Unfortunately, we are all at risk of having our equipment stolen. Our gear is often small, highly portable and of high value, which makes it very attractive to thieves. Over my 50+ years in the business, thieves have hit my gear only once, and I was eventually able to recover all of it. The theft was a “grab and go” at the Las Vegas airport, as I was returning from a convention. I credit my “good luck” to following these tips.
My car has tinted windows and I cover equipment with a piece of black cloth. The gear can’t be seen and the vehicle appears to be empty.
I try to load and unload inside a garage or other secure location so I don’t advertise what is in the vehicle. Potential thieves can’t steal what they can’t see.
Each item has an identification label with my name and cell phone number. (Not my address, though. I don’t want to tell them where they can find more loot.) My stolen items were recovered after a citizen saw the labels at a flea market and alerted the police.
Speaking of police, they can react faster if you have a complete inventory, including serial numbers and photos. Keeping a printout of this information makes reporting the theft much easier and more effective.
LensTag.com is a free service that lets you register your camera and lenses to their online database. They also have a listing of stolen items that you should check before buying anything.
What goes around comes around. Stephen Cabrero offers a way to store hard drives that may be amusing to those of us who have been in the business long enough to remember the VHS era. It turns out that those old VHS cases are just about the right size to store hard drives. And we get to repurpose something most of us have laying around.
Grocery Bags Bag It
Pack a few plastic grocery bags with your gear. This simple tip, submitted by David Wolf, often comes in handy. David says, “We love using plastic bags to cover our cameras and phones when we are caught in an unexpected downpour.” For cameras that are not weather resistant, a plastic bag rubber-banded around the front of the lens barrel can be a shot-saver in bad weather. Plastic bags can also help keep equipment clean when working at the beach or in a dusty environment. When on the road, they’re great as laundry or garbage bags.
If you’re having a problem with glare from a glass-framed picture in your shot, you’ll need to angle the glass so the reflection isn’t aimed at your lens. If the offending picture is mounted on a wall, change its angle by wadding up some paper and wedging it between the wall and the top of the picture, thus angling the glare down and away from the lens. Works like a charm. This same idea works when a wall-hung mirror in the shot is showing cameras or crew.
Some inexpensive microphone table stands tend to slide when used on a podium with a slanted top. Marvin Curcio of Denver, Co., suggests applying a bead of silicone sealant along the edge to make them non-slip and to keep them from rattling on a live podium.