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Tips to Clip: November 2013

Script Security

Scripts can be dropped, jumbled, revised, confused and otherwise mixed up—unless, of course, you follow these tips. The most important one is to print a large page number and revision number at the top of each sheet so they be quickly reassembled if (when) they are dropped.

You can easily tell whether everyone is using the same version of a script if material is printed on a different colored paper each time the document is revised.

Index cards (3×5 or 4×6 sizes) are handy if you’re going to be reading at a lectern. Make them drop-proof by punching a hole in one corner of the stack and attaching a beaded keychain. The chain provides more flexibility than the ring many speakers use.

Part Picker

During a recent equipment repair, Jane Borges of Manteca, Calif., knocked over a container of small parts and found herself with a lot of very small non-magnetic parts hiding in the carpeting. Her solution was to put a piece of nylon stocking over the end of her vacuum’s hose. She then turned the vacuum on to retrieve the parts. Thanks for sharing, Jane.

Clothes Make the Man (Or Woman)

When I shared several tips about what people appearing on camera should wear, it brought this important comment from Houston producer Philip Booth.

“Your comments about dressing talent were right on, but how about the crew? Although they must be comfortable, their dress and personal grooming should reflect a professional attitude and be appropriate to the setting— nice shirt, clean pants and good shoes.

“I have seen shooters show up to cover a college commencement in shorts, grimy T-shirt and sandals. I don’t know if I would hire that person for my next project.”

I know of many producers who share those sentiments. Remember, you have to get hired to do the job before any of the tips we talk about can help you.

Fighting Filters

If you have ever had a screw-on filter stuck on your lens so tight it seems a pipe wrench is the only thing that will get it loose, read on.

Try putting a rubber band around the filter. Or, as the technicians at Fujinon’s lens repair facility suggested, wear a rubber dishwashing glove to give your fingers a better grip.

Another tip is to wrap a piece of cloth tape (like gaffer’s) around the filter in a clockwise direction, then pull the end to unscrew it.

Empty Net

I attended an awards ceremony last week at which large projection screens gave the audience a much better view of the speakers. There was only one camera shooting the event, which normally would not have been a problem. Unfortunately, the producers failed to tell the emcee to stay at the lectern until the next speaker got there, so we were treated to many shots of what hockey fans would call an “empty net.”

Another solution for the problem, besides telling the host to stay at the podium until the next speaker arrived, would have been for the emcee to leave by the same path on which the new speaker was approaching. This would allow the camera to follow him until he passed the speaker, and then follow the new speaker back to the lectern.