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Tips to Clip: March 2012

Rolling Case
The tubular tripod cases many of us use protect tripod legs adequately, but the cases tend to roll around the car trunk. Anthony Asquew of Santa Clara, Calif., keeps his in place with a piece of 2 x 4 lumber with a hook-and-loop fastener stuck to one side. The board is placed next to the case so the hooks engage the loops in the carpeting and everything stays in place.

Some time ago I shared another tripod storage tip in which Brian Henderson stored and shipped his tripod in a hard-shelled golf bag case. It not only protects the tripod and has wheels that make it easier to “schlep,” but he says some airlines do not charge when he checks his “golf clubs.”

Wire Writing
If you ever wanted to repatch the many cables in that maze of wires and AC cords under your editing desk, this tip may help. Producer Mike Saxton of Miami, Fla., can easily identify specific cables because he labels each of them with bread bag tags. The small plastic tags attach easily to wires and will accept identification marks from a Sharpie. Mike adds to the available information by using different colored tags to indicate the type of signal the wire carries.

The same tip will work at your computer station or anywhere you need to identify cables.

A Gripping Tale
You’re on a shoot, far from a toolbox, when a screw-in filter becomes stuck on the camera lens. How can you get it loose? Val Marks had this problem and came up with an ingenious solution. He found he could drape a piece of flexible wire, audio cable or even twin lead AC lamp cord over the filter; then, pinching the wire just below the lens, use it as a wrench to unscrew the filter.

I have had many lens mechanics tell me they frequently wear rubber kitchen gloves to give themselves a better grip when disassembling an uncooperative lens.

Now You See It…
When you are shooting text from a book or magazine, you’ll find that whatever is printed on the back side of the paper often shows through. You can usually clean up the image by placing a black piece of paper behind the page you’re shooting. The black causes the image on the reverse side to disappear by making it part of a single solid color. From the front, you can’t tell that it’s there.

$aving on $tudio $pace
A Boston video producer had been paying rent for a large studio that he used only once or twice a month. He finally decided that the benefit wasn’t worth the expense and moved into a smaller quarters. Of course, that raised the question of where to shoot the few productions that did require a large space.

The new office is in an industrial park that is home to almost 100 small businesses. Seeing an opportunity, the producer set up an arrangement with the management company under which he is kept informed of vacant units. When he needs extra space, he simply rents an unused office for a day or two.

The smooth cement floors and industrial electrical wiring of the units make them easy to work in, and a few pieces of seamless background paper hide any objectionable walls. Shooting in the evening avoids unwanted noise.

It’s a real win-win situation. The video producer gets inexpensive space and the management company gets a little income from vacant property provided by a known, reliable tenant.