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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old October 22nd, 2014, 09:27 PM   #1
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Odd...But Useful Gear

What odd pieces of gear have you bought or created that you find very useful? I'll start with a few.

I like my 10 centimeter tall (or so) mini tripods for mounting my Zoom H1 recorders near the feet of a string quartet or on top of DJ's speaker. These little things are inexpensive and take up practically no space in my bag.

I use an old AA battery to hold gaffer's tape in a compact way. First, I take a roll of gaffer's tape (the same width as the battery) and split it in half down the center. Next, I take one half of the tape and roll it around one end of the battery until the battery is wrapped in a roll measuring about 4 centimeters in diameter. Then, I roll tape around the other half of the battery in the same way. When I'm finished, I have a AA battery wrapped in two separate strips of gaffer's tape, each only a couple centimeters in width...which is perfect for my purposes. It fits nicely in my hip pack too.

I always carry a tiny flashlight, but I rarely use it. It sure comes in handy when I need it though.

How about all of you?
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Old October 22nd, 2014, 11:25 PM   #2
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Re: Odd...But Useful Gear

Take two old 35mm film (remember those?) containers, put them bottom to bottom and wrap a couple of feet of gaffer's tape around them to hold them together. Handy for storing small items like mic clips, windscreens, and you'll always have some gaffer tape with you.
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Old October 22nd, 2014, 11:55 PM   #3
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Re: Odd...But Useful Gear

I have never been a bag person so I have always had cases..I ended up with 3 specialised cases ..one for LED lighting, one for batteries and cards and one for audio gear and it was a pain trying to carry three so I got an aluminium technicians case just a wee bit bigger and combined the lot! Now for the bits and pieces I always have a flat blade stubby screwdriver in a cutout in the foam box ... It seems if I have to tighten a QR plate or change it I NEVER have the right size coin so my little yellow screwdriver always goes with me. Not really odd but it has saved me many times! I'm old school so yes, 35mm film canisters are the most useful containers around and the lid snaps on and stays on!! Just the right size to take a lav mic and cable and it keeps it neat and tidy.

Chris
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Old October 23rd, 2014, 03:07 AM   #4
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Re: Odd...But Useful Gear

Yep, I've gone back to using my little £1 springly tripods instead of more elaborate ballheads on flashgun stands to save space and weight. I've never been 100% happy with them though as its hard to get the H1 pointing upwards enough and stay stable.

I don't like re-wrapping gaffer tape for long term storage as it can get very difficult to remove over time. But I do have some wrapped around the leg of one tripod for emergencies.

Do you know you can get apps that turn your smartphone into a torch? I don't bother with carrying an actual torch any more :- )

I find coins easier to use than screwdrivers for plates etc but no they're never to hand. So again I have a large washer looped onto each of my tripods and lightstands which do the job.

I have lots of these cheap clamshell cases for lavs, fragile wires, etc. They are meant for headphones but have lots of uses:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

These velcro wriststraps meant for Gopros use are great for quickly attaching and detaching cables to venue mic stands etc:

Black Velcro WiFi Remote Hand Wrist Armband Strap Belt: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics

And this strong black blu-tac style putty works great for quick attachments of lavs to the ends of venue goosenecks etc and for securing cables to lecterns to keep it looking tidy:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I have some permanently stuck underneath my main tripod head for immediate use when setting up.

I don't like the sort of dividers you get in camera bags - very wasteful of space - so I use neoprene for small camcorders and heavy duty bubblewrap pouches for things like H1's.

Lots more where that came from :- )

Pete
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Old October 23rd, 2014, 04:37 AM   #5
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Re: Odd...But Useful Gear

I have a number of clear zip up pencil cases that I bought in a pound shop. They are great for lav mics and cables, and any small items that get lost in your camera bag. I also keep my audio recorders in them.

I also keep some very sticky Black Tack with me and a collection of small clamps and mounts for putting cameras anywhere. My smartphone stays in the camera bag with volume down, so that I can use it to monitor the GoPro, use as a torch and have used it as another sound recorder with a lav.

Rogef
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Old October 23rd, 2014, 04:37 AM   #6
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Re: Odd...But Useful Gear

Great ideas Peter. I have just got my order in for all 3.

Do you have any more tip?

Here is my offering. Torch pouch for holding voice recorders and clipping onto subjects who have no pockets.Torch Pouch with Belt Clip: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics

Clamp with spigots. I use this for both my Zoom H5 and H6 and occasionally my lights. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Walimex-Pro-...amp+and+spigot

And last but not least a mic signal splitter. I use it to split the in house microphone to get a clean feed into my recorder. https://www.studiospares.com/Microph...ter_403250.htm
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Old October 23rd, 2014, 05:02 AM   #7
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Re: Odd...But Useful Gear

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
I have a number of clear zip up pencil cases that I bought in a pound shop. They are great for lav mics and cables, and any small items that get lost in your camera bag. I also keep my audio recorders in them.
I have a whole bunch of similar but larger clear flexible plastic cases with a plastic zip. There were sold in the supermarket as boxes to holed make up & in 3-4 different sizes nested together. They are fantastic for holding everything including MFT lenses & cameras.
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Old October 23rd, 2014, 11:24 AM   #8
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Re: Odd...But Useful Gear

Winner of the "Most Excellent Thread" award for this week on DVi. Please keep it going!
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Old October 23rd, 2014, 03:20 PM   #9
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Re: Odd...But Useful Gear

One time I forgot/lost my wireless mic clip. I ran into a deli/marketplace nearby & was looking for options. I found an ