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Tips to Clip: July 2015

Tripod Plate

A tripod quick release plate is an indispensable gadget that attaches to the bottom of your camera and holds it on your tripod. Several years ago I arrived on a job with that little goodie missing. A whole bunch of gaffers tape later, we were able to put the camera on the tripod and make the shot. To avoid a repetition of that event, an extra plate and two screws now live under the foam in the top of my tripod case. Of course, since the spare has been in place, the main plate has never been AWOL.

Magic Mirror

When we have to reconfigure the equipment in our edit room, it usually involves changing the cables on the back of the chassis. That used to mean moving everything so we could read the connector labels. Our solution is to use board tape to create new labels, written backwards, in “mirror writing.” We then grab any handy CD or DVD and use its shiny surface to read the labels.

Filler Photos

We frequently supply single camera, large screen support for meetings. I have been using my digital still camera as a sort of still store to give myself something to put on the screen during the gaps between speakers. I photograph the company or meeting logo, then place the camera in “view” mode and export the image through its video port to the projector.

My camera has a battery-saver function that shuts it down after four minutes of inactivity; that behavior cannot be defeated even if the unit is operating on AC power. To get around it, I make sure the logo is the only picture stored in the camera, then periodically press the “next picture” button. Nothing happens, but it fools the camera into not going to sleep.

Cleaner Screens

To increase the time between monitor and computer screen cleanings, Vincent Eldgen of Hannibal, Mo., suggests a used fabric softener sheet. The sheet’s antistatic properties will slow the screen’s collection of dirt. Vincent warns to use a sheet that has been through the dryer—a new one will smear the screen.

Tabletop Reflectors

The frogs used to hold floral arrangements make handy holders for reflector cards and other items when shooting small objects in tabletop photography, according to Paul Wilde of New York.

Phone Filter

Here’s a tip I picked up while making a training video for a phone company. If you are making a call from a noisy location, you’ll be able to hear better if you cover the mouthpiece when the other person is talking. This keeps local noise from being mixed with the sound from the other end.