No matter your age, health, or fitness level, arthritis doesn’t discriminate. If you stay on your feet all day and maneuver heavy equipment without assistance, your body will eventually beg you to stop. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be a filmmaker and use bulky equipment! It just means you’ll need a little help. Stabilizing gear is a lifesaver for photographers and filmmakers who want to enjoy a long, comfortable career. Save the strain on your shoulders and back by investing in a stabilizer vest and arm, and let the equipment do the hard work for you. Learn how stabilizer vests can help you avoid arthritis, and remember to take care of your body between shoots. Your future self will thank you.
Listen To Your Body
You know your filmmaking style better than anybody. Are you using a handheld camera or pulling a dolly around? You use different parts of your body to execute different shots. In particular, handheld camera users use their shoulders a lot and could use some extra support. Try out a supportive stabilizer vest and notice the difference in strain. The weight of the camera, not to mention the arm, gets redistributed throughout your body.
After you’re done shooting for the day, put the camera down and stand still for a moment. If there are any muscles or joints that you know are going to hurt in the morning, add daily stretches to your pre- and post-shoot routine. Meanwhile, start shopping for stabilizing equipment to keep you from sustaining permanent damage. (Seriously. Shoulder replacements are painful and expensive.) A camera support vest will distribute the weight of the camera more easily and evenly, so you’re not relying on any specific joint to keep it steady. Glide Gear cares about young shoulders and backs—that’s why we carry such a wide selection of stabilizing equipment! Make your life easier and redistribute all that weight with a high-quality vest and arm.
How the Vest Works
When you browse our collection of stabilizer vests and arms, notice how a lot of them look like harnesses. They’re almost reminiscent of a baby carrier. That’s because a stabilizer vest is a harness of sorts! Strap yourself into the vest and notice how it straightens your back. A well-fitting, supportive vest encourages proper posture, almost like a corset. When you wear the vest, it’ll be easy to remember to stand up straight and use your back wisely. Crouching over too much can lead to a hunched back later, and that poor posture can lead to chronic pain—and arthritis. That pain will definitely interfere with your camera work in the future, not to mention all of your other daily activities. Correct any posture issues now to avoid arthritis in your future!
The vest itself also has places to attach a camera arm, which will keep the camera steady so you can give your arms a break. You’ll still need to practice smooth footwork to prevent extra shake, but the vest and arm take the stress out of the process. When you adjust and fit the vest properly to your body, it’ll distribute the weight of your camera evenly across your shoulders, back, and hips. That way, each part gets minimal strain.
What Does the Right Gear Look Like?
As you shop for a camera support vest and arm, pay attention to the weight of the whole thing. How heavy is it on its own, and how heavy of a camera will it support? Stabilizing equipment comes in many sizes and weights, and each vest will hold the camera a little differently. The “right” gear for you, again, depends on the type of footage you’re shooting.
For slow, sustained shots that are free of blur and shake, a full vest and arm will keep you steady as long as you’re nimble on your feet. Choose a setup that aligns your shoulders, back, and hips to distribute that weight evenly. When you work with a handheld camera all day, your shoulder takes a beating and your spine can shift around. Continuous pressure and strain on one specific part of your body can lead to inflammation and arthritis later on, so make sure all relevant joints are in alignment.
If you shoot a lot of fast-paced action scenes, a more lightweight stabilizer vest will help you move and get your camera in on the action. It’s less of a vest and more of a small harness, as it doesn’t stabilize your hips, but it provides you the freedom to run and twist more quickly. Your shoulders and back will stay straight as you move. Get your audience right in the middle of your fight or action scene by moving your camera accordingly. A little shake is actually a good thing in this situation.
To keep your body in tip-top shape for years to come, you’ll need to pay attention to it in its entirety. Your core does the bulk of the work in keeping you standing straight and moving easily. That’s why the stabilizer vest is so important: it encourages your core to move steadily and without pain. When you strap yourself into the vest each morning, adjust it to your body and make sure it fits snugly, but not too tightly. Think of it as a back brace with fancy, functional extensions.
At the end of the day, after you’ve taken the vest off, check on yourself. Are you feeling better with the stabilizer vest than you did without it? If you wear it correctly, each of your joints will take a little bit of weight instead of one joint doing all the work. Stretch and rotate your joints gently to preserve and increase your range of motion. Too much inertia can make any arthritic symptoms more painful.
And arthritis prevention doesn’t stop at a stabilizer vest. Your knees, ankles, and even your fingers also take a lot of strain during a day’s shooting. If necessary, add knee braces, supportive shoes, and finger splints to your stabilizing arsenal to keep those joints healthy, too.
We at Glide Gear are dedicated to keeping filmmakers of all ages healthy and supported in their creative ventures. Take care of your body now to avoid excess pain later and ensure that your movie-making career will last for years to come. Learn how stabilizer vests can help you avoid arthritis and pick one up today to keep you pain-free on location.