Coiling Video Cables to Avoid Kinks & Tripod Tips

  1. News and Technology with Andrew & Mark
    • Canon delivers a one-two punch announcing a new high-definition and a new dual-layer DVD camcorder.
    • JVC and Verbatim are the first out of the gate with new dual-layer DVD-R media.
    • Contour 3D
    • Maya 8
    • Roundup of all computer manufacturers currently offering a new core 2 Duo workstation.
    • Contest updates with Filmerica and DV Guru
    • Product Prop: Hitachi DVX3300a camcorder
  2. Tips and Techniques with Jennifer & Brian
    • Unravelling the mysteries of coiling cables.
    • And some tips for your "sticks"... tripod do's and don'ts
  3. Video Profile with Charlie & Andrew
    • Take 20
      Buttercup: The Official Trailer
      By producer Justin Kontz, of Gallup, NM
  4. Viewfinder with Matt York & Derek
    • Discussion of the metamorphism from the graphic arts to editing video.

Video Transcript

Coiling Video Cables to Avoid Kinks and Tripod Tips Brian Peterson: Hi, I’m Brian Peterson. Jennifer O'Rourke: And I’m Jennifer O’Rourke. Brian Peterson: And we’ve lost the table. Jennifer O'Rourke: Yes! Brian Peterson: Where did the table go? Jennifer O'Rourke: Look, we’ve got legs. Brian Peterson: And we’re wearing pants, how about that? Jennifer O'Rourke: Yes, that’s good. Brian Peterson: Yeah. Hey, we’re going to talk about two things here. But this, let’s spend some time on tripods, because- Jennifer O'Rourke: Show and tell. Brian Peterson: We’ve got tripods in front of us. And then we’re going to talk about some tips, in fact there’s one tip on cabelling, coiling cable. Jennifer O'Rourke: Coiling cable. That’s a hard one to say. Brian Peterson: Cabelling coil. Yeah, we’ll figure that one by the time we’re done. Jennifer O'Rourke: It’s really important little tip, too. Brian Peterson: Yeah. So, let’s start with tripods. Jennifer O'Rourke: What I want to get into with tripods is a lot people don’t understand the most important thing about buying a tripod is how it’s going to work with you or your particular camera. This one in particular, I put here, it’s a small tripod, it’s very lightweight, good for a small camera. You wouldn’t want to put a large one. I had a Sony VX2100, and why this wouldn’t work is, in good part, it’s a still camera. It’s, even though you can use some still cameras tripods, you don’t really want to because they usually will have a longer plate for the larger cameras, and this one does not, so you put your camera on there, and you have no way of moving it, making balance. Brian Peterson: Balancing it, yeah. Jennifer O'Rourke: For the lens, or the back end of it. But what I do like about this one is that it has a quick release, and that’s really important feature to have on any camera. That you can be able to release the plate and stick it back on there easily. Because, if you can’t pull it off, and you need to get a shot really quickly, and you’re not able to with release on there. but,- Brian Peterson: I mean, this is perfect for doing hand held. Jennifer O'Rourke: Right. Brian Peterson: Especially if you’re in an active environment. In fact, pretty much like we have Andrew here. Jennifer O'Rourke: Andrew is doing some close ups for us. Brian Peterson: Doing a close up with camera. This is great in an environment where you just don’t know what’s going to happen. Sometimes, a lot of events, even weddings sometimes, happens to have such an event where you need just to rip these things right off. So… Jennifer O'Rourke: Stick it on. Yeah. And again, another reason why I picked this one is that it’s really easy to show how lightweight it is. And if you’re going off into the hills or something, you want something lightweight. But something, sometimes that’s not always a good thing. And we prefer the heavier tripods from most of our use. Yes, it’s a lot of weight to carry around, but the solid, the more solid it is, the better off your shot will be. And, we have this little puppy here. This one has the quick release that we talked about, that moves back and forth. We loosen it up, oops, loosen it up, and you’ve got, push it off this way. Thank you! For your balance on your camera. Brian Peterson: So, this is really important, especially with camcorders that are really unbalanced to start with. And I don’t want to name names, but let’s say XL 1 or XL 2. We’ve got huge lens out in front, and it they’re fantastic camcorders, but they really don’t balance all that well, depending on what kind of accessories you have. And so, having a balanced plate or the dove tail, a quick release come in various different things, so, really, really critical, so… But I think you had another tip, on how to get a couple? Because they disappear. Jennifer O'Rourke: Yes, they disappear. Always get an extra plate, whenever you start, whenever you buy your tripod, if you buy it online, you buy it from one of our advertisers, always get an extra plate. It’s worth the money because you’ll have one on your camera, one in your car, and then you’re not going to have what you need at that moment. Brian Peterson: Yeah. Jennifer O'Rourke: At the