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Suspending heavy loads in location?


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#1 Riku Naskali

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 02:36 AM

Hi,

I need to hang a man from his feet in location, any ideas how to rig? The location is a normal bedroom, so there's nothing to hang him from.

I've given it a lot of though, but everything I've come up with seems risky. I can't do anything destructive to the location so I can't even drill anything. And the solution must be low budget. He's not hanging that high, maybe a couple of feet from the floor.
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#2 Tshaka

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 08:17 AM

Hi,

I need to hang a man from his feet in location, any ideas how to rig? The location is a normal bedroom, so there's nothing to hang him from.

I've given it a lot of though, but everything I've come up with seems risky. I can't do anything destructive to the location so I can't even drill anything. And the solution must be low budget. He's not hanging that high, maybe a couple of feet from the floor.



Hello Riku Naskali.

First thing you should know is that flying people is a separate discipline entirely. We leave that up to Stunt Riggers. They know that stuff inside out. Second thing to also be mindful of is that there is without question ABSOLUTELY NO "LOW BUDGET SOLUTION" WHEN IT COMES TO RIGGING HUMAN BEINGS. Instead you make up a budget to do it the right way the first time everytime. Leave it to the competent professionals. When researching costs be sure to weed out the charlatans and the crooks.

That said, with situations like yours Grips have erected temporary structures for Stunt Riggers to work with. Keep in mind that Grips are service providers more so in some cases than others. Any plan devised by the grip in a situation like yours must be approved by the Stunt Rigger. On some shows it's a collaboration between Grip and Stunt Departments. On a show like Fear Factor all of the Challenges that require Rigging are setup by Stunt Riggers.

In your situation I would consider using a Truss goal post. Not knowing the details of what it is you're attempting I'm going to stop there.

If you haven't done this before and you are not qualified to do this then get a competent professional. You will benefit tremendously from it. Don't take unnecessary risks.

I hope this was helpful.

Tshaka

Edited by Tshaka, 15 November 2006 - 08:21 AM.

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#3 Hal Smith

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Posted 16 November 2006 - 03:41 PM

In your situation I would consider using a Truss goal post. Not knowing the details of what it is you're attempting I'm going to stop there.
If you haven't done this before and you are not qualified to do this then get a competent professional. You will benefit tremendously from it. Don't take unnecessary risks.

Tshaka

I agree with everything you've said.

I'm familiar with the safety gear require for tower work, I actually own a complete set of OSHA approved gear. If a US OSHA approved full body harness could be worn under costume then the person's weight could actually supported by the harness. If they weren't really held up by their feet then it could be done pretty safely.

But if you wanted to suspend a person by their feet only - I'd not only want a Stunt Rigger on set but an Orthopedic Surgeon to advise how to suspend them.
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#4 Michael Collier

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Posted 16 November 2006 - 04:14 PM

I'd second hals suggestion for the harness. the rigging above that is somethign I don't want to get into, since its not my feild.

I did have a short when I was young that required a person to hang from a tree (didn't have to fall, just hang). I ended up putting a harness under the costume, rigging the rope that was suppose to end in a noose around their neck to go below and hold the harness via carabeener. Then I fassioned a noose knot over the rope that could slide easily up and down over the support rope. The effect was very safe, and earily realistic. I even used it the next halloween at a party. I suspended myself and dressed to look like a poorly made scarecrow. Then when people came close to look at me I would spring to life and scare the hell out of them. It was fun.

You can do the same thing though. Use the rope that supports their weight travel through the pantleg to a harness, and tie a knot around that rope. The key is making it look like its tensioned properly (not hard, since you can actually put rope tension on a leg, not so much with the neck) and be sure you don't see the rope continuing.
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#5 timHealy

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Posted 16 November 2006 - 04:57 PM

You don't mention how big or small your shot is.

If you need to see the actor floating/hanging in full frame then you would need stunt and rigging guys.

If perhaps you can get away with shooting his legs and feet a few feet off the ground, with just his feet and legs hanging in your shot, You may be able to use some sort of truss rig where the actor is sitting on a platform with legs dangling into the frame.

You can then shoot a reverse of the guy standing on a ladder or something looking up at him with his head close to the ceiling. (in the film Apollo 13 they did wide shots in the space capsule on the no gravity airplane. Then for some close ups they did on the stage with the actors balancing themselves on apple boxes or the like)

Or you could shoot the guy floating/hanging against blue or green screen in a safer location/stage and composite a shot together.


Best

Tim

Edited by timHealy, 16 November 2006 - 05:01 PM.

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#6 Riku Naskali

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Posted 16 November 2006 - 05:53 PM

It's just a simple shot of a man hanging from his feet and we will also see the rope in the shot he is hanging from. So he should be really hanging.

