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Tips to Clip: October 2014

The White Glove Treatment

I was working camera at a large corporate meeting last week and noticed something unusual about the A-2 (audio assistant). He was wearing white cloth gloves as he fitted the speakers with their lavalier microphones. I asked Ed Hoehn to explain. He says he was originally concerned about germ transmission but felt that using latex gloves would have freaked people out. He adds, however, “Since I’ve started donning the white gloves, speakers, ladies especially, seem much less intimidated as I make necessary adjustments to place the microphone.”

And besides, they add a touch of elegance.

Cap That Light

Wear a baseball cap when working a camera with a top-mounted viewfinder to avoid looking into the ceiling lights.

E-Mail Error

When communicating via e-mail, follow this basic rule shared by Jean Hogan of Brooklyn, NY: Avoid vague, unclear subject lines. Generic subject lines like “Hey” or “Meeting” or “Question” require recipients to open the e-mail to see what it’s about (often they won’t bother) and make it harder to search for relevant e-mails later on. Instead, use specific, detailed subject lines to speed comprehension and save time.

This practice is particularly important when senders reply to messages several times. Unless you change it, the subject line of all the e-mails will be exactly the same. Keep the original to maintain the thread, but add one or two words to make each message unique.

A Sticky Situation

Wig tape is a very thin, double-sided adhesive tape normally used by makeup artists for—you guessed it—keeping wigs on people’s heads. But it is also handy for videographers. Mike Saxton of Lutz, Fla., uses it to secure small lavalier mics in clothing. He says the tape also keeps clothing layers from rubbing against each other and making noise that could be picked up by the mic. I’ve found that a piece of wig tape will also keep an actor’s wayward necktie centered and looking neat.

Halloween Goodies

Halloween is coming around again, which is a great time to pick up seasonal goodies that can be squirreled away for future video projects. Costumes, makeup, and special effects such as spider web material and glow-in-the-dark paint will all be available in stores this month and next. For extra savings, buy them during the after-Halloween sales.

Transcription Tip

The next time you need an interview or other project transcribed, Stuart Mark, a legal videographer in Los Angeles, says to try a local junior college or private school that offers court reporting classes. Their students are being trained to make verbatim transcripts and are often looking for variety in their practice projects.

A Cool Idea

“We can almost double the life expectancy of our expensive quartz lamps by not moving them until they are cool,” reports Roy Haworth of Santa Clara, Calif. At the end of a shooting session, the first thing Roy does is power down all the lighting instruments, but he packs everything else before lowering or moving the stands to give the filaments time to cool.

Lectern Signs

If you frequently tape speeches and classes, you know that someone will inevitably come in at the last moment and stick a big white sign identifying the sponsoring organization on the front of the lectern. They don’t seem to realize the contrast problem that big patch of white presents to a video camera or the way it makes the auto iris on a prosumer camera go nuts.

The problem can be alleviated if you have more than one instrument lighting the speaker. Use barndoors, cutters or a flag on all but one of them to shadow the lectern while still lighting the speaker behind it.