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russian arm - focus puller seat

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#1 Alexandre Valentim

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Posted 21 June 2015 - 04:33 PM

Hello 
I would like to ask you some help and opinions on a issue I've been having here...
I often shoot car commercials with Russian Arm. Ussually they assign the focus puller seat in truck, in the back of the car.
Recently  i was shooting in an off road terrain in high speed and after the first day i needed to use pain killers and other drugs to get to the end of the 6 days job. One month and a half later, after several osteopath sessions, x-rays, and lots of drugs, i'm still with some pain but recovering. 
So... This made me think about working conditions and safety.
In the truck, the seat is minimal, the position is sideways to the car and with only a waist security belt. If the car breaks hard or has an accident, i am in real danger of breaking my neck and / or hitting hard with my head on the back side of the back seat. I have no room for my legs and after a while they sart to get numb. 
Meanwhile the back seat it´s only with the DOP and the crane operator, facing front to the car as usual, with a regular security belt.
​I made myself this question now... Why the hell should the focus puller by sacrificed? I´ve checked and in other countries/companies the crane operator goes in the truck and focus puller in the front seat. So... why should the focus puller be in truck in danger in case of an accident and in an unergonomic position? Why can´t they share the back seat? DOP + Focus Puller + Crane operator? The crane operator bellows to the Russian Arm crew. It´s there business it should be there sacrifice...
What do you guys think?
 
Best regards

 

 

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#2 Gregory Irwin

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Posted 21 June 2015 - 11:59 PM

I agree.  I'm always in the front seat.

 

G


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#3 Miguel Angel

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Posted 22 June 2015 - 10:09 AM

I also agree, the focus pullers I work with they are always in the front seat.

 

Have a good day. 


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#4 Sanjay Sami

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Posted 24 June 2015 - 06:45 AM

The first AC is always in the front seat. The little sideways seat is an awful place to put the AC. Speak to the Key Grip and DP before hand.


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#5 Alexandre Valentim

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Posted 02 June 2016 - 12:30 PM

hi there

i´m still struggling whit my quest to change things.

 

Well, solutions:

1- Crane operator in the back, AC in the front, DOP and director in the rear seat.

 If someone needs to be in the back, it should be the crane operator, it´s there business, should be there sacrifice...

Also, i´ve seen that in pictures, videos and talked with AC´s from other countries and continents... Crane operator goes in back.

 

2- They rip off the original back seat and change that for 3x customs made individual seats. The middle one could be slight offset in order to have more room and space for our shoulders. This way it would be more secure and comfortable. Everyone with proper safety belts and facing forward seated in an ergonomic way. Not sideways...

 

Does anyone seen this in other cars? 3x proper seats in the back?

 

Please share some photos if so

 

Regards


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#6 Alexandre Valentim

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Posted 02 June 2016 - 12:55 PM

just take a look how the fixed they little seat...

 

 

 

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#7 Kevin Descheemaeker

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Posted 24 December 2017 - 11:15 AM

Hi All

 

Interesting to read your stories. I totally agree that the back seat if often neglected, however this is not the seat that is assigned for the AC. 

 

Actually there are no fixed postions in the camera car at all, besides the one of the precision driver. As a Russian Arm operator it is important to see where your crane is heading to, so if the arm is in the front the crane op. will take the front seat, if it is in the back he will take the trunk seat and if we're swinging back and forth he goes in the middle. 

 

So everybody can dance around in the car he likes, but everybody needs a position so he can do his job at best. I know a lot of AC's who want to go in the back just because they have a good view on what is happening around them and to see the distance of the camera and the object.

 

But its not a story to scarify anybody, everybody needs to be safe in the car so at least you need a seat and have the possibility to buckle up.

 

If I'm operating the arm I'm always sideways because that's the only way I can keep an eye on the arm that is going around the car.


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#8 Bruce Greene

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Posted 24 December 2017 - 12:39 PM

Riding in the Russian arm vehicle is one of the most dangerous things I've ever done as a cinematographer.  I will say that my experience was not in the US, but there was some serious risk taking by driving on open highways at significant speeds.  I don't think anyplace in the vehicle was safe from a roll over type accident.  The police escort was not enough to control the situation either.

 

I don't think safety of the seat for the focus puller is the proper question.  It should be, "is everybody safe?"


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