Don’t Throw Away that Film Container Cap!
I have found that you can replace a 37mm lost lens cap efficiently and inexpensively with a 35mm photo film container cap. It works fine with a 37mm diameter UV filter. It does not fit on the outside of the filter but snaps in perfectly on the inside! I have only used Kodak containers but I assume it also works with other brands.
Mobile but Steady
I shoot with the Sony VX-1000 and I edit with a computer. Here is a tip that has helped my footage and possibly will be of help to your readers. In your publication you often talk about how important it is to use a tripod to give your shots a more professional look. I do use a tripod, but, more and more, I shoot with the monopod I’ve recently acquired. My monopod lets me move around more easily so I can create better and more interesting shots without shaking. I have bought tons of equipment, but for the price, the monopod is my best buy ever.
Michel Roy Lafontaine, Quebec Canada
To retain consistent time code, I always black the first 15 seconds or so of a new tape. I do this by running my Mini DV camcorder with the lens cap on and plugging a 1/8-inch stereo adapter into the "microphone in" socket. This turns off the on-camera mike so that I also have audio black along with video black.
After viewing or editing the tape, I fast forward to anywhere on the 15-second black section with the embedded time code. From there, I resume shooting and the camcorder continues with the recording established in the black insuring that there are no gaps on the tape. Before completing a tape, I repeat the procedure from the last scene to the end of the tape.
Sam S. Melnick
Michigan City, IN
Give ‘Em Some Slack
I offer an unglamorous tip that may save both dollars and aggravation. Look at all of your accessory electrical items from battery belts to microphones.
If any of them attach to your camcorder by wires or cables, they put strain relief on both ends of each cable. This usually means looping your cable near each end connector and then securing the looped cable with tape, plastic ties or black electrical tape.
Try to make the strain relief capable of some slippage for when it’s tugged. The idea is to give yourself a small amount of extra slack at the critical connector ends of electrical cords.
In moments of intense activity, it is all too easy to stretch a cable to its breaking point. However, with a little foresight and the built-in extra protection of additional strain relief, your cables and your project just might be saved in a tight situation.
Glenn Mitchell Coalinga, CA
Don’t Synchronize, Improvise!
Anyone who has tried to film a room where there is an operating TV or computer screen knows that you end up with an annoying flicker. There are devices that can synchronize a camera shutter with a TV screen, but they are very expensive. Quite by accident, I found that my Sony Digital8 camera has an Auto Exposure (AE) setting that does that particular trick. My model is a DCR-TRV310, but other similar models that have a "Sunset & Moon" function, should work just as well.
While in the AE sunset/moon mode, turn on the manual exposure system and adjust the camera for the best exposure of a TV screen. Keep in mind that whenever you’re in that mode, the lens is fixed at an infinity setting and the manual setting must be employed for close focusing.