Secure Equipment by Rescuing Twist Tags

Your Tips

from Videomaker readers

Secure It

In the never-ending pursuit of increased
creativity, there is virtually no end to the amount of equipment videographers
can acquire. As a result, it’s sometimes difficult to keep track of all
those wires and patch cords connecting everything together. Fortunately,
I’ve found a way to manage the "rat’s nest" of video and audio
cabling that’s easy–and best of all–free! Those little plastic price tabs
that are often used to secure the twisted ends of plastic bags containing
baked goods also make great cable tags on which you can write with indelible
felt-tip markers or affix stickers. It’s easy to slip them on the end of
a cable, and just as easy to remove them whenever a wiring change is made.
They come in a variety of colors, too. Recycle those bags, and start saving
the tags!

Robert E. Rayner, Jr.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Old-Style 3D

If you’ve got an A/B fader on your editing equipment and two camcorders,
you can shoot amazing old-style 3D videos. Just set up two cameras side
by side on tripods, then apply a red filter to one camera and a blue filter
to the other. The cameras must be angled slightly inward and both must be
level. Send the two signals through your fader, set exactly in the middle,
and into an external VCR to record (if you record on two separate tapes
editing will be difficult later). Now dig out your old 3D glasses and enjoy!

Rob Ring

St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada

Wildlife Wonders

We live in the "boonies" in northern Ontario and, consequently,
have frequent wildlife marauders (raccoons, foxes, black bears, etc.) wandering
around the place at night.

We wondered just how we could get some pictures of these fellows without
having to get up in the middle of the night on sentry duty. So, we extended
the base (using a commercially available adapter) of one of the sensor floodlights
on our deck and plugged our video camera’s AC adapter into it.

We located the camera inside the house to have a clear view of the deck
and put a piece of tape over the record button so it would start recording
as soon as it powered up. Now, whenever the sensor turns on the lights,
it also turns on the video camera which captures the activities of our visitors.

We’ve got pictures of some red foxes, one very large black bear beating
the bejabbers out of our garbage can, and one raccoon climbing the edge
of the garage door to gain access to our bird feeders which are hung from
the garage soffits.

Bill Harnell

Ontario, Canada

Label It!

I take the lift-off numbers found with the label sheet of a newly purchased
VHS cassette and use them to number my camcorder batteries. Since all my
camcorder batteries look alike, I also use the numbers to write the date
of purchase on the batteries. Using this method, I can easily rotate their
use in the camcorder and identify those that are getting weak due to age.

Richard R. Plum

Kingsport, Tennessee

The infrared remote control unit included with many camcorders is a very
handy feature. Many videographers will have likely already figured out that
the infrared signal can be bounced off a light-colored wall, mirror or other
reflective surface for those times when it isn’t practical for the operator
to be positioned in front of the camera.

In some applications, such as tripod-mounted macro videography, there is
no clear line to such reflective surfaces. In these cases, simply tape a
small white card to the camera at an appropriate angle to bounce the infrared
beam toward the receptor on the camera. This will make it easier to shoot
without disturbing the delicate framing of tiny subjects.

Gary Venables

Victoria, British Columbia

Bead It

I videotape weddings, and when I have my camcorder up high on the tripod,
it’s sometimes hard to find the manual focus and white balance buttons in
a hurry. To solve this problem, I glued some small white beads found at
a craft store to the center of each of these buttons. I picked white beads
to make them visible in low light, and used a small dab of super glue to
affix each bead in place. Now, I find it much easier to locate these crucial
buttons in a hurry.

Randall Oprenchak

Woodridge, Illinois

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