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Tips to Clip: May 2015

Tripod Tighteners

Save those plastic pads that come with a new pack of DVDs or CD-ROMs—they make a great tensioner for camera plates. Ken DeWoody of San Diego writes that many cameras twist a bit on the tripod because it’s tough to get a tight fit between the camera and the quick-release camera plate. Ken puts the pad between the camera and the mounting plate (as pictured), making it easy to tighten it up for a nice, snug fit that is still easy to remove.

Mirror Mirror in My Kit

Now is still a good time to look at back-to-school supplies for an inexpensive plastic locker mirror. Tipster Marc Longwood keeps one in his go bag because they are unbreakable acrylic, usually have a magnet glued to the back and are useful for last minute primping by talent. They are also handy for reflecting splashes of light on a product, person or set.

Camera Pen Pointer

Tim Wilson of Sequim, Wash., frequently shoots undercover video with a camera hidden in his ballpoint pen. The problem, he writes, was that the pen cam would tilt and not stay level in a loose, floppy shirt pocket. He found the solution in a clear plastic pocket protector, which is appropriate for the location and does not blow his cover. Now the camera stays facing forward and level.

Meeting Coverage Solution

A solution to the problem of microphone table stands with missing rubber feet picking up contact sound from the tabletop (which we talked about in the “Meeting Coverage” tip in last month’s column) comes to us from Neil Rose of Hilo, Hawaii.

Neil’s solution, which fixed our problem, also addresses the fact that those same stands tend to slip down the slanted top surface of most lecterns. He put a bead of silicone sealant along the edge to make them non-slip and to keep them from rattling.

Face the Heat

Many photographers use Rosco’s Thermashield to keep their lights from doing damage when photographing heat-sensitive material. It is important to install the shield with the coated side facing the lamp. Each sheet is marked so that users can identify the coated side, but what do you do if the label becomes detached or the sheet is cut so that the label is no longer available? When tested with an ohm meter, only the coated side (the side that must face the lamp) will be conductive.

Careful Glass Cleaning

When cleaning the glass that covers framed artwork you will be shooting, be sure to spray glass cleaner on the cleaning cloth rather than directly on the glass. This way, you can prevent the cleaner from running down the glass and seeping onto the picture behind it.

Narration Notes

You can cut down the sound of rustling paper when recording narration from a script by not stapling the pages. Be sure to number the pages in case they are dropped.

Printing revisions of the script on different colored paper makes it easy to ensure everyone is reading the same version.

If the narration is being done as a bridge in the field, remind the talent to hold the script at eye level. When it is held lower, the narrator’s head tips down and, especially if a lavalier microphone is being used, his voice will sound different than when he was looking at the camera.

Shooting the Stars

Star filters, the gadgets that produce radiating lines of light around bright objects, are most commonly used to give candles, stage lights or street lights an arty look. They are also very expensive. Producer Asher Yates of Chicago writes that we can achieve almost the same effect without investing a fortune. Cut a circle from a piece of aluminum window screening and attach it to the front of your camera’s lens as if it were a filter.

Tips Archive

You can check out previous “Tips to Clip” columns online by going here.