I travel a lot with my Sony camcorder, and wanted something durable to protect it. I found hard-shell cases are hard to come by. The ones I did find were pricey, making them even harder to come by! Sony’s hard-shell camcorder case retails at $244.99!
Then I was at an estate sale and noticed one of the old-fashioned hard-shell weekend suitcases. This case has practically the same dimensions as Sony’s case, but was priced at only $1.00! I have since worn that first case out (the latch finally gave out after three years of wear and tear), but I recently purchased a replacement at a garage sale for $0.50. I find these cases give ample room for my DCR-TRV11 camcorder, as well as extra tapes and batteries, assorted cables and other accessories. If desired, you can add your own foam dividers for just a few dollars more. As an added bonus, having traveled around the country with it, I find it attracts less attention than a case stamped with the words SONY, so it is less of a target for thieves.
Filling In Sunshine
While shooting family event video outdoors in bright sunlight, there are lots of harsh shadows, contrasts and strong back light making people’s faces dark. Exposing for faces washes out the background. I use my 100w DC video light with a #80A (or #80B) filter attached to it. It perfectly balances the daylight for color and fills in the shadows. A 52mm filter was cheap and the proper size for my video light and fit well between the bulb and diffuser glass.
I do on-site video and have solved one major problem. Wires and cables must be secured to prevent tripping and to keep them out of sight. The gaffer’s tape normally used for this is quite expensive. Duct tape and regular masking tape both leave sticky residue that is very difficult to remove and therefore undesirable. The newest generation of masking tape, generally referred to as the “blue stuff”, holds well enough to do the job and removes cleanly. These products include Scotch Long-Mask Masking Tape, Manco 7 Day Clean Release Masking Tape and Manco Perfect Release Plus Painter’s Tape. For surfaces such as soft carpet where adhesion is reduced, use the railroad track method: cross ties about 6 inch long and 1 foot apart perpendicular to the cable, covered by a long piece parallel to the cable.
Stop the Slides
I have a small digital camera. When I would set the camera down on the table or the hood of the car, it wanted to slide off. The weight of the strap was enough to pull it off the table. I came up with a solution for this problem that I thought I would share. We get pieces of equipment that come with sets of four little rubber feet with adhesive backing. I put three of these feet on the bottom of my camera, behind the tripod mount area. This camera doesn’t slide anywhere now.
If you don’t have these things lying around like I do, you might find them available at Radio Shack or your hardware store. The rubber bumpers for cabinet doors are similar also. You all probably have some of these feet in a catch-all box, as we do: stick them on one of your cameras. No one wants to see their camera slide off the table and hit the floor.
Once I have completed a project in Final Cut Pro (or any other editing application, for that matter), I ‘lock’ all of the video and audio tracks. This way, nothing can be inadvertently bumped out of sync or deleted while playing through the timeline.
Fit Like a T-Shirt
If you are editing in a dusty area, try draping an old T-shirt over the screen of your monitor when it’s turned off to help minimize the amount of dust that screens attract. A large T-shirt works great for most sizes of LCD panels. If you still use a CRT-based monitor, a terrycloth towel performs the same function.