In this episode of Mantis Discussion. which was sponsored by our good friends at K-Tek, we invite Bryan Cahill to the hot seat to talk Booming Safety. Bryan has been working in Production Sound for over 30 years, and recently landed a job working for Loyola Marymount University as the head of their Production Sound Department. Bryan was also gracious enough to bring by the Levitate Airframe. For those who don’t know, the Airframe is an exoskeleton suit that is used to help extend the time that the operator can use their hands above their heads.
I had the opportunity to try it out live on the Mantis Discussion. I can say that it helped alleviate a lot of the tension in my shoulders. Most boom operators experience a lot of tension when extending a boom out 20 feet. This repeated stress is just wear and tear on our joints. The goal is to create a product that can help relieve some of the pressure, without restricting movement in anyway. The Airframe definitely comes close, and Bryan Cahill assures me its the type of deal where you need to spend a few days with it really understanding how to fit it properly. Once it is secured 100%, it literally lifts the weight off the body.
Various Other Models
Levitate Airframe is not the only model that is out in the world (which is making this type of equipment very exciting to talk about – competition is a good thing). There are other companies like SuitX.com and even the simple BoomHanger can help in a pinch. The goal is to find the tool (or tools that work for you). I use the Boom Hanger myself for every day little gigs, where the bigger exoskeleton suits like the Levitate Airframe or the ShoulderX harness from SuitX can help for gigs with other extreme demands.
Booming Safety is so important, especially in today’s types of productions. Bryan Cahill elaborates in the recovery process it took to get him back into “Booming Shape”. A torn rotator cuff is nothing to take lightly, as it takes around a year to heal properly. He recommends to stretch and have a healthy lifestyle outside of work as well to help your body during these brutal episodic shows.
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