moment you need it. Brian Peterson: And it’s never happened to us when we’ve been somewhere, affording to not have a plate, right? Jennifer O'Rourke: Sometimes we can’t start the show, because we can’t find the plate to the tripod. Brian Peterson: Right. Jennifer O'Rourke: While I have this tripod, it’s really a nice one to do this little demo on. Lot of people will open the tripod up, spread it open like that, and then pull down their legs one at a time, and what you really need to do is to do it quick and then buy it up, have it closed together. Lower them that way. And this is, I love this one because it lowers so easily. And then level it out. It’s just a little bit easier. Brian Peterson: A lot easier. And then reverse is true. When you’re packing up and going home, again, you can pull them all back together, turn it back around, and here we go. Ready to go. Jennifer O'Rourke: This is good for running gun, too. Yeah. Brian Peterson: It’s really good. Just make sure they’re compact when you open and close, of course, just watch out for your fingers. That’s a manufactured, just came out of there… Jennifer O'Rourke: Yeah. Yeah. But, while I’m on that, while I have this tripod in my hand, I’ll just, I just want to show you one little tip about shooting in terrain. If you are shooting in weird, rough terrain that’s not leveled, lower all three of your legs, but only lock down two of them. With the two locked down, get your bubble level, however you want your levels to be, and then the third one is loose enough that you can set it on terrain like that, figure out what the level is going to be, and then lock it down. Brian Peterson: Yeah. And, now, most of these have bubble levels, or what are called spirit levels. And, so, spirit level will always tell you what level is, because frequently, you’ll be in the hills, it’s kind of hard to know. You can kind of get a sense of how you’re standing, but a spirit level is critical. Now, even in a studio, when you’re doing a fast set up, you’ll be able to decide what the spirit level is with the bubble in it is a fantastic thing to have. In fact, some have two, one on each axis. This one has one, actually, on a tripod itself, and on the head. So, nice to have both of them. Jennifer O'Rourke: Yeah. And what’s nice to having one of both is when you have it on your tripod itself, level the tripod bubble, obviously, this is not really leveled, but level the tripod first, then level the head, then put your camera on. Don’t try to level it all with a camera on. But if the tripod is leveled, then you can play around with the head a little bit, because if you get the head level going this direction, but the legs aren’t leveled, as soon as you make your pan like this, your shot is off level. So, you want to level the legs, and then the head. And then not mess around with head, because it’s a little harder to level that one. Brian Peterson: All right. Look, we didn’t really talk about materials yet. We’ve got really two materials, but there’s three. So, we’ve got carbon fiber, we’ve got aluminum, and you know, there’s still some sticks out there – wood. So, wood exactly is still a very, very appropriate material and even some of the higher end sticks or tripods are still used out of wood. You know, there’s one factor about the wood that the others don’t have. It has sound dampening quality, so- Jennifer O'Rourke: Oh, I hadn’t thought about that. Brian Peterson: So, you can bump it on anything or if you’re in a environment where there’s actually some vibration in the floor, let’s say it’s inside of an older house, and you’ve got people walking, that actually does absorb some of the sound. Now, that’s not critical if you don’t have sound on camera, but if your camera is somehow connected to, or the sound comes out of your camera, that becomes an issue. So, one, there’s other factors, too, but for the most part, you’ve got aluminum and you’ve got carbon fiber. Jennifer O'Rourke: Mostly. Brian Peterson: And carbon fiber usually, of course, being a little bit more expensive. Jennifer O'Rourke: Right. And speaking of legs, you’ve got a style like this, that’s called crutch, because it looks like a crutch. And you’ve got the other leg that is called what, Brian? Brian Peterson: It’s just called a straight tube, because it’s designed in a straight tube design. Now, the advantages of the crutch are the unreputedly, greater stability, a cross kind of this twisting action. It does resist twisting a little bit more, and if you’re someone who likes to shoot with a fairly stiff pan, and to hold control, this is actually just for pan. If you like that friction high, a crutch design probably is a good idea, because it will resist that twisting. Jennifer O'Rourke: And speaking of heads. Fluid head. What’s the difference between fluid head, and fluid-like head? Brian Peterson: All right. A fluid-like head is going to be working primarily on friction, it’s going to have some sort of lubricant between a couple of hard plates, and it is like in the sense that it only feels good in the first year or two, and only in conditions that are not too hot