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The Steadicam Fawcett Exovest™ is a semi-rigid exoskeletal vest that transfers the weight and torque of supporting a Steadicam system into anatomically appropriate areas, without interfering with natural movement.
Primary weight transfer is to the pelvis via four pads ergonomically placed around the waistband, and primary torque transfer is via a pad system at the upper back. Lower pads avoid compressing the abdomen in front, and the base of the spine in back. Upper pads avoid compressing the neck, shoulder joint, shoulder blades, and spine. Crucially, the absence of chest straps allows for unrestricted breathing and arm movement.
Pad systems are connected by rigid sliding components, and tightened by double and triple-purchase straps for precise fit under load, so weight-bearing characteristics can be fine-tuned on the fly.
The exemplary rigidity of the outer structure extends the torque-resisting lever-arm from mid-back (on existing vests) to high-shoulder level—halving the force required to counterbalance a Steadicam rig.
Symmetrical twin-rod spars, rising fore and aft from the waistband, increase vertical range of the socket block and uniquely, permit both front and rear arm mounting.
Four integral pivots allow the vest to conform to natural body movements. The rise and fall of the hips as weight is shifted from one leg to the other is accommodated by a lower pivot system, so the socket block remains level, and at the same height when walking—resulting in less muscular strain, and better overall stability and balance. The upper system allows free movement of the shoulders.
The resultant feel is of increased lightness and control. Between takes, the entire vest may be relaxed by means of one over-center lever, as the upper pad system beds in only under load.
It took me a while to get used to, coming from a glidecam vest. Feels sturdy and durable. Easy to adjust, for different heights and weight. Front mount, backmount, high & low mount points that make different configuration for shooting easy. Chest feels freer than conventional vests allowing more ventilation for transpiration is a plus.