I also agree that safety is number one concern, bu I think you guys are overreacting a lot. He's gonna be like two feet from the floor...

I wish I could shoot it in a studio with good overhead rigging possibilities, but It's going to be a dolly move and there's no budget for motion control. Truss goal post sounds promising, I'll have to look into that.

Obviously there's not going to be stunt riggers unless you know somebody who will work for free...
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#7 Hal Smith

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Posted 16 November 2006 - 06:01 PM

I also agree that safety is number one concern, bu I think you guys are overreacting a lot. He's gonna be like two feet from the floor...

If the man weighs 200 pounds, something goes wrong, and he drops on his head - it will be the same Physics as dropping a hard, 200# weight on his head from two feet above. If you think that's safe, I suggest you test first by dropping a weight on your head under the exact same conditions. :(
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#8 Wilkin Chau

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Posted 16 November 2006 - 06:39 PM

If the man weighs 200 pounds, something goes wrong, and he drops on his head - it will be the same Physics as dropping a hard, 200# weight on his head from two feet above. If you think that's safe, I suggest you test first by dropping a weight on your head under the exact same conditions. :(


Exactly.

Safety is a huge concern on sets. Even the most "mundane" ones take a while to do properly.


Honestly, if I were the key grip on that shoot I'd refuse to try that (because I'd be liable if something goes bad). I can rig lights in dangerous places, but a person? That's a whole different ball of wax. That's why there are stunt riggers. Sure you can cheap out on some things when it comes to making a movie but dealing with a person's well being, you really shouldn't.
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#9 timHealy

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Posted 16 November 2006 - 11:11 PM

I don't think people are overreacting. You kind of asked people's thoughts and they are giving them. You have listed yourself as a student, so there may be issues that professional people may know of that you as student do not or may be underestimating.

Having said that, I would say you may get by on minimal prep depending on a few things. One will be the health and athletic ability of the actor you would like to hang upside down. The next will be what will support a man of average weight say somewhere between 150 and 200 pounds. You said you will not be able to tie into the building in anyway so you will have to construct something to hold that person in your shot. As mentioned, trusses would be a good way to go, but they will propable need to be 10 to 12 feet high at least. Say a six foot tall guy upside down who is two feet off the ground and you need to see at least two feet (if not more) of rope. That's at least 10 feet minimum, but do his arms hang where you would need more height, or ar they tied in some way? So that truss system though not terribly high will need to be braced so that it is stable and doesn't fall if the actor swings a little. The next thing is how do you hang the guy? If his feet are tied up do you expect him to climb up stick his feet through a loop and then hang? Or do you expect to secure his feet and hoist him into position? You will need a few guys to lift his weight or several block and tackles (or some call them a block and fall) to gain the mechanical advantage but it would need to be secured in such a way that it doesn't pull down the truss.

If you don't have the resources to do it in a safe manner, you have to ask yourself how can you do it with the resources (crew size and skill, location, money, equipment, etc) you have. Perhaps it will be easier to change the shots a little.

Good luck with whichever way you go.

Best

Tim

Edited by timHealy, 16 November 2006 - 11:15 PM.

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#10 Riku Naskali

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Posted 17 November 2006 - 12:40 AM

Ah yeah, the liability issue. I think there's also some cultural differences in play here since people sue other people all the time in North America. I mean, we don't even have stunt riggers where I come from. I've worked with some stunt people before back home and I'm pretty sure they would rig something like this themselves.

But the height is actually a good point, I'm running out of it in a regular room. How come I didn't think about that earlier... There's no way I'm going to get all in shot unless I find a midget...
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#11 timHealy

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Posted 17 November 2006 - 06:35 PM

i actually wasn't thinking about any liability issue.

i was thinking about safety and doing something professionally.

worst case scenario: if this guy falls on his head onto a hard surface, he could break his neck or damage a vertebre leading to death or paralysis.

just some food for thought.

best

Tim

Edited by timHealy, 17 November 2006 - 06:35 PM.

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#12 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 18 November 2006 - 03:00 AM

Hi,

I need to hang a man from his feet in location, any ideas how to rig? The location is a normal bedroom, so there's nothing to hang him from.

I've given it a lot of though, but everything I've come up with seems risky. I can't do anything destructive to the location so I can't even drill anything. And the solution must be low budget. He's not hanging that high, maybe a couple of feet from the floor.


