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Tips to Clip: December 2017

Are You Talking to Me?
Last week, while working one of five cameras on a major corporate meeting, I had the opportunity to meet my pet peeve: directors who call “zoom in … camera four,” then wonder why all five cameras start moving before he utters the No. 4 identifier. It would be just as easy, and much clearer, to say, “Camera four, zoom in.”

I have printed this tip before, but it seems time to do it again. I have even brought it to the attention of several directors, who agree with the principle but continue to make their calls “backwards.”

Mic Clip
Many videographers use plug-in transmitters to allow their handheld stick microphones to communicate with a wireless receiver mounted on the camera. To avoid having one more thing to carry, Paul Lockwood of Cincinnati has taped a large office clip to the transmitter and hangs it on his belt. He reminds the talent to hold the microphone with the clip on the side away from the camera.

No Wire Tie
Another tip for the plug-in transmitter was sent in by Robert Zelkovsky of Kapaa, Hawaii. Covering an event with a single camera used to mean choosing between moving around the room to get various shots while using your camera mic to pick up mediocre sound, or getting good audio through a cable, which tied you to one location. Robert chooses a third path: he attaches the plug-in transmitter to the house sound system. Robert carries a bag of audio adapters and tries to arrive early, when the house audio tech has the time to help. He says it is best to get a channel like an aux send that has a separate volume control and then adjust gain on transmitter and camera.

Panning Your Wireless
Having 10 or 20 wireless microphone systems to keep track of during a large event can be an organizational nightmare, unless you are Patrick Wollard of San Jose, Calif., who faces the problem on a regular basis. Patrick says he puts all the elements of each setup in a separate disposable aluminum cake pan as he finishes testing them. He is then completely organized as the pans are taken to the location at which the mics will be used. If you have another tip for using wireless mics, be sure to share it by sending it to the address below.

The Glow of Christmas
Holidays offer us the opportunity to stock up on quite a few items that can be used throughout the year. You can get some very interesting effects by hiding a string of Christmas lights behind objects like books on a shelf. To get the correct amount of control, look for lights with attached dimmers. A spray can of fake snow can frost a window in the middle of summer if needed. Fake greenery can help make an interview’s background more interesting. It’s a little late now, but Fourth of July sparklers can stand in for a burning fuse, and those little black smoke pellets can help sell a fire scene. Use your imagination, think outside the box and don’t forget to share whatever you come up with.

Battery Care
Keeping your rechargeable batteries warm during these snowy months will make them last longer. When driving between locations, put unused batteries on the dashboard. The greenhouse effect caused by the sun shining through the windshield will combine with the defroster to keep them warm and fully charged.

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.

Download the December 2017 issue of Digital Video magazine