Lens Cap Possibilities
Im sure many of us have lost a lens cap before; its just too easy to forget to put them in a pocket for safe keeping. Replacements are easy to improvise, though. Next time you go to the supermarket, bring a tape measure with you. Many food containers have plastic lids that press on and off; chances are, theres some product that has a lid that will match the outer diameter of your lens. Be sure to clean the lid carefully, and dont use anything that will touch the outer surface of the lens.
Four More Camera Sins
As a video instructor for a local college, I often make use of Jim Stinsons Seven Deadly Camera Sins. But to go along with Firehosing, Snapshooting, Backlighting, Motor-zooming, Head Hunting, Jogging and Upstanding, I like to add four more sins, bringing the total up to 11:
- Belly Shots. Operating your LCD-equipped camcorder at navel-level and looking up everyones nostrils.
- Vulgar Sounds: Snorting, hacking and clearing your throat while you shoot, only to discover that your microphone really is that sensitive.
- Foot Fetish: Forgetting to stop recording when you lower the camcorder and wasting most of the tape on your feet.
- UFOs: Securing the lens cap to the camera with the manufacturer-provided tether, only to let it blow in the wind in front of the lens while you shoot.
Brevard, North Carolina
Keep it Cool
While standing in line at the local supermarket the other day, I talked with a woman who was purchasing a $12 soft lunch bag–the kind designed to keep food cool during the day–for use as a video camera bag. She said it was better than a $30 camera bag she saw in a camera store, and cheaper besides.
If your camcorder lacks a headphone jack for listening in as you shoot–as all too many of them do–there still might be a relatively inexpensive way for you to monitor your audio. Most music stores sell tiny belt-mounted battery-powered instrument amplifiers that you can plug the line-level audio output from your camcorder into with the help of an RCA-1/4-inch adapter. These tiny amplifiers also have the added bonus of volume and tone controls, which might come in handy in the editing bay as well.
Jorge E. Torres
Mexico City, Mexico
Blow it Dry
Most camcorder dew problems occur when you move your camera from a cool, dry environment (such as an indoor room with air conditioning) to a hot, humid one (like the outdoor weather here in Florida in the summertime). To solve this problem, simply carry a small travel hair dryer along with your other video gear. When the dew light comes on, put the dryer on its lowest setting and direct the warm air onto the camcorder. In just a few minutes, the condensation will disappear and youll be ready to resume taping. No matter what kind of hurry youre in, though, dont use the higher settings, because the heat can easily distort the camcorders plastic parts and destroy the delicate circuitry within.
Coral Springs, Florida
Collect Your Own Stock Shots
As a documentary videographer, I frequently expend considerable energy and time to get the shot required for the video production Im working on. I find that after I have acquired that shot, I stop, draw a breath and look carefully at everything around me. Any thing I see of interest–a birds nest, a flower, a nice backlit cumulus cloud formation, a stop light, a revolving door, a reflection in a window–is a candidate for additional footage. To keep my life simple, I change tapes before I begin shooting these shots. Later, they may come in handy for use as cutaways or for building an archive of stock footage. Get enough of it and you may even have a collection of shots that you can sell.