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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

VIDEO: Shooting from the Rafters
Donald Page, Photographer, Photo Editor
Knoxville | TN | USA | Posted: 2:00 PM on 03.01.13
->> The other day, my friend Steven helped me cover the Tennessee/Florida game in Knoxville by spending the whole game in the catwalk. On his own he strapped a go-pro to his head and shot a short video. Take your vertigo pills and take a look.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=maI5KPLatGM&feature=youtu.be
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James Broome, Photographer
Tampa | FL | US | Posted: 2:26 PM on 03.01.13
->> Something may be borked with the video. It won't play in the most recent version of Firefox.
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Jeff Gammons, Photographer
Destin | Fl | USA | Posted: 2:36 PM on 03.01.13
->> http://24.media.tumblr.com/4763d1e21a247e614e968c3c8fdb7ca3/tumblr_miy1mcmN...

What a shot!
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Ryan M. Kelly, Photographer, Student/Intern
Newport News | VA | USA | Posted: 10:54 AM on 03.02.13
->> Way cool, thanks for sharing! I shot a bit of volleyball from a catwalk over the winter, I can't believe I didn't think to shoot any video showing what it was like up there.

He must be quite a fancy photographer, shooting with his pinky up. So proper.
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer, Photo Editor
PLANET | EARTH | | Posted: 12:20 PM on 03.02.13
->> wow! you guys are lucky. I don't know a single arena anywhere (at least the ones in the ACC) that will let you wander around on the catwalks during a game. amazing.
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Michael Chang, Photographer
Mobile | AL | USA | Posted: 12:32 PM on 03.02.13
->> Hopefully I'm wrong, but is he hand holding that camera with no strap over the crowd?
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Marshall Smith, Photographer
Stamping Ground | KY | USA | Posted: 7:04 PM on 03.02.13
->> It looks like to me that at 0:16 on the video that his camera is attached to the harness that he is wearing.
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Donald Page, Photographer, Photo Editor
Knoxville | TN | USA | Posted: 10:16 AM on 03.04.13
->> Both the Camera and the Lens were attached to the harness he was wearing. this harness:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/645448-REG/Black_Rapid_RSD_1BB_RS_DR_...

He also had a safety cable (like you would attach to a remote attached to his camera around his wrist I think.

Not just anyone can wonder around up there, but he had special permission.
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Donald Page, Photographer, Photo Editor
Knoxville | TN | USA | Posted: 10:45 AM on 03.04.13
->> Also, I already made fun of him for having his pinky up like that :)
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Robert Herrera, Photographer, Assistant
Lakeland | FL | United States | Posted: 10:50 AM on 03.04.13
->> Hey Donald - Good seeing you here. Didn't realize you were a member.

Wow. I'm guessing it's probably not as bad in person, but it looks scary up there when seeing it on video.
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Chuck Liddy, Photographer, Photo Editor
PLANET | EARTH | | Posted: 11:38 AM on 03.04.13
->> Robert, trust me. I've been on a couple of those catwalks...they are MUCH worse in person. 8)
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Robert Herrera, Photographer, Assistant
Lakeland | FL | United States | Posted: 1:09 PM on 03.04.13
->> @Chuck - lol, I guess I'll just have to take your word for it :-)
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Chris Peterson, Photographer, Photo Editor
Columbia Falls | MT | USA | Posted: 1:16 PM on 03.04.13
->> The venue shall remain nameless, but they once let me up on a catwalk way above the crowd with zero safety stuff. Just told me to be careful. That probably wouldn't happen today... I grew up on a farm climbing silos, so the heights didn't bother me, but I was terrified that I'd drop a AA battery, since I had battery powered strobes up there and I had to change them. Not the smartest thing I've ever done.
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George Bridges, Photographer, Photo Editor
Washington | DC | USA | Posted: 1:19 PM on 03.04.13
->> Robert, I say just the opposite. The video makes it look like nothing. In real life it is much more vertigo-inducing to be on catwalks.

Try the upper ring at the Georgia Dome which is about 250 feet above the playing surface. It's a long haul to get there and a wild view to be looking through a grated walkway at the court below.

When setting remotes and lights at a basketball game at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin years ago, I headed out on the catwalks with a friend. After a minute I realized I was alone. He made it to the point where there were steps, the first point you could see all the way to the court below. He froze for a second and turned around heading back to the solid outer ring.
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Robert Herrera, Photographer, Assistant
Lakeland | FL | United States | Posted: 1:27 PM on 03.04.13
->> Ok, now you guys are scaring the life out of me.

I may never want to set up remotes in that way, lol.
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Michael McNamara, Photographer, Photo Editor
Phoenix | AZ | USA | Posted: 1:55 PM on 03.04.13
->> Robert,

I shot a few games from the rafters when I worked in Lincoln, Nebraska, and every time my hands were sweating uncontrollably for the first half or so. Even though I had everything secured to me with carabiners and rock climbing tethers. For the first ten minutes, my hands would shake so much that shooting usable photos was usually pointless, so I'd go up to shoot warmups to get acclimated.
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Simon Wheeler, Photo Editor, Photographer
Ithaca | NY | USA | Posted: 6:50 PM on 03.04.13
->> I remember shooting the NCAA swimming and diving championships I think in '87 or '88 in Indianapolis and being allowed in the catwalks along with all the SI strobe gear. I can remember setting a pen down on the I-beam that formed the edge of the catwalk, seeing it roll for a millisecond and then grabbing it before it fell off right over the 10 meter tower. I was way under prepared to be up there and have no memories of the photos. I do have a vivid impression of the pen rolling and inch or so from the edge.
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Michael Chang, Photographer
Mobile | AL | USA | Posted: 9:54 PM on 03.04.13
->> Thanks Marshall for pointing that out. Glad it was just something I just missed and not something they did. Talk about a liability nightmare!

:)
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Alan Look, Photographer
Bloomington/Normal | IL | United States | Posted: 10:46 PM on 03.04.13
->> George, you gotta tell us - what focal length lens do you use from the top of the Georgia Dome? The specs I found say it's closer to 270'. My 600 at 300' gets three big guys in full pads in portrait configuration and just about 6 shooting it landscape. I'd hate to try to carry that beast, let alone mount it 250' up in the air. It just doesn't sound like a 70-200 would do the job.

The one time I had an opportunity to be under a fabric top high in the air, I was about 100' up. No shooting, just light maintenance. The cat walk wasn't bad until I realized I was walking on steel with nothing but teflon between me and the thunder and lightning on the other side. Thank the engineers for the external lightening arrestors! Still a bit unnerving.
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Donald Page, Photographer, Photo Editor
Knoxville | TN | USA | Posted: 3:02 PM on 03.05.13
->> forget going into the Georgia dome catwalk! you gotta be nuts to go there where you can see through the floor. No thank you. Steven was very careful and we took extra safety precautions but I was still nervous the whole time.

Especially when you look up and see this:
https://fbcdn-sphotos-h-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/v/730718_10151521389...
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George Bridges, Photographer, Photo Editor
Washington | DC | USA | Posted: 4:36 PM on 03.05.13
->> Alan,

The roof is listed at 270 feet, the upper catwalk is a little below, so I estimated.

As I recall from the last Final Four there, it was a 600mm on the older, "crop" cameras -- so roughly a 900mm. And that was loose over the basket.

With the catwalk flooring being grated, some folks chose to simply stand the lens face down on the catwalk and shoot that way. Others choose to hook up several clamps and arms to secure the camera and lens.

And, if you're curious. To get to the Georgia Dome catwalks you take an elevator to the top floor. Climb a ladder to a landing that puts you on a walkway out to the outer rings. Then it is somewhere in the neighborhood of 75 steps (if I recall correctly) on a steeply angled staircase to get to the upper ring. It's a pretty good workout.
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Michael Fischer, Photographer
Spencer | Ia | USA | Posted: 5:17 PM on 03.05.13
->> There's a Event Center with a short catwalk here. It doesn't extend out all the way and it's off center but I used to climb up and shoot from it. It has the open floor design.

Evidently my wife was more than a little concerned about it. When I fractured my head on my treadmill and was recovering, the event center skywalk came up. She made me promise not to use it ... at least for a while. She should, based on your description George, be glad it's not the Georgia Dome :).
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Alan Look, Photographer
Bloomington/Normal | IL | United States | Posted: 5:32 PM on 03.05.13
->> That's pretty insane George. The areana here is listed as 100'. The center ring at the top is maybe 10' less and the outer lighting ring about 15 below that. the climb is a bit shorter than the one you describe, but lugging gear it isn't easy. Mesh walk way as well.

I knew when you said 150', you had to be carrying up something pretty long or just shooting panos!
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Doug Strickland, Photographer
Chattanooga | TN | USA | Posted: 5:32 PM on 03.05.13
->> I got to go up into the catwalks of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's McKenzie Arena last year during my internship at the paper where I now work. The paper placed strobes in the catwalks years ago, but they were badly positioned and one had stopped working so we went up to figure out what the problem was and re-orient them. It wasn't during a game and the stadium was empty, but we were still worried about dropping ANYTHING, so I just brought my cell phone (which mostly lived in my pocket) and Dan brought his GoPro:

http://www.sportsshooter.com/kayan/mckenzie/

The wide field of view from the GoPro in the first photo does a terrific job of conveying how high up we were. The Georgia Dome it ain't, but it was still enough to give you butterflies.
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Guy Rhodes, Photographer
East Chicago | IN | USA | Posted: 7:09 AM on 03.07.13
->> Maybe it's from years of rigging atop open-channel theater grids, but I had absolutely no problem with walking onto the grated catwalk in the upper ring of the Superdome last April. It's just above 270' feet from the arena floor.

http://www.sportsshooter.com/guyrhodes/superdome/

It was actually quite fun! :-)
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George Bridges, Photographer, Photo Editor
Washington | DC | USA | Posted: 8:40 AM on 03.07.13
->> All this talk reminds me of the various arenas where I've been in the catwalks and shows one of the cool things about our jobs. We get to go places and see things that the general public never sees. And we get paid and have fun doing it.

I look over my career and it's not just catwalks, but back rooms, private offices (think U.S. Senators' "hideaway" offices well away from their public office so constituents can't bother them), basements, top of a state capitol dome, bell towers, etc, etc. It's pretty damn cool to get that access.
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Randy Sartin, Photographer, Assistant
Knoxville | TN | USA | Posted: 5:25 PM on 03.07.13
->> Interesting stuff Donald! I have spent quite a bit of time in UT's catwalk and several others, but the one that stands out to me is the UTC catwalk that Doug mentioned...

A) It's a pain to get to
B) McKenzie's seating is very steep, if that makes any sense. Anyways to me it "feels" much higher than it probably is.
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Jeff Kowalsky, Photographer
West Bloomfield | MI | United States | Posted: 8:40 PM on 03.07.13
->> Do any arenas make you prove you have a liability policy before letting you mount overhead remotes or just being in the rafters?
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Geoff Miller, Photographer
Portage | MI | USA | Posted: 1:30 PM on 03.08.13
->> "To get to the Georgia Dome catwalks you take an elevator to the top floor. Climb a ladder to a landing that puts you on a walkway out to the outer rings. Then it is somewhere in the neighborhood of 75 steps (if I recall correctly) on a steeply angled staircase to get to the upper ring. It's a pretty good workout."

I have no doubt that if I went through all that, the second I got to the destination my body would tell me that I needed to go to the bathroom!
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Lucas Carter, Photographer, Student/Intern
Fort Wayne | IN | USA | Posted: 10:29 PM on 03.14.13
->> wonder how he safetied the gopro on his head..those headstraps are uncomfortable as it is, i can only assume running safety cable through it wouldn't make it any more comfortable.
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Ting Shen, Student/Intern, Photographer
Chicago | IL | U.S. | Posted: 4:30 AM on 03.15.13
->> I remember for Uniter Center if you want to set up an remote in the cat walk, the liability insurance requirement is 25 million dollars minimal......
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Eric Canha, Photographer
Brockton | MA | United States | Posted: 9:01 AM on 03.15.13
->> In my younger years I was a call firefighter assigned to the ladder company. Never had an issue working 100+ feet on a moving ladder fully extended... Fast forward 25 years to last year's Stanley Cup playoffs where I found myself on the catwalk over center ice in DC...

NOTHING prepares you for waking on a swaying catwalk over a sheet of ice.... Vertigo is an understatement! Every step is an exercise in thinking about the NEXT step you have to take...
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Blaine McCartney, Photographer
Cheyenne | WY | USA | Posted: 4:33 PM on 03.15.13
->> I remember a couple years ago, I wanted to shoot a set of the high school state volleyball championship from the catwalk and was told a resounding, "No."

Fast forward to just a few weeks ago, I asked the people at the same venue and I told them that I probably know the answer but if I could get on the catwalk to shoot part of the state high school basketball tournament.

"Absolutely! When you want to go up?"

I was shocked that they were so accommodating.
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Lucas Carter, Photographer, Student/Intern
Fort Wayne | IN | USA | Posted: 11:01 PM on 03.15.13
->> @Ting Shen 25 MILLION? most i've heard is usually 2-5 million. damn!
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Thread Title: VIDEO: Shooting from the Rafters
Thread Started By: Donald Page
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