or too cold. Get it too hot, get it too cold, it’s going to be really hard or really, really loose, and over time that lubricant will kind of ooze out, and it will be hard to work. And fluid heads is just that. It works on a fluid design, on the interior portion. It’s much more expensive and… Jennifer O'Rourke: and the plates don’t rub. Brian Peterson: the plates don’t rub together. You’ll know pretty much by how much you spent if it’s a real fluid head. Jennifer O'Rourke: You can replace the head if you want to, don’t think your tripod is ruined you have to buy a new tripod. Contact your manufacturer, most of them will sell you a plate, a head, without the legs, and then you save yourself about half the money of what you paid for that tripod originally. Brian Peterson: You know, I think we’re going to come back to doing part two of tripods, because we’ve got a lot more. But there’s one more tip that we want to show you today, and that’s coiling cable. So, let’s make some room. I’ll let you take that out. Jennifer O'Rourke: I’ll get the cables. Brian Peterson: Right. So. Here we go with standard 50ft audio cable. Now, back in the day, when I was actually going to school, a professor, Mr Daniel Oatum, in fact if he’s still around, and I think he is, if he’s watching, I thank you, Dan, for putting me on the straight and narrow. When you’re in a rush, and you’re always in a rush when you’re setting up, or at least that seems to be in my case, you want to not deal with kink or twisted, or you know, kinked cables in any way. So, what we do is we do an under and over technique. And I’m going to show you how to do that. And I’m going to back up here for just a moment and actually undo one that has been done correctly. Let’s see if it works. Watch out! Jennifer O'Rourke: Uh-oh! Brian Peterson: So the idea is to spread it out without a kink in it, and it looks like that worked pretty good. Jennifer O'Rourke: Wow! I’m impressed here. Brian Peterson: So, Mr Oatum wouldn’t actually let us graduate in the class without one of those. And he did it with a 100ft cable, so he was pretty tough. Jennifer O'Rourke: Wow, a tough guy. Brian Peterson: All right, so let me get a close up on this. We’re going to bring end into the hand, really tight, here, and then we’re going to make one loop. It can be whatever loop length you feel comfortable will result in a similarly shaped circle. So, here we go. We’ve got one loop and that was over. Came in, went over. And the next one, I’ll come up and I’ll twist it with my fingers a little bit and come under. See how that’s coming under this one? And lay it up right next to it. And you can see I’m pinching it with my thumb and my forefinger, so they relatively in position here. I’m going to go over, that’s over, and again, I’m twisting the cable to make that happen, and then under, twisting the cable just ever so slightly to make it lay just like that. All right. So I’m going to speed up just a little bit. That’s over, and that’s under. Then I’ll do the twisting again, over, see, I’m keeping it kind of in series? And under. All right. I’m going to pick up the pace, I’ll finish this whole thing and we’ll give it a test. So, over, under, over, under. And usually you want to make sure that this is all one long strip so you don’t step on it like I was doing. Over, under, over, under, over. Now, usually you’ll get to the point like these two are kind of not connected exactly. You want to make sure that you have them on the correct side. See how this one comes to this side, this one comes to that side. You don’t want to cross them over. Now, some people like connecting them if they’re made of edges, or made with ends like this. It does work that way. And a little cable tied, it can either be a piece of string, or this is just a Velcro tie. You want to lock it down fairly tight. Now, if they don’t connect, that’s no problem. You can just make sure that you keep the right the same size, the same size, one to the other, they can hang just like that, and just tie them together again. And again, keeping it tight is important, because you want to have them at either sides. Because if you switch the sides, what’s going to happen, when you undo it, you’re going to have one big know. All right, let’s see if it worked. I’ve got that side, I’ve got this side, I’m going back up, we’re going to throw it. Jennifer O'Rourke: All right. Brian Peterson: Uhm, you know, it looks like, there you go. Jennifer O'Rourke: Ah, you rode that tripod. Brian Peterson: We’ve got a straight cord, and I’m going to let somebody else coil it because I’m spent for the day. So, anyway, those were the tips for today. Join us next week. We’ll finish up doing tripods. Jennifer O'Rourke: Yeah, there’s a lot more. Brian Peterson: Practice the cable, see if you can make it happen. Jennifer O'Rourke: It’s really a good idea, too. Because when you end the show, you want to wrap up everything really quickly, and that’s the wrong thing you want to wrap up quickly is the cable. Brian Peterson: because the setup is going to be really slow. All right, that’s it for this week. See you next week.