There are probably as many ways to tie up cables as there are people to tie them. Perhaps one of these methods might suit your fancy.
Skip Nayor uses color-coded pipe cleaners. He says they're plenty long and strong, with a solid wire within, and soft enough on the outside to not chafe the cable or your fingers.
Others store their cables in the cardboard center tubes of toilet paper or paper towel rolls.
Some folks tie their cables with rubber bands or a lightweight cord, both of which can be stored by being tied to one end while the cable is in use.
How about sharing your cable storage method by sending an e-mail to DVTips@nbmedia.com.
There are few things as useless as a dead battery, so I've put together some tips about avoiding them.
The first idea is from John Geise of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and we thank him for sharing it. John keeps a small 12V DC to 110V AC converter in his car. It plugs into the cigarette lighter (called an accessory outlet in new cars) and allows him to power his 110V camera battery chargers.
This isn't a perfect solution, but if he is traveling, it gives him the ability to recharge camera and other batteries while driving. John adds a tri-tap so he can plug in more than one charger and service several batteries at the same time. It also means that he has the chargers with him at hotels and motels (sometimes even restaurants) while on the road.
Didn't bring an adapter or have more than one thing that needs to charge? No biggie—just head over to your hotel room's television. Most modern televisions have USB input ports in the back so you can just plug in and charge on the go.
An old 35mm film canister filled with pushpins lives in David Wolf's grip kit. He says that they come in handy for a variety of reasons, but he especially likes using them to affix Duvetyn over windows to keep light out. The pushpins can be stuck in the top side of the window frame instead of the wall, where no one will ever see the tiny holes they leave. He can also place one discreetly in a door jamb to prevent a self-locking door from closing all the way.
Last night I was attending an awards ceremony at which large-screen projection gave the audience a much better view of the speakers. There was only one camera, which normally would not have been a problem. Unfortunately, no one had told the emcee to stay at the lectern until the next speaker reached the stage, so we were treated to many shots of what hockey fans would call an "empty net."
Scrambled Script Solution
Scripts can be dropped, jumbled, revised, confused and otherwise mixed up. Unless, of course, you follow these tips.
You can immediately tell whether everyone has the same version of a script by color-coding changes: every time a page (or the entire document) is changed, the new material is printed on a different color paper.
Put a large page number at the top of each sheet so they can be quickly reassembled if the stack is dropped.
4x6 index cards are a handy size for reading at a lectern. They will be drop-proof if you punch a hole in one corner of the stack and loop a key ring through it. If that doesn't work for you, try making a diagonal line across the edge of the properly ordered card stack. A jag in the line will be obvious if a card is in the wrong place.
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 DVTips@nbmedia.com. All submissions become the property of Reizner & Reizner. None can be returned.