Tips to Clip: January 2018

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Mic Mistake
Last month I passed on a tip about putting wireless microphones in aluminum baking pans. I thought the purpose of the pans was to keep all the parts together, but Michael Jackson, an A1 from San Jose, Calif., told me the real reason. When two powered up transmitters are near each other, as when on the microphone table backstage, they can create an intermodulation effect that can produce a third "ghost" frequency that could interfere with other wireless microphones being used on the show. The more wireless systems you have, the more likely there will be problems. The aluminum pans isolate the transmitters and prevent them from interacting.

Michael told me the same problem can occur during a show when there are multiple wireless transmitters for the performer and instruments. In that case, it is important to be aware of their proximity and the relationship of their antennas.

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Slicker Zipper
Is the zipper on your equipment bag stuck?

Try rubbing the teeth with a pencil. In many cases the graphite in the pencil lead will make things move easier, at least temporarily.

Faux Food
(Pic: ice cream cone)

Making food appear delicious, or even normal, in video or stills is not as easy as it looks. I was shooting a scene at a barbecue when I convinced the food stylist to share some tips for making food look better and the job easier. A word of caution: Be sure to let everyone know what you are doing because some of these tricks make the food unsafe to eat.

Ice cream will probably melt under normal shooting conditions. Try a scoop of mashed potatoes. Food coloring can make it any flavor you want.

An uncooked chicken is easier to handle and can be made just the shade of golden brown you want with spray-on suntan coloring.

To keep soft drinks from going flat, drop in an antacid tablet.

Easier to photograph grill lines on fish or meat can be painted on with food coloring.

Whipped cream topping will melt and run, but shaving cream lasts through several takes.

If you know any more food styling tips, send an e-mail to so we can share them.

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Wire Writing
If you ever wanted to unplug one of the many cables in that maze of wires and AC cords under your editing desk, this tip may help. Producer Mike Saxton of Miami can find a specific wire because he labels each of them with bread bag tags. The small plastic tags attach easily to the wire and will accept marks from a Sharpie. You could also sort the cables by tag color. The same tip will work at your computer station or anywhere you need to identify cables.

What's Your Idea?
There is an old saying: "Anyone who is fed from the pot should help keep it full." Over the past 34 years, hundreds of video professionals have given back to the industry by sharing their shooting and production tips through this column. Now it's your turn. Share your shortcuts and easy ways to do things by sending an e-mail to All submissions become the property of Reizner & Reizner. None can be returned.

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Download the January 2018 issue of Digital Video magazine



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