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Tips to Clip: January 2016

More on Cable Ties

Our thanks and a Tipster Tool Tote go out to John Wetmore for sharing this adventure. John says, “I have long followed your advice about putting cable ties on the male end of audio cables to keep them away from the microphone. However, I recently had that tip backfire on me. I was filming an interview in gale force winds in Christchurch, New Zealand. I had secured the tripod by hanging a bag of equipment from it to act as ballast but I hadn’t secured the end of the cable tie, and it was long enough to blow in front of the lens during the interview. Fortunately, I had lots of B-roll to go with the interview. And I now double check the cable ties when shooting in windy weather.”

Weather or Not, We Shoot

It would be nice if we could limit our shooting to bright, sunny days, but that’s not the job. The winter season is now upon us, and we must keep our gear dry while working in the rain and snow.

If you don’t have a purpose-made rain cover, try protecting your camera with a large plastic trash bag. Cut a small hole in the bag for the lens and tape it down. Your hands and maybe your head can go in through the open side. You’re ready to shoot.

Note that this setup works a lot better if you can find clear plastic bags.

Battery Backup

If you have a wireless receiver that is powered by the camera, then you also have a good spot to store a spare battery. Scott Dietz, chief photographer at KSNW-TV in Wichita, Kan., receives a Tipster Tool Tote for sharing that he always keeps a 9-volt battery in his receiver’s unused battery compartment, but placed backwards in the slot. He says, “Then I have a backup for my transmitter battery if it happens to go out.”

Christmas Lights

As you prepare to put your Christmas decorations away for the year, think about holding onto a string or two of lights. They can provide low-level safety illumination along backstage paths.

Fastened around the inside of an equipment rack, a string of white lights will become a shadowless work light.

Hidden behind the books or other objects on a shelf, they will add a snap and separation to your lighting setup.

You can avoid tangles and knots in the strings you will be storing by wrapping them around a piece of cardboard.

Plane Facts

Russ Villas of San Diego asks, “I will be shooting through the windows of an airplane. Do you have any tips?”

There are two considerations that are specific to shooting on an airplane. First, don’t let the camera or your hand touch the window because the plane’s vibration will be transferred to your image. Second, be sure your overhead reading light is off.

You can usually avoid showing the dirt and scratches on the window by throwing them out of focus. Get as close as you can to the window without touching it and set your focus just short of infinity.

Other than these points, the same tips for shooting through any type of glass also apply here.

Wear black or dark clothing. If you wear a light shirt, the chances of reflections in the glass are much greater.

A circular polarized filter may help darken the sky and reduce reflections, but be careful—they can sometimes create moiré patterns.

Speaker Spotting

At many corporate meetings I find I am providing I-MAG (large screen) video support on constantly changing panel discussions. I prepare a seating chart on a 3×5 card and tape it to my camera to keep track of the speakers.

If you have any input toward preparation for the presentation, suggest that name plates be printed on off-white or gray stock, which will make them photograph better.

Many moderators don’t realize how much easier it will make the camera person’s job if they seat the speakers in the order they will be introduced instead of skipping around.

Share Your Tip

We will send you a Tipster Tool Tote if you share a favorite production tip or question with your fellow professionals. Just drop me an e-mail at All submissions become the property of Reizner & Reizner. None can be returned.