I recently picked up some live TV studio work, sharing a set with a pedestal and 3 remote operated cams. Its about covering 1-2 built up sets for takes of 1 hour each. Most of it is offering anything from a full shot to a bust shot from next to the other cams, and then moving in and around or showing a special part of the set when I go live.
However, I don't have too much experience yet with jobs that involve standing in one spot for a longer period of time. The problem is, after a while of standing in a spot and not moving much, I found that my legs start going numb a bit - without me noticing until I try to move actually. So I tried avoiding this by keeping up some movement all the time, and really concentrate on good posture - but at the very end of the third hour it caught me (feel free to laugh ). After a while of standing in one spot, the last planned steadicam take came up. After taking the first step my knees gaves out and I found myself falling on them without being able to stop it. I think my own cable may have been in front of me, too, but I could not lift my feet high enough to step over it.
So a few hours later, after I quit being embarassed like hell (Still embarassed, this was live... ) I started thinking about the causes and a solution for the next times - and of course your input will help.
By the way, this was using my Exovest, which apart from this issue was a life-saver. 3 hours in the rig in one morning and my upper body feels no real strain whatsoever.
But since the hip pads are actually designed to keep blood flow going, maybe I need to adjust something on the Exo, too, I'll talk to Chris about this.
One obvious thing, I think, is to just keep moving a bit all the time to stop any block of blood flow forming from the vest, but that's not easy when you're live and being used to follow the action from a fixed position every other 20 seconds and only have moving shots every few minutes. Since this also means that during the 1 hour I don't really get a chance to dock the rig and hold a frame for longer, something like a dock and roll which came to my mind is no real option either. So one thing I will do is build a kind of "quick dock" - an adapter to rest the underside of the Arm post on a small steadistand to take the weight for a bit, but where you can seamlessly lift off and start moving. Havent found something like this, let me know if it anyone knows one that is availabe somewhere.
Have some of you guys experienced something similar and what did you do about it? Your great tips are much appreciated as always
Hello, Fred I'm no expert on fitment of the vest, but maybe if you had a picture of your rig set-up we could look at ways to potentially lighten the camera package/set-up which can help a lot on this kind of thing.
This has also happened to me, mainly because my vest was a bit too long. Only thing I can think is that your vest is too long or maybe your front pads are placed wrong. Take pics of yourself in the vest with a rig on. I'm sure Chris can help.
Also, if you work with that director again, get him/her in the rig first. Maybe, they'll be more understanding and not expect you to just stand there if it's not necessary.
Your vest is definitely blocking some blood flow somewhere, definitely not a good thing. Once you adjust it properly It may alleviate the issue or at least lessen it. What Katerina suggested is actually a great idea that I try to do whenever I feel the director or producer isn't experienced with the rig. Next time you show up to that set, call the director over and get him in the rig, tell him how cool his new facebook cover picture will be . once he's in it, have your AC grab the stand and move it away while the director is playing RoboCop/Alien machine gunner around the set. ask the director to keep you in frame and keep the Cross hairs on your nose, Ask him to keep the shot steady and try to lock off the shot 20 seconds or so.., teach him to boom up as you walk closer and boom down as you walk away or he walks away in don juan to keep headroom, lots of teaching and positive re enforcement so his mind is paying attention to you and not the acid leaking from his back muscles, then when the director says, this was great, Thanks alot, you look for the stand, and ask the director to walk over to it, which is now much further away...I think a full 8-9 minutes should be enough to show them what it's like. Your days will be easier from then out. Oh and having the thinnest camera plate possible will lower the cameras weight and allow you a shorter post . If you have to make it long because your only using one battery...so be it.
Also, while your standing there, if you know when your next shot is up, rest it on your shoulder, until 15 seconds before the move, if they want to see the shot all the time, Raise your rate for the Human Tripod Factor.
Oh and Wear a pedometer, you'll love seeing how many steps you take in a day on a live show. Mine today was 16,356 in a 10 hour day, 80% with the rig.
I, too love to give the rig to people who don't appreciate what it's like, works all the time.
This however is a kind of TV show where producers, directors and video mixers (is that the right english term?), who are most responsible for telling the camera operators what to do, change all the time. Actually it's not an issue that they wouldn't care or appreciate it, they really do. But it's not even a problem for me to deliver what they want in this case - 3 hours are really not too much with 1 hour breaks between each hour. The Exovest is actually awesome enough that there's almost zero stress in my upper body after it - I'd have been pretty well beaten in my former front mount though. I just need my legs to stay with me...
I'm talking to Chris about the blood flow, he's the great expert on anatomy as far as steadicam goes, I'm sure we'll figure it out. I'll let you know how it goes. But what I will do in any case is make that little stand adapter I have in my mind and see if that makes life easier.
I suspect Chris will agree with me but i think you need to shorten your vest, I've only had this happen to me once and it was while wearing a WK Back mount that sat on my hips to low.
As for your triax camera, what kind is it?, Take the handle off, take the viewfinder off, strip everything you don't need off of it, I have even taken boards out of a camera if they were not being used, getting a lighter plate would and losing a battery or two all will help.
Lastly, steadi Ped sucks, sit it on a small table just to rest, then do your thing and go back to the small table . . . . .
I experienced a slight numbness on the top of my left thigh for a few moments on the second day I ever tried on the prototype of the Exovest. It was Day 2 of NAB 2012. I talked to Chris, who examined the front pads and exclaimed that someone else trying it out had moved the pads so far to center that they were almost touching.
He adjusted them back to the normal position and that is the last time I've ever felt that. This includes the 2012 Presidential Inaugural Parade in front of the White House, where I wore the vest and large broadcast kit with return monitor, etc for 3 hours. I had a dock to use at each end of the 150 yard walk, but for most of the parade I had to get my light, track with a band or group, finish the walk, hustle back to 1st Mark in time to pick up the next band, etc. etc.
All of the advice you're getting regarding taking small breaks is good for you for many good reasons. Blood flow, release of muscle tension/ lactic acid buildup/ drink of water/ stretch, etc. Find ways to dock the rig when you can. They're paying you to deliver great moves WHEN it is time to wear the rig. When you are on commercial breaks, dock or hand off. Get a second docking bracket ( just priceless investment ), find a place to hide it as far from the first dock as is logical.
Thanks for your assistance as one of the first ever users!
I had the front pads all the way to center against their stops. I'm kind of Skinny, so they would touch at the sides otherwise, but as instructed by Chris and you and others, I'm moving them out to the sides now and will try. I will do this without raising the vest up higher and the other way around and report back. I have a feeling itsvthe pads being to close together in front rather thsn the vest sitting too low, as its sitting at the correct height, but results will show.
My dock is actually close by all the time in this studio, but otherwise a second would be critical. I do dock as often as practicable and will try to do it more. I certainly agree with you and everybody that the kind of "steadiped" use, as ron names it, that this production asks for is not optimal. Next to trying to reduce those requests, I will also pursue the "steadiport" idea to make it easy, as first tests are promising.
Thanks for the great advice everybody, I'll report back next time I work that show, so in a week or two.