We used a heavy duty kid's swing set, minus the swings ect., a safety harness for the guys who install billboards and 1/4 in steel cable with factory installed hooks. I was the only one to get into it AND I was just hangng there but not upside down, it was uncomforable and limited but I didn't get hurt. You might try gravity boots, the kind people use to relieve back stress. www.sitincomfort.com/slspydgravbo1.html . They're designed to hang people upside down and should be your safest option. As for a harness and rigging setup, That's a whole different issue and I would do a LOT of research before attempting that, because if the guy falls on hs head and breaks his neck you are gonna be in a world of poop. B)

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 18 November 2006 - 03:02 AM.

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#13 timHealy

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Posted 18 November 2006 - 11:46 AM

Riku

What about hanging a lightweight dummy in the appropriate clothing for your wide shots, then if you need a close up of the actor you can do it with a much smaller rig.

best

Tim
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#14 Hal Smith

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Posted 18 November 2006 - 12:48 PM

As for a harness and rigging setup, That's a whole different issue and I would do a LOT of research before attempting that, because if the guy falls on hs head and breaks his neck you are gonna be in a world of poop.

Capt.

I like the gravity boot idea. It looks like you could buy everything including the support from them and be well within a safe envelope.

On the subject of harnesses: OSHA (in the US) requires that safety gear be only used for its rated application. They can (and will) fine everyone involved with an accident caused by a safety violation $10,000 each. They can fine you even when no accident has happened but they've caught you doing something in violation of their regulations.

I'm pretty certain the only harness acceptable for safely rigging someone you're hanging would be the ones used for tower climbing and construction. Their design purpose is suspend one while working and to catch them after a random fall. Rapelling and climbing harnesses are a lot lighter and might be acceptable but I'd do some research first before using one on set.
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#15 timHealy

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Posted 18 November 2006 - 01:33 PM

Riku mentioned that for his story he needs to see the man hanging from the rope so gravity boots wouldn't work. For his wide shot anyway.

Best

Tim
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#16 Chris Keth

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Posted 18 November 2006 - 01:57 PM

Depends on how wide you need to see. If you only need a full length of the hanging man, I would feel quite safe doing this by fashioning a swingset-like frame of iron pipe that just barely fit below the ceiling. I would definately consult with a physician about the safest way to hang someone from their feet. Nerve damage isn't that hard to cause.
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#17 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 18 November 2006 - 09:16 PM

Riku mentioned that for his story he needs to see the man hanging from the rope so gravity boots wouldn't work. For his wide shot anyway.

Best

Tim


Sure it would. Glue or stitch fake coils of rope over a plastic, cloth or sheetmetal cover that hides the boot sleaves and leaves to back open so the boot hooks work unincumbered. Use a inversely mounted T shaped bar with oversized end caps that won't allow the boot hooks to slip off the T bar. The T bar is mounted to a standard A-frame, I beam hoist set just under ceiling level but out of the top of the camera frame with the legs set wide enough to be outside the sides of the camera frame. the shank of the T bar is hidden by 3 or 4 straight peices of rope w/ wire in them, and actually parallel with and wired to, the T bar shank at the top and bottom. The top could even have the camoflaging rope go through a fake metal ring made out of lightwieght plastic and set so it LOOKS like it is attacted to the ceiling. It would appear as though the man is suspended from it. The bottom would, of course, be hidden behind the man's feet. If you carefully framed the shot so only part fo the ring showed and the T bar shank hidden behind it wouldn't show. It would look to the camera like he was held up by the rope on a ring and the gag would work flawlessly. Any other questions? B)
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#18 Daniel Stigler

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Posted 26 December 2006 - 12:15 AM

I'm pretty certain the only harness acceptable for safely rigging someone you're hanging would be the ones used for tower climbing and construction. Their design purpose is suspend one while working and to catch them after a random fall. Rapelling and climbing harnesses are a lot lighter and might be acceptable but I'd do some research first before using one on set.


Slightly off topic: I own a full body harness designed for construction climbers and window cleaners. It has a lot of mounting points for carbines which come in handy when i'm getting strapped to quads or other shaky vehicles. I like to be strapped tight to the vehicle as in shooting situations like that i need both of my hands to operate a wireless focus device.
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#19 Gavin Greenwalt

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Posted 01 January 2007 - 06:10 AM

I've done a lot of mountaineering and rock climbing. If you overbuild the rig, and you don't have liability problems and have no access to any specific professionals I would recommend looking into maybe another professional that requires rope safety. You'll need to hire a metal worker who can build a sturdy junglegym inside the room, you'll have to shoot close, and or split screen and paint out the rig, then just use an approved full body harness and have him grip the rope with his feet for balance, I've also done repels this way before with a normal harness, but with a set rope it should be relatively simple.

The chances of death would be pretty low, but the cost for even the most basic rig would be quite high, and assembling the custom build frame would be very time consuming.

Could you use close ups for the front and a manequin for the back? It would save you $1000 and a great deal of time.
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