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Tips to Clip: December 2016

Carnet Correction

I must offer a correction to the September Tips to Clip item about carnets. This travel document, often referred to as a “passport for goods,” allows you to avoid import and export duties on your equipment when you travel internationally.

Carnets are no longer issued by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency. Here in the United States, they are available from the United States Council for International Business (USCIB). You can get information about the process and fees from or

Thanks to David Wolf of Essential Images in Metairie, La., for pointing out my error.


David Wolf also sent this tip. “In my grip kit, I keep an old 35mm film canister filled with pushpins. These come in handy for a variety of reasons, but I especially like using them to fasten duvetyn (black cloth) 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. Additionally, I discretely place them in a door jamb to prevent a self-locking door from closing all the way.” Dave will get a Tipster Tool Tote for his efforts.

Baby Soother

This photo of one way to keep babies calm during a photo shoot was sent to us by Jane Borges of Phoenix, Ariz., and needs no further words from me.

Winter Wonderland

We are definitely heading into winter, with its many opportunities to shoot outdoors in the snow. Our friends at B&H Photo-Video shared the following tips for avoiding cold-induced shooting problems.

  • Grab your lens hood before you head outside to avoid lens flare caused by highly reflective freshly fallen snow. A lens hood can also help keep falling snow off your lens.
  • A polarizer can help minimize or remove the glare on snow- and ice-covered surfaces in frigid temperatures. It can also be used to darken a bright, cloudless sky or aid in ramping up the saturation.
  • Once your camera is out, keep the lens cap on when not in use to prevent snowflakes from landing, and possibly melting, on the front element of your lens.
  • If your lens does become fogged or smudged, avoid blowing warm air onto it, as this increases the possibility of a thin layer of ice coating it.
  • Rely on your microfiber lens cloths and don’t be afraid to pack extras.
  • Holding your breath when bringing the camera up to your face to take a picture could prevent fogging on your LCD screen and viewfinder.

Roaming Remotes

You’ll never lose your remotes again if you follow this tip shared by Pat Giles of San Jose, Calif. “Attach them to the unit with patches of hook and loop fastener. Sticking them on the back, near the edge, keeps them out of sight yet easy to reach.

Laying Down on the Job

Tom Escobar works in a video rental house and spends a lot of his time loading and unloading equipment into portable racks. His tip is to simply lay the rack on its back before beginning the installation. This way you will work with gravity instead of fighting it. You won’t be struggling to hold the units in place while you attempt to put in the mounting screws.

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. To share your shortcuts and easy ways to do things, just drop me a letter or e-mail. Send your tips and questions to