5 Video Tools that Weren't Made for Video that You Should Keep in your Gear Bag

Video production is such a fun creative field, but the video tools and other gear can be costly. It seems every time you go on a shoot there's something more you have to buy. The tools for video production are very specific, and once you pack your gear bag and hit the road, you're sure you might have forgotten something. Don't sweat - make a list, check it twice, and always keep it in your bag to consult on every shoot. While you're doing that, here's a list of five items that you won't find on a video gear list, but are great to keep in your bag all the time.
  • Washer plate attached to key ring
    : These little circular discs that come packaged with nuts and bolts can be a videographer's best friend. You're in a hurry, you need to unscrew that bolt on the bottom of your tripod plate and you reach in your pocket for a dime - but come up with only a nickel. Washers are better - they have a center hole that is perfect to loop around your key ring making them always handy, and you can get them for nearly nothing... I found this one in the street as I was out for a walk.
  • Collection of clothespin on a light
    CLOTHESPIN: Otherwise known in the video and movie industry as C47s, a pack of these video tools of 25-50 clothespins runs around five to ten bucks and they are fabulous for so many purposes, from attaching gels to lights, holding scripts to a C-stand or tightening up loose clothing on a model. Don't buy the plastic variety, they're likely to melt on a hot light! 
  • Package of baby wipes
    BABY WIPES: Until I lived with small children, I never knew the myriad of benefits you can reap from baby wipes! As a video tool, wipes are better than dry paper towels or napkins that can scratch delicate elements and most baby wipes are alcohol-free, but check the contents list, first. Wipes are good for wiping down the outside of your camera and other gear after a shoot in the wild, cleaning smudges from a camera's lens, dusting down props and blotting off a sweaty talent!
  • Packets of Silica gel
    SILICA GEL: These video tools are usually disposed of but they're very beneficial to video producers. I throw little packets of desiccant agent, otherwise known as Silica, in my gear bags to absorb bits of moisture that might get in. If you store videotapes in shoe-box size bins, throw a couple of these in, too. You can get these for free when you buy shoes and they also often come packed in electronics packaging to keep moisture from getting in while traveling on boats overseas. If you buy it "raw" you can reactivate it over time to pull the moisture that has collected by laying it on a cookie sheet and placing it in a low temp oven for an hour. 
  • Gear ties holding an old camera attached to a C-stand
    RUBBER GEAR TWIST TIES: Everyone knows twist ties are good video tools for identifying your computer cords, and on location they're good for tying down extension cords and keeping gear labeled. But these super rubber twist ties from Nite Ize that I found at CES this year go beyond the usual twist ties. They are very sturdy, come in different colors and lengths and have so many uses. These rubber gear twist ties are great for corralling cables, packing gear and are tough enough to hang tools, and unlike zip-ties, they're reusable. A package of 4 runs around five bucks... I use these for everything; better than a dangerous bungee cord.
For more gear bag tips, check out "Five Reasons You Need More Than Just a Camera"  
Jennifer O'Rourke is Videomaker's managing editor.

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