  • 135 posts
  • Brooklyn Zoo

Posted 27 May 2005 - 07:24 AM

This may be a little encouraging. One of my favorite people in this sector, Mr. Peter Abraham, had a back injury which I don't think is a secret to you all. He used to fly the big rigs like the II and III. After some healing, he went back on the grind when Tiffen developed the Flyer. Not sure if he used anything before it, but you guys get the drift. From there, do an IMDb and you'll see his career has lifted off, and, AND he also teaches at the PA workshop and does seminars at learning facilities. All that on top of being an Emergency Medical Tehnichian (EMT).

Now granted, I don't know what the severity of his injury was, nor do I know how long he is able to fly at one time totally, but if the man can come off of an injury and do the opening and closing ceremonies for the 1996 Olympics, that says a lot about having injuries and the desire to continue doing what you love so much, that where you run into lemons, you make lemonade. Instead of flying heavy rigs, you may have the opportunity to play with the lighter stuff and still look like a champ. Unless you are wheelchair-bound, then that sucks.

Regardless, don't let back pain get you down. Know your limits and try to fly under them. If it becomes unbearable with the film rigs, don't fret, there is a HUGE DV market out there that's been blossoming since the inception of the porn video industry. There are more one and three chip cameras being produced and sold than there are 16 and 35mm cameras. And now we are getting lightweight HD with Sony, Panasonic and soon, Arriflex. So buck up fellas, there's a lotta ponds for us fish to get big in.

If you really want it, you'll do it. Event those who can't find ether huff paint or glue. Take care.

David
  • 0

#11 MarkKaravite

MarkKaravite

    Advanced Member

  • Sustaining Members
  • 332 posts
  • Detroit, Chicago, New York

Posted 27 May 2005 - 09:22 AM

I have been operating since 1986, although not full time (I DP as well), but always with heavy cameras. Early in my career, it would be a challenge to see how long I could operate for. I soon learned the value of minimizing the sled time on set. The cumulative effects over the years will have an effect on your body, both for good and bad habits.

A few tips for longevity:

1) Rest every chance you get. Even in your sled, keep it on your shoulder until it's time to go. Garrett showed us a great trick at the Workshop in Maine, when the AD asks if your ready (even when you know he's not), have your arm in your gimbal, just ready to pull the sled out of the docking bracket, but don't pull it, he'll walk away to bug somebody else. Also, have your assistant carry the sled back to 1, especially on long moves. This gives you a chance to chat with the DP about any changes on the way back, while getting a break.

2) Make friends with the AD. A good AD knows that you should be the last one to suit up and go, but some AD's need a little help in this area. Let him know at the start of the day what you require, and diplomatically point out the benefits for him in keeping you fresh.

3) Keep good posture and technique. There is a tendancy to loose technique as fatigue sets in. This is the time where your technique matters the most. Not only will you have better endourance, but your shots will benefit.

4) Consider a back mounted harness. I bought one last year. My first job was a 3 day music video, culminating in a live concert at the end of the 3rd day. I had done several concerts in my old 3A vest, and would wake up pretty stiff the next morning. With the Klassen harness, I popped out of bed the next day, and could have done another show.

5) Stay in shape. Core muscles and leg strength are the keys to being able to handle longs days in the sled. Leg strength is more crucial with a back mounted harness. Pick your poison, but I have discovered Pilates in the last 2 years, and my back has never felt better. There are many great operators of different sizes and shapes, but I guaranty the ones who last will be in shape.

Don't be discouraged by injuries, they happen. Peter Abraham is a perfect example of a guy who would let breaking his back stop his Steadicam career. I have had 2 injuries (non Steadicam related) that have each kept me out of Steadicam work for a year. Both times I have used Steadicam as a motivating factor to rehab and get my ass back into the game. You don't know how much you love it until you can't do it.

Just my $.02

Mark Karavite
  • 0

#12 AdamKeith

AdamKeith

    Advanced Member

  • Sustaining Members
  • 143 posts
  • NY/NJ

Posted 27 May 2005 - 07:23 PM

Peter's Back Injury was not Steadicam related.


Peter was one of my teachers along with Dan Kneece, Chuck and Travis Jackson. I was lucky to live by Peter and we stayed in contact and ended up working together and many shows. After his injury he has pulled focus for me.... He has fixed my rig, made me rain covers, cleaned my arm, made me custom cables and tally systems, added back straps to my vest, turned me on to new gear.......given me endless instruction and advice. I guess what I am trying to get at is that even after his injury he has stayed involved.

The added Back Straps on my Master Vest that Peter talk me into made a world of difference in my endurance and comfort.

Thanks Peter

Adam Keith
Q Video Services, Inc.
  • 0

#13 Michael Stumpf

Michael Stumpf

    Advanced Member

  • Sustaining Members
  • 491 posts
  • U.S.

Posted 27 May 2005 - 08:13 PM

A LOT of misinformation in these replies, especially from NEW operators.

Don't kid yourselves, carrying 70-80 extra pounds in the ackward manner we carry it can DEFINITELY injure or damage your back. Saying otherwise is like saying that
playing a sport, "and if done properly" you won't get hurt. That's just foolish. Some professional sports figures play their whole careers without any major injury, others make a silly little move
and receive career ending injuries even if they are in the BEST of shape.

Don't ask other operators, ask DOCTORS and Chiropractors.
Bring your rig and camera to their office and show them what we do and they'll CRINGE!! I bet you'd be hard pressed to find a medical doctor anywhere who'd say,
"hey I don't see anything wrong with what you do, do it right and you won't have any negative or adverse medical problems from it."

There is absolutely NO doubt...you can, and people DO sustain back injuries (and other bodily injuries) from operating Steadicam...regardless of how "in shape" you are.

Here's something you should read too:

http://www.soc.org/o...7_stcamfrc.html
  • 0

#14 Bryan Fowler

Bryan Fowler

    Advanced Member

  • Sustaining Members
  • 370 posts
  • Chattanooga, TN

Posted 27 May 2005 - 10:14 PM

A LOT of misinformation in these replies, especially from NEW operators.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Sorry to misinform. Just trying to pass along things that were told me when I asked the same question.

Steve, I think the answer to your question is a combination of all of the above posts.

I work with a Chiropractors wife. Once he came to the studio, looked at the rig, asked me about it... said. "that's cool" and that was it. My uncle, a Dr., saw the rig, asked about it and said basically the same thing. I wasn't seeking medical advice though... so... *shrugs*

Yep, i'm new. Hope i didn't mislead you Steve. Maybe I'll just read for the next few years. *grin*

I'm off to get some sleep.

happy flying
  • 0

#15 surreal

surreal

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 8 posts

Posted 30 May 2005 - 02:07 AM

hey you know what, thats what these forums are for, to learn, some dudes may have it spot on while others, may not haveth a clue of what is going on, like myself. at least we got there in the end.

thanks for the info guys.

bless.
  • 0




Omnishot Systems

Engineered Cinema Solutions

Varizoom Follow Focus

Betz Tools for Stabilizers

IDX

Boland Communications

Ritter Battery

PLC Electronics Solutions

Paralinx LLC

Wireless Video Systems

GPI Pro Systems

SkyDreams

Teradek

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

rebotnix Technologies

BOXX

PLC - Bartech