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Operating Barefoot


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#1 Jess Haas SOC

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 02:17 AM

Am I the only one crazy enough to prefer it?

I have done it often while practicing at home, and recently did it on set for the first time and I have to say that I much prefer the feedback and added stability of being shoeless. Shoes also tend to inhibit the bodies natural shock absorbing abilities leading to more stress on your body than going shoeless.

Of course like anything else you need to practice and get your body used to it and not just jump into doing a 12 hour day shoeless.

~Jess
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#2 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 02:21 AM

Am I the only one crazy enough to prefer it?

I have done it often while practicing at home, and recently did it on set for the first time and I have to say that I much prefer the feedback and added stability of being shoeless. Shoes also tend to inhibit the bodies natural shock absorbing abilities leading to more stress on your body than going shoeless.



Don't expect to get away with that on a studio lot on a union show.
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#3 Jess Haas SOC

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 02:39 AM

I know I wouldn't, and despite preferring it I have kept my shoes on for most of my gigs so far. When I actually did it on set it was with a crew that I know well on a very low budget production.

I know OSHA would not approve but under some conditions I would say that it is actually safer than wearing shoes since you are more stable, less likely trip and creating less impact on your body.

Just my thoughts, I know many will likely disagree and assume I am just a dirty hippie :-)

~Jess
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#4 Jon Beattie

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 03:24 AM

Unless your on a beach there aren't to many productions that your going to get away with going barefoot. But the next best thie might be the japanese tabi boots (ninja boots). http://asianideas.co...panesetabi.html you could probably get away with wearing them an almost anyth set and should give all the benefit of going bare with better traction.
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#5 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 03:43 AM

I know OSHA would not approve but under some conditions I would say that it is actually safer than wearing shoes since you are more stable, less likely trip and creating less impact on your body.


25 years of operating doesn't agree with you. I prefer to operate with proper footwear.

I'm curious as to what you are flying both rig wise and camera wise, that might have something to do with your thinking.
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#6 Jess Haas SOC

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 04:28 AM

I am flying a modified actioncam rig with mostly Super16 and HD cameras on it.

I know that operating barefoot is not practical in most situations, but I do see some benefits to it and plan on finding a pair of shoes that more closely resembles it.

This may sound like a stupid question but what benefits do you feel you get from wearing shoes while operating?

There have been a number of studies concerning running shoes that have shown that padding and motion control actually result in larger impact forces and increased injury rates. There is even a growing group of barefoot runners doing things like marathons without shoes that report lower injury rates. While we are not running most of the time it does seem applicable.

Since I don't feel that I am gaining anything from the padding the only benefit I can see to wearing shoes is protection. While this is very important, most of the time while operating I do not put my feet in situations where the protection is really necessary. While juicing or gripping I wear my work boots as doing otherwise would be idiotic. One could of course argue that being on set at all was dangerous enough to warrant protection, but that is really going to depend on the particular set and the terrain. Being barefoot does of course increase ones chances of certain types of injuries, but studies seem to show that it decreases impact on joints as well as the incidence of ankle, foot and knee injuries. This seems like a reasonable trade off to consider.

I know that other influences do not make it practical most of the time, but I felt like discussing the subject so here we are.

~Jess
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#7 Afton Grant

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 09:27 AM

This may sound like a stupid question but what benefits do you feel you get from wearing shoes while operating?


*Completely unnecessary disclaimer*..... I'm no scientist, or doctor, but....

I can see how studies may show surprising levels of success for those that walk, run, etc barefoot. It is how we come into this world. No other creature requires additional apparel to function.

HOWEVER

Wearing and carrying the weight of our rigs and cameras is not a natural act. It's additional strain. Every time I pick up my rig I'm sure my body is saying, "Hey. I didn't exactly sign up for this." While moving normally, you can accelerate, decelerate and change direction quickly and your body is prepared for it. Add 50% more weight to the equation and your parts might not be prepared for what's to come. So in putting additional strain on the body, it makes sense to give it additional support. There are also issues such as traction and protection, but support is definitely paramount.
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#8 Mike McGowan SOC

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 11:11 AM

In most cases I wear a good pair of basket ball shoes, a good quality insole (like super feet or spenco) and a good sock (like thorlo).

