There was a recent news article from CBS San Francisco called Sitting Vs. Smoking. As an editor who spends a whole lot of time … well, sitting I clicked over with interest. That’s where I was greeted by the first sentence of the piece: Smoking cigarettes is the cause of so much preventable, deadly disease. But now new research shows sitting for long stretches of time may be just as dangerous. Uh oh.
Whenever I see these types of stories I don’t know whether to ignore them or change my life. I’m no doctor by my guess would be that the truth lies somewhere in the middle. The news is certainly going for the shock value of the headline (like most all news does these days) but I’m sure the doctors involved in the study believe in what they are doing. As I read the article and watched the video I couldn’t help but think that a lot of what they are saying really is common sense: “prolonged sitting is now being linked to increased risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, and even early death.” I think we can probably file that statement in the Mr. Obvious category but if nothing else then this study is a reminder to editors, colorists and post-production artists everywhere that we need to take the time to get up from our desks and take a break every now and then. Even more important than that is to get regular exercise since we do sit … a lot.
Eat well while in the edit suite.
In fact this is a good place for a couple of reminders. One is that we should always be aware of what we eat during prolonged edit days. Sitting for 12 hours straight means you aren’t burning many calories and all those snacks that seem to permeate post-production facilities can be very tempting. There’s also often refrigerators full of soft drinks and/or coffee machines that are beckoning all day long. 8 Frame Dissolve had a recent post called Editing Snacks: What do you eat in the suite? that examined just that … what we eat in the editing suite. There’s some great suggestions there for more healthy alternatives than what might be sitting around in the average edit house kitchen. I made a promise to myself several years ago that I would work hard not to load up on processed snacks throughout the day. For the most part I’ve kept it (except when my weakness is in the kitchen). And if the facility where you are working is ordering in for lunch then scanning the Men’s Health Eat This, Not That website might help you find a healthy takout lunch option.
Stand if you can.
The other reminder is that if you have the resources to have one, a stand-up desk could be another option. Walter Murch famously edits standing up and it’s something I often did when I had my own studio. Years ago I bought an IKEA Galant sit-stand desk and it is one of my favorite purchases ever. It’s a motorized desk that raises from sitting height to standing height. Like anything IKEA it wasn’t terribly expensive but it’s not the sturdiest thing so it probably won’t last forever, though it has lasted around 7 or 8 years. Apparently IKEA has done away with the sit-stand option for the Galant desk (I don’t see it on their website) which is a shame, not to mention scary if mine ever breaks while half way between sitting and standing. You could just use some bricks I guess.
Another very nice option for a standing desk comes from Anthro. They have a specific category for video editing workstations but their Elevate Electric Lift Tables are their line of sit-stand desks and you could tailor their products to what you might need. Full disclosure about Anthro in that they are an advertiser here on PVC and their Elevate Wrap is one of the featured advertisements but when it comes to sit-stand desks they are often the company many people mention. Their furniture is definitely more expensive that something you’d get at IKEA but of the two that I can remember that I’ve worked on over the years, they were very high quality workstations. One of our local furniture stores carry the Jesper line of sit-stand desks and those seemed nice as well though I only looked at them in a furniture showroom and never actually worked on one.