Tips to Clip: September 2012
I was visiting a friend’s studio when a loud crash reminded me that one of the most common safety hazards on video sets is called a “clothesline.” That’s when the power cord of a stand-mounted lighting instrument swoops directly from the head to the floor and is not routed under the stand leg. The increased likelihood of tripping over the cord is obvious. What’s a little less obvious is the high probability that when the cord gets pulled or tripped on, the top-heavy stand will tip over.
If you run the cord under the leg, then when it gets pulled, the stand will tend to slide sideways instead of being pulled over.
“How can I copyright my new video production?” asks producer Parker Martin of Jefferson City, Mo.
I am not a patent attorney, so I checked with several friends who are. Their collective opinion of the law is that an original work of art—such as a video, music, screenplay or script—is automatically protected by copyright laws as soon as you create it. For added protection, you should place a copyright notice in the titles and on your script.
If you ever have to file a lawsuit to stop an infringement, however, you will need to have registered your work with the U.S. Copyright Office. To do that, you should fill out and submit Application Form PA which is available online as a PDF file at http://snurl.com/yb5.
You need to hang a roll of seamless background paper but the usual arrangements—two light stands holding up a pipe that runs through the center of the roll—won’t work.
Fred Shiller of San Jose, Calif., solved the problem with two X-clamps, which are normally used to hang lighting instruments from a drop ceiling’s T-bar rails. Fred attached two X-clamps to the false ceiling and then ran a rope through the pipe. The setup easily supported the weight of the paper.
Large hooks mounted on X-clamps will also work well. The hooks can be found in many hardware stores. They are normally used by florists and decorators to hang macramé and plant holders.
Follow That Cab(le)
This homemade circuit tracer was created by Cory Harrison of Las Vegas, Nev., while he was trying to map out some coaxial cables running through an office. He made a jumper cord that ran from the earphone jack of his iPod to alligator clips (a radio or some other sound source will do just as well). Next he attached the clips to the known end of the cable being traced. Cory then connected bare wires to the plug of his headset and began touching every unknown cable in the switching room. He knew he had the right one when he heard the music.
Sock It Away
Years ago, when I was working for network news, we carried a number of hand mikes in our sound box. Space limitations forced us to discard the protective boxes, so they soon started getting pretty scratched. Our solution was to sheathe the mikes in gym socks, which took up very little space and guarded against further scratching.
A still photographer friend of mine recently told me he uses the same tip to protect the lenses in his “go bag.”