I use a full weight rig, PRO, Preston, Canotrans, 35mm or Heavy HD camera.

I do however go bear foot on the beach and when working on boats. I find no shoes more comfortable on the sand and a necessity on high end yachts. That being said, on a 14+ hour beach day I find I end up putting my shoes on for a few hours just to mix it up a bit for my feet.

In terms of science, I used to run cross country and I would almost always take my shoes off for the beach leggs of the run as it made my time faster if more than a mile was on sand.

Even 100+million dollar union features will make an exception for specific cases but for the most part, you must wear shoes on a union set, it's also not very safe to go shoeless.

mm.

Or, in a case like this, first shot of the day was 2+ hours back and fourth on the band on the front of the stage, on the dolly, in low mode (and yes, we were on the beach). Perfect shot for bear feet.

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Edited by Mike McGowan SOC, 22 December 2007 - 11:17 AM.

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#9 Charles Papert

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 01:55 PM

I tried it once years ago and nearly fell over. But I'm not a shoeless sort of a guy in general.

Like most things with Steadicam, to each his own. Roberto de Angelis (very good Italian operator) has been known to work this way and does a good job.

I sort of think that it's not the nicest thing to subject people around you to your bare feet at the workplace, some have a real issue with it (along with shirtless unless perhaps shooting at the beach where you are surrounded by it--even tank tops can be questionable sometimes), but again it's a matter of choice and personal decorum. This may be the uptight Englishman in me but I know that I'm not alone. I have a DP friend who has a real hangup about feet (sort of a reverse foot fetish) and would probably not rehire someone who lounges on the dolly that way. And Eric does make a good point about safety--if something fell on your foot, there's a good chance you'd be locked out of worker's comp if they found out you weren't wearing shoes.
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#10 Jess Haas SOC

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 02:31 PM

I totally understand the argument that we are subjecting ourselves to unnatural circumstances and that additional support might be necessary. I don't necessarily disagree but think that it might not be the only option.

If part of your body is not used to the strain of steadicam then one solution is to add additional support. It does work, I am not arguing with that. The problem I see with this is the same one that running seems to have. While the additional support makes things seem comfortable, it keeps your muscles from doing their natural job and causes you to put more impact on your joints. The alternative solution would be to train your muscles so that they can function properly with the additional stress that we are putting on them. If you work up to it I don't see any reason that your body can't handle the extra load. I am also not a doctor or a scientist, but my experience seem to support this theory for MY body. This seems to be a very personal thing and I am sure would not work for everyone. I think the key is that your body needs to already be used to walking barefoot before you subject it to the additional stresses of steadicam. I live in a warm environment and have spent a lot of time around the water so barefoot is a natural thing for me.

As far as traction goes I find that I get amazing traction on most surfaces while barefoot. It also virtually eliminates the chance of doing something like rolling your ankle and allows you to feel the surface you are walking on so you can react instead of falling on surfaces where traction or tripping becomes a problem.

As far as the social stigma of being barefoot goes I live in a very laid back place so I would guess that that would mostly be a problem when working out of town and with out of town crews. I do find it kind of funny that people often consider feet to be so dirty. If I am walking barefoot my feet are MUCH cleaner than your shoes. That is unless you clean your shoes everyday and scrape off a layer of the rubber. As far as stinky feet goes if you go barefoot or wear sandals often it is not a problem because it is the dark, moist environment of shoes that allows the nasty stinky things to grow.

How much protection do you really think a pair of running shoes or crosstrainers provides and what do you expect to fall on your foot that they will save you from? They do provide a level of protection barefoot doesn't but they aren't steel toed boots....

~Jess
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#11 MIKE GERANIOS

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 02:41 PM

Happened to me before 2 years ago when I was working in a tv series.In a very hot day and my feet were into flip-flop shoes!!Suddenly director had an idea of a steadicam shot(long shot-stairs-360).After 8 takes everybody was very happy and I fly one of my greatest shots(barefoot).
Never done it again.....

MIKE
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#12 Amando Crespo

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 02:57 PM

Barefoot?... Take care with your body man. When you get older, you´ll remember this post. :(
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#13 Afton Grant

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 03:27 PM

How much protection do you really think a pair of running shoes or crosstrainers provides and what do you expect to fall on your foot that they will save you from? They do provide a level of protection barefoot doesn't but they aren't steel toed boots....


It's not always danger from above. Step on a small rock square on your bare heel or ball of your foot while walking normally, and you can quickly lift off and avoid most pain. Step on something while in the middle of the shot with 70 or more extra pounds on you and it's not going to tickle. You're either going to have to suck it up and take the pain, or make a quick adjustment that will easily ruin the shot. Footwear eliminates this possibility for most anything you'll step on while on set.

Also, so much about good operating is muscle memory. Doing the same thing with the same equipment over and over until it becomes second nature. As Charles mentioned, to each their own. If you can do it without problem, great. But you won't be able to do it for every shot, on every set, for your entire career. Exterior cold weather, union productions, unusual terrain, will all require a certain type of footwear whether by rule or by common sense. If footwear is not a part of your normal muscle memorized equipment, it's now one additional thing your mind must think about while shooting.

Barefoot?... Take care with your body man. When you get older, you´ll remember this post. :(


While this may be the case, again as Charles cited, it CAN be done with little to no long term physical problems. IMO, the bigger issue is that we're constantly working to perfect our craft: conditioning, maintaining our gear, practicing our shots to produce good results, etc. Dare I say what we really might be doing is working to eliminate possibilities of bad results. I mean, when it comes down to it, even the best of us have Lady Luck riding shotgun while shooting. Footwear simply seems to be one of the easiest steps in that equation of avoiding potential problems.
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#14 Jess Haas SOC

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 06:17 PM

It's not always danger from above. Step on a small rock square on your bare heel or ball of your foot while walking normally, and you can quickly lift off and avoid most pain. Step on something while in the middle of the shot with 70 or more extra pounds on you and it's not going to tickle. You're either going to have to suck it up and take the pain, or make a quick adjustment that will easily ruin the shot. Footwear eliminates this possibility for most anything you'll step on while on set.

This will be much less of a problem for feet that are used to walking barefoot, but you do make a good point.

Also, so much about good operating is muscle memory. Doing the same thing with the same equipment over and over until it becomes second nature. As Charles mentioned, to each their own. If you can do it without problem, great. But you won't be able to do it for every shot, on every set, for your entire career.

I don't have any intention of operating barefoot all the time. There are many situations where it is clearly not the best choice. A lot of operators have different shoes for different conditions which I think makes sense and as long as you are used to operating in the shoes you are going to use I don't think there is a problem with that. Personally I sometimes prefer barefoot. Other times I prefer my boots which are actually surprisingly light and have a surprisingly flexible sole. I would also like to find a pair of shoes that are as close to barefoot as possible while providing a small amount of added protection as well as keeping everyone else happy.

Footwear simply seems to be one of the easiest steps in that equation of avoiding potential problems.

To me in SOME conditions I see the elimination of footwear as one way of avoiding potential problems. In others conditions shoes may be a better way to avoid problems.

The shoot I did recently where I was barefoot was in a carpeted office building. Perfect conditions to go barefoot and I feel that I did benefit from doing it and that there was very little risk involved. If I was operating outside in the cold I would have been wearing shoes, no question about it.

~Jess
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#15 Stephen Press

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 06:31 PM

I have operated barefoot on the beach a few times.
Even removed my jeans once for sound to stop the swish as I walked but I wouldn?t make a habit of either. In fact I keep a pair of shorts and some beach shoes with the rig now just in case.

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Edited by Stephen Press, 22 December 2007 - 06:40 PM.

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