Avoid Camcorder Theft

With the high incidence of camcorder theft among tourists, its sometimes necessary to use unusual tactics to ward off criminals. While on vacation with your video gear, instead of using a professionally made camcorder bag, find a suitable diaper bag. A soft, rugged container thats made to store clean and dirty diapers, talcum, clean wipes and other sundries should work fine for storing a camcorder, lens accessories, blank tapes and perhaps even a collapsible tripod. Thieves will usually leave such an item alone, because theyre not interested in stealing dirty diapers.


8 Tips for Making a Stellar First Video

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Morris Osedo

Kailua, Hawaii

Par for the Course

Serious tripods are a lifetime investment, needing all the protection you can give them. Dedicated bags and hard-shell carrying cases are expensive and sometimes difficult to procure, due to limited production quantities.

As an alternative, try storing your tripod in a golf bag. Most feature a number of zippered side pockets suitable for storing mounting plates, battery packs and other accessories. The shoulder straps are strong and designed for walking long distances with a heavy load. Some golf bags include a rigid plastic travel case with wheels for shipment on airlines. Many suitable golf bags can be had for around $20 at a discount pro shop; plastic shipping cases are available for $50 and up.

John Nemeth

Brookings, Oregon

Musical Options

If you desire an easily recognizable song for your video, but you don’t have a budget for using copyrighted music, you might want to consider music from the public domain.

For more information about the public domain, a list of songs in the public domain, and links to other related sights, go to http://ne1.bright.net/pdinfo/pdm/ on the Web. The site contains a wealth of information. If you still have questions after reading all of the information available, you can always leave questions via e-mail.

Bryan Mecklenburg

Hudsonville, Michigan

The Wedding Freeze

When videotaping a wedding, one thing I like to do is to use the still function of the camcorder after the church service is over and the wedding party is being photographed. Be sure to wait for the photographer to set up each shot; then, when they cue the people for the photograph, compose your shot and either use the still function of your camcorder or record a few seconds each time the flash goes off. This gives the bride and groom a preview of their wedding photographs, since the hard copies usually reach the married couple many weeks after the wedding video. This also gives you plenty of extra material to work with in putting together the final edit.

Chris Rammacher

Ashville, New York

Stability Solutions

Heres a simple way to gain extra stability while shooting pans from a tripod, especially if yours doesnt have a good fluid head for smooth movements. With a pair of hose clamps, securely fasten a broomstick to the tripods handle. By increasing the arc of the panning movement, the system requires less energy from the operator to execute smooth, jerk-free movements. If you use a portable monitor on the shoot, you can follow the action in football games or other sporting events with ease.

Mike Competillo

Groton, New York

Low-tech Logging

My system for logging previously-recorded video footage should please videographers at any level. First, label each tape with tape number, length of recorded material and camera number (if appropriate). Next, while searching through footage, log each shot or series of related shots on a separate index card. Be sure to include as much information as possible on each individual index card–description, date and time, tape and camera number, real-time counter or time code numbers for in and out points, shooting conditions, miscellaneous notes, etc.

This system may not be as powerful as some computer-based loggers, but its easy to rearrange, portable, requires no electricity and frees up your computer time for other tasks.

Yvonne Keller

Wescosville, Pennsylvania

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