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3 Easy Solutions for Gimbal Operators’ Back Pain

Prevent Gimbal Operators’ Back Injuries

Injuries from handling gimbals is something a lot of gimbal operators can suffer from, if not done properly. The back pain comes from the repetitive straining that causes bulging discs in your lower back, referred nerve pain, and tendinitis. These are injuries that are sustained slowly over time from repetitive strain on the human body.

Gimbal operators tend to suffer from these as they do the same movements with heavy batteries, cinema lenses and other heavy parts, over and over again. When this is their full-time job and main source of income, they do it long enough to start feeling the consequences after a couple of years or so.

If you are regularly working with gimbals and not got any gimbal supports, you should consider giving your back a break. Even if you have just started and are not feeling the symptoms yet, you should take care of your body before showing signs of injuries.

The Best Support Systems to Stop Back Pain for Gimbal Operators

So, what’s the solution? Teckers and I have done some research on the best gimbal-supporting gear that will ease your back pain or prevent it altogether. Investing in your health is one of the best long-term investments you could make.

VEGA Ready Rig

readyrig gimbal
VEGA Ready Rig

Coming in three different packages, the Ready Rig gimbal support offers an easy setup. No matter how much gear you’re wearing, you’re done in under five minutes.

Its construction is made to support your camera’s weight while giving your back the much-needed rest. You can shoot at all heights and even do those ‘above eye level’ shots without any issue.

What’s more, VEGA provides steady camera motion even while running or walking. It is made to absorb your steps and provide smooth shots with fingertip control. This gimbal support gear is compatible with almost all camera setups.

Pricing

£3,461.60 inc VAT

Specifications & Features

– Vertical Axis Stabilization
– Upgraded PolyCore Lift Technology
– Compatible with Common Handheld and Gimbal Builds
– Load Capacity Range of 1-40 lbs
– 55” Boom Range
– Adjustable Telescoping Arms 23” to 37”
– Accessory Mount Thread 1/4”-20 or 3/8”-16
– Operate Gimbal in Over or Underslung Mode
– 2 minute assembly
– Lightweight & Compact Design
– Minimum Waist Size 28”, Maximum Waist Size 44”
– Adjustable Height Settings
– Total Weight 15 lbs
– Package Weight 20 lbs
– Box Dimensions 20 x 16 x 10″

In the box

– 1x Ready Rig GS Vest with VEGA Pre-Installed
– 2x ProArm Telescopic Carbon Fiber Support Arms
– 2x ProArm Fulcrum Clamps
– 2x Pre-installed PolyCore Bands
– 2x Universal Gimbal Attachments
– 1x Ready Rig 1000D Cordura Carrying Case
– 1-Year Limited Warranty

Armorman 3.0 Gimbal Support System

armorman tilta support system
Armorman by Tilta

The Armorman by Tilta provides comfort and support to your back by transferring your camera’s weight and gear to your body’s core. This way, much of the gimbal weight is taken off your arms so that you can operate it comfortably without risking injuries or sacrificing performance.

Apart from providing balanced support to your back with your gimbal on, the Armorman has a clever design that allows you to stay near your gimbal in-between shots without having to wear it on your back at all times.

Instead, you can release the cords for each arm and rest them on the sides of the vest. When you are ready to start shooting again, re-engage the arms and re-attach the gimbal.

tilta gimbal support film
Credit – Tilta

Pricing

$2,999.00

In the box

  1. (2) Armor Man 3.0 Universal Gimbal Ring Adapters
  2. (1) Armor Man 3.0 Right Arm
  3. (1) Armor Man 3.0 Left Arm
  4. (2) Armor Man 3.0 Overhead Configuration Cable Pulleys
  5. (1) Armor Man 3.0 Overhead Configuration Attachment
  6. (1 Pair) Armor Man 3.0 Waist Support
  7. (1) Armor Man 3.0 Support Vest
  8. (1) Armor Man 3.0 Support Vest Dock
  9. (1 Pair) Armor Man 3.0 Universal Gimbal Ring Adapter Clamps
  10. (1 Pair) Armor Man 3.0 Overhead Configuration Gimbal Ring Adapter Clamp
  11. (1) Armor Man 3.0 Waterproof Safety Case
  12. (1) Armor Man 3.0 Screw Kit
  13. (2) Cloth bags (Long)
  14. (1) Cloth bag (Short)
glink gimbal support
GLINK Gimbal Support System

The GLINK is a gimbal support system that allows you to produce smooth walking and running shots. It absorbs all steps and other axial errors produced from the human body, providing a smooth shot in all environments.

There are three packages to choose from, and each one comes with the must-haves like FLOWCINE’s xSPINE vest, two telescopic mounts with retraction bracket arms, two vertical isolation arms and arm posts, two triaxial gimbals, and a carbon fiber frame which is the main mounting platform for all electronic gimbals.

The xARM technology that the GLINK stabilization arms use offers smooth and effective action, and they can help you effortlessly lift from 6 to 18.5kg or 13 to 40.5lbs.

The GLINK is made to work with the Freefly systems M10, M15, MoVI Pro, and the DJI Ronin 2. As well as with other types of electronic heads such as the Betz Wave, ARRI Trinity, MK-V Omega, or just fixed cameras in handheld mode (separate handheld unit mount).

Pricing (Medium Kit)

$11,885.00

In the box (Medium Kit)

  •  xSPINE vest
  •  GLINK arms
  •  Top part CF Frame
  •  2 x Spring core sets
  •  xSPINE case
  •  GLINK case
  •  Docking station

Additional Tips to Prevent Gimbal Back Pain

spine illustration

Lift Everything with Both Hands

This may seem basic, but it’s the most important thing for lifting anything heavy, not just on set. Use both arms to lift a camera to your shoulder or tripod. Don’t do it singlehandedly because no matter how “light” it is, it still can strain your back from repeating the movement over and over again in a single day.

By lifting with both hands, you take away a lot of strain from the joints and tendons of your wrists, arms, and shoulders. Always use both hands to grab heavy gear and bend the elbows instead of locking them in an extended position. Handling it correctly will save your tendons of the elbows from inflammation in the years to come. And remember to bend your knees when lifting gear to save your lower back.

Stretch Often

streth man

In-between sets or even during long drives to and from work, take a moment to step away and give your spine a good stretch. Simply doing a minute or two of active stretching and moving your back, neck, and arms can help you increase flexibility and blood flow all across your body.

Sitting or standing in one positing for a prolonged time will put a strain on your lower back down the road, irritating your sciatic nerves and possible disc problems. The nerves can get so inflamed so that you might even start feeling it in your feet.

Take Time Off

Waiting with the camera on your back in-between sets is the worst thing for your back. Put your gimbal down or back on the tripod while waiting for the action. In the beginning, you may not feel the effect as much, but after a few months of continuous work, the negative effects will start to show.

For instance, just like the Armorman I mentioned above, all gimbal support systems usually have some release option that allows you to stay near your gimbal when not rolling on a shot without having to wear it on your back at all times.

Take Care of Your Body

massage back pain

What you do in your free time is important. While you may be tired after shooting on a set for the entire day, think of your back and how much it would need some exercise at the end of the day. Go to a gym and train your body with weights or yoga. You don’t have to commit to strenuous cardio exercises or anything too heavy.

Stretch well and do a weightlifting session that emphasizes lifting weights for the arms and back to strengthen your body’s crucial parts that carry all that weight. This way, you give your back the support it needs through developing the muscle mass so that you can carry more without the damaging effects. Also, don’t forget to get a therapeutic massage once or twice a month to release all the tension that’s building up in your back.

Many filmmakers suffer from injuries because they are out of shape. Indeed some come from not using a gimbal support system, but having a strong body from the get-go is key to staying injury-free and building that muscle memory as you grow older.

Painless Gimbal Support Conclusion

Whether working with a handheld small mirrorless camera or operating top-of-the-range equipment, you should always have ergonomics and balance in your mind. Invest in accessories that will ease up the pain at the end of a 12-hour shooting day. Otherwise, you might be spending your hard-earned money on expensive treatments, medication, and surgeries. Taking care of your body and listening to the cues it gives you will keep you healthy and filming for decades and decades to come.

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