You are on page 1of 12

Draft Fawcett Exovest User Manual

September 2012

FAWCETT EXOVEST USER MANUAL

Velcro Shoulder Straps

Shoulder Latch

Rapid-Release Ring Rod-Length Adjustments

Bridge Plate Waist Latch

Socket Block Over-Centre Lever

Velcro Waist Straps

Draft Fawcett Exovest User Manual

September 2012

The Fawcett Exovest is a semi-rigid exoskeletal structure that is designed to place forces into specific areas of your body, without interfering with natural movement. As such, it needs to be fitted correctly and precisely. Please follow the directions below meticulously, and be prepared to experiment with different settings until the Exovest conforms to the size and shape of your body. Once these adjustments are finalized, you can enter and exit the vest quickly by means of two latches and one over-centre lever. 1/ Preparation. Loosen the velcro straps around the waist and shoulders, then roughly set the rod lengths, front and rear, by eye to the length of your torso. Open both the shoulder and the waist latch, and the over-centre lever on the waistband, then put on the vest. Fasten first the waist latch, then the shoulder latch, and finally, the over-centre lever at the waist. 2/ Adjusting for Length. Place your thumbs inside the waistband, and pull the vest down onto your shoulders. The centre-line of the waistband should be level with the top of the pelvic bone (the ilia), as illustrated below. The shoulder straps should just touch your shoulders. If the vest is too long or too short, adjust the rod lengths to suit. Unless you have assistance, you’ll need to remove the vest to adjust the rear rod length.

Correct Waistband Height

Draft Fawcett Exovest User Manual

September 2012

3/ Engaging the Waist Pads. With the over-centre lever closed, tighten the waist straps until both sets of waistband pads contact your body firmly. You should feel the front waist pads contact the pelvic bones (ilia) at front and rear.

Front Pad Position If you are wide at the hips, the front pads may press into your abdomen without contacting the pelvic bones to the sides. If so, remove the vest, and move the pads outboard to left and right until they will contact the pelvic bones. The rear pads should not touch the base of the spine (sacrum). If they do, similarly move the pads outboard until they also rest on the ilia.

Sacrum Ilia

Rear Pad Position The waistband pads should be adjusted to leave clearance between the front and rear pads, but not so much clearance that the hard plastic waistband contacts the body. In either of these circumstances, move the pads to fit.

Draft Fawcett Exovest User Manual

September 2012

Gap between front and rear pad leaving space between hard plastic waistband and body.

Front–Rear Waist Pad Gap The supplied booster pads may be placed between the waist pads and the waistband for better fit and/or comfort. 4/ Seating the Shoulder Pads. Tighten the shoulder straps to bring the rods to a distance in front of your chest that allows you to breathe freely and deeply in your upper ribcage.

Breathing Out

Breathing In

The shoulder straps should pass over your shoulders without touching your neck or the shoulder joint (acromioclavicular joint).

Draft Fawcett Exovest User Manual

September 2012

Shoulder Joint

Neck Clearance

Shoulder Strap Clearance If you can’t achieve the correct clearance, you can relocate the shoulder straps, front and back by... ________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________

Awaiting Details

Adjusting Shoulder-Strap Clearance

Draft Fawcett Exovest User Manual

September 2012

5/ Trimming for Force Placement. Mount the Steadicam, and push the rig out in front of you. You should feel the resulting torque in your upper back at the level of the shoulder blades. If the torque pushes your neck forward, shorten the rear rods. If the rods contact your back—even lightly—replace the shoulder pad with a thicker one until the rear rods are lifted entirely clear of your back. You should examine your posture in a mirror at this point. If the rods are touching your back because you are slouched forward, you may wish to correct this by standing up straight rather than by adding pads.

Torque

Optimum Torque-Resisting Level Note: If you’re an experienced Steadicam operator, you’ll notice you are using different back muscles. This is because existing vests of all designs resist the torque at mid-back level, necessitating that work be done entirely in the lower region of the back. By doubling this lever arm, we halve the force necessary to counterbalance the rig, and engage back muscles to the height of the shoulders. Return the rig to an operating position close to the front of your body. You should feel the weight of the Steadicam resting on your pelvic bones (ilia), and the loading on your shoulders should be light. If not, adjust the length of the rods. If the vest is fitted correctly, you should be able to lift your legs sufficiently as to climb stairs without disturbing the vest.

Draft Fawcett Exovest User Manual

September 2012

6/ Freeing the Pelvis. In traditional Steadicam vests, it is necessary to hold the pelvis level, when walking, to prevent the rig from pulling from side to side. In the Exovest, you must walk normally, allowing your hip joints to rise and fall relative to one another. If you walk with a level pelvis, you will be fighting the Exovest’s attempt to conform to your body, and the rig may feel unbalanced. Standing entirely upright, with the rig held comfortably in front of your body, shift your weight sideways onto one leg, bringing the rig with you. Relax the stomach, back, and leg muscles that are holding your pelvis level such that the unloaded hip joint drops and your unloaded knee bends. You will feel the pivot system shifting to accommodate this. Shift your weight, bringing the rig along, to the other leg, letting the pelvis rotate naturally as the other hip joint rises. Now bring this freedom of movement into a slow walk. You will find that, freeing your pelvis, you will be able to walk more smoothly and with less effort. Additionally, the socket block will remain at a more constant height relative to the ground.

Freeing the Pelvis Operating in a good missionary or Don Juan position, with the rig held toward the front, rather than off to the side, will increase the efficiency of the pivot system, and reduce muscular strain while operating. 7/ Operating Adjustments. By virtue of the double and triple-purchase velcro straps, you can adjust the force-placement characteristics of the vest under load, without having to dock the Steadicam. For convenience, retag the inner end of the waistband velcro so the outer end closes close to the front of your body where you can grasp it easily.

Draft Fawcett Exovest User Manual

September 2012

Adjusting Under Load In between takes, relax the entire vest by releasing the over-centre lever at the waist.

Over-Centre Lever in Relax Position If you require a low lens height, or simply prefer to have the socket block mounted lower than usual, you can set the bridge plate to jump over the lower pivot. Be advised that the further the Steadicam arm-attachment point is from your own shoulder, the more likely you are to limit your boom range.

Bridge Plate Jumping Lower Pivot

Draft Fawcett Exovest User Manual

September 2012

8/ Rapid Release. If your Exovest is fitted with the rapid-release system, you should adjust it now. Shorten the tape until the ring hangs in front of your shoulder at a height that is convenient to grasp in an emergency.

Optimal Rapid Release Length To operate the rapid release, you must first arm it by rotating the two arming pins, at the shoulder and waist hinges, to their active positions.

Lower Rapid Release Armed The rapid release will work only when the tape is correctly adjusted for length and both pins are in the armed position. It’s called a rapid release for good reason, so arm it only when necessary. If you need to jettison the rig in a hurry, lift your yoke hand to the release ring and pull down on it hard. The vest will disengage from your body and fall away in the direction of the rig, allowing you to better escape dangerous situations.

Draft Fawcett Exovest User Manual

September 2012

You can alternatively ask an experienced person, like a grip or stunt coordinator, to stand beside you, holding the ring until danger has passed, or you can tie the ring off, using a rope or a carabiner, to an immovable object. In these cases, you need only let go of the rig and run away. Remember, this is a last resort that will likely trash your entire system without any guarantee of your actually escaping injury, so treat it as such, and not as a failsafe device.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION Reconfiguring the Exovest for Goofy Operators. It’s a simple matter to flip the bridge plate for goofy operating (rig to the right side of the operator’s body), but this puts the socket block on the same side as the over-centre lever. It also puts the rig on the same side as the rapid release. To maximize utility, a goofy operator may reconfigure the vest to be the mirror image of a standard vest. If it isn’t immediately obvious to you how to do this, contact a Tiffen representative for advice, but for someone with a little mechanical experience, it’s 30 minutes work to make a goofy-friendly vest that is still useable by regular operators. Posture. The Exovest is designed to work in conjunction with good operating posture. Before using the vest, please check your form in a mirror. Whether walking or standing, angle yourself approximately 45 degrees to the rig. Tuck the rig in close to your centre-line, and to your centre of gravity. While standing in this position with the rig floating in balance in front of you, adjust your fore–aft threads such that, when looking from the side, you are leaning neither forwards nor backwards, but are upright, with the centre of your shoulder girdle directly over the centre of your pelvic girdle. Adjust your side-to-side threads such that, when looking from the front, you are leaning neither left nor right. Do not allow your neck to collapse, but instead incline your head downwards from the level of the top vertebra of your neck. This is the joint around which you nod, and is how you should tilt your head towards the monitor. Fore more information on Steadicam Posture, please visit http://steadivision.com/ steadipos.html

Draft Fawcett Exovest User Manual

September 2012

Exovest Size Matrix. The Exovest comes in three sizes: small, medium, and large. If the rods are too long or too short for you, they must be swapped out for different sized rods. If the shoulder straps are too loose or too tight, they must also be swapped out. If the waist straps are too short for you to loosen such that two sets of metal slides are still engaged left and right (see below), then you need to swap out the rear plastic sections of the waistband for a larger set. Two Sets of Slides Engaged

Rear Plastic Waistband

Waistband Expanded to Maximum If the waistband won’t tighten sufficiently, simply shorten, by an equal length, each of the rear plastic waistband sections using shears, blade, or saw, then smooth the cut surfaces with sandpaper. Table of component sizes for small, medium, and large Exovests. VEST SIZE Small Medium Large Waistband S M L Shoulder Straps M M L Rod Length S M M

To determine what size of vest you require, take the following measurements. Girth, as measured around the waist at the level of the top of the pelvic bone (iliac crest). Height as measured from the top of the pelvic bone to the shoulder joint (cromioclavicular joint).

Draft Fawcett Exovest User Manual

September 2012

And read your size off this table. Girth Height less than 18” more than XX S S M M L 26” to 32” 32” to XX 32”to XX XX to 50”

Alternatively, contact a Tiffen representative for advice.