11.13.2006 12:00 AM
Basic Back Care Methods for Shooters
One of the most important pieces of equipment every videographer uses is their back. It makes little difference if you travel with 18 cases and shoulder a 25 pound XDCAM or stuff only your pockets with tapes and shoot MiniDV, if your back starts to complain, the shoot could go down the drain.
Back care basics include always lifting with your knees, squat before grabbing something heavy, and never bend at the waist before hoisting a load. You'll protect your spine if you always split your load evenly; if the camera is on your right shoulder, the tripod or accessory bag should be on the left shoulder. Never carry something in one hand if the opposite shoulder is already in use or vice versa--use either both hands or both shoulders.
Better still; carry your accessories in a backpack or one of those around-the-waist belt kits. Both methods let you move quickly without scrunching up your shoulders to keep straps from slipping off plus, letting your hips carry some of the load is another great way to lessen the strain on your back. Watch your posture when shooting. Keep your weight evenly spread over both feet and don't drag your anchor; tuck your pelvis in and up when shouldering a camera.
And finally, remember that back care is a 24/7 job. If you're overweight, unfit or slouch in your chair, you're only setting yourself up for a back attack.