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kawisixer01

Going from Tandem to 4 way

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Looking for advice from experienced vid flyers. I have been doing tandem work for a couple years at a Cessna dz. I've gotten the invite to jump with a new forming novice 4 way team..we all get to learn together! I've always filmed on my belly and my camera suit has the small B wings. I'm about 165 wo rig and have not ever really had fall rate issues with flying vid, except our big boy TM jumping with bigger women I have had to wear a belt.
I have the old skysystems full face with a cx-110 on the side and have ran Gopro 3 for stills. I'm thinking that setup should still be fine?
What are some of the things different with flying RW groups from tandem I need to keep in mind?
Is the RW group fall rate going to be lower...enough that I may need to think about bigger wings?
I plan on watching a lot of footage online to see what other guys are doing but thought I could also get some useful advice here.
Thanks!

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1. Catching the exit requires a different technique to tandem. Sorry I can't expound as I'm on a 4 way and just been hosed/seen people hosed by cameramen doing their tandem video exit strategies.

2. It is crucial you are above the formation, most tandem video guys film to flat and it causes camera busts as the grips can't be seen.

3. Know the dive flow of each jump. Lesser experienced teams tend to drift around more, on blocks it can help if you know what's coming and can pop up a bit to keep everyone in frame.
Experienced jumper - someone who has made mistakes more often than I have and lived.

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Find out what kind of plane they will be training from. Otter or Caravan are great. KingAir, Pac, Cessna, not so much. Fallrate can vary depending on size of teammates, most teams fall around average speeds.

Framing a team is opposite of tandems, instead of keeping the chin high, most of the time the chin is kept down.

Most important time for a camera guy is the time on the hill. You will need to figure out if you want to trail/peel or lead exits. That is something you will need to figure out for yourself.

When the team dirt dives, dirt dive with them, work on where you want to be, think about if they are gonna drift apart, possibly slide under you.

Find the burble are quickly as you can. When it finds you, don't try to slow down its a losing battle. Instead drive forward through the burble.

Just a couple of things off the top of my head.

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I've got medium sized wings on my suit and I wear a weight belt as well. I wear it because should an exit funnel, I can get down there much faster while still keeping them in frame without lifting my head. When I'm flying above them I use a little wing to balance the extra fall rate I have from the weight. If I was flying normally without a weight belt, my fall rate would be about the same as the team's.

I'm by no means an expert having only done 1 season filming 4 way so far, but it was a great learning curve for me.
Sky Switches - Affordable stills camera tongue switches and conversion adaptors, supporting various brands of camera (Canon, Sony, Nikon, Panasonic).

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Hey there-

Hope this info helps.

Gear wise- Sounds like you should be fine. If they are going to compete, having 2 cameras is a really good ideas. I've seen some really sad situations where teams got crushed because of camera failures. I usually only wear 2 video cams for comp, and a single for training.

Fall rate- Our build is similar, and I also use the smaller wings. For fallrate, the teams at my dropzone have a moderate range from my team being on the slow side (around 115) to our sister team and a few others cooking along around 125-128. I never wear weights (but some of the other guys have....) and I've never had to have more wing. Wings for me are mostly for exit and allow me to make aggressive rate changes (and stops) without fucking up my tripod (the rest of my body). I don't use them to fall slow enough to stay with them and I dont "hang" on my wings like I used to with Tandems in order to get low and pitch up for the good shot of the students face. So don't worry about fallrate, but understand your body position will be different.

Other stuff-
As you move up with you team, you will learn it is all about exits. This is where most new camera guys struggle the most. Learn as much as you can on this front...take notes... watch your vids... watch other camera guy's vids.

Position- It is all about the judges. You have to get steep enough over the team to be able to see all of the grips. You also have to be close enough that they aren't all dots... (gopro on wide is risky here). A lot of new camera guys fly too far back and shoot the team closer to a 45 degree angle than a 90. It takes some getting used to to fly that close to the burble, but next to exits, this is typically key point numero dos.

Learn about 4 way! The more you understand about what they are doing... .the more you understand about how it is judged, the better your video will be. My team uses mind maps, and I have notes for every single random and block for both freefall and for exit. What is my job on each one...what is noteworthy...what do I need to watch out for.

Fly like a judge. For tandems, I flew focusing on making sure to get those good smile pics of the student, for 4 way I fly thinking like a judge. In the air and on the ground constantly be looking/thinking like a judge. How is the angle? Can I see the grips... too close? too far? Understand if you are doing your job right, you will be flying very actively. You don't just park it and wait for 4.5. Evaluate every second of the jump and make the adjustments to make sure your footage is clean and judgable. If it is that... it will also be great for de-brief.

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....another tip is during training specifically it can really help the team a lot for you to get a heading, once you have settled from the exit, and hold it. The team can then tell if the formations are rotating and who is moving where a lot easier. If you are spinning around above them you may see all the grips but they can't tell if a portion of the formation moved or someone just flew away or if it was you turning and they were nice and still.

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Starting with a novice team has its advantages. They will not be as picky about your early videos. They will be struggling with problems of their own.

They will teach you alot!! They tend to move around and not always together. You'll be challenged to stay with them and keep them all in frame. When the group spreads out, you need to go up (wide shot). When they manage to stay together, you can get close and practice flying the "Burble". Use a good ringsight and audible altimeter. When starting out, pay for your own practice jumps. Remember, the teams are paying for all their jumps. Have fun.... that is the best advice I can give you.
Birdshit & Fools Productions

"Son, only two things fall from the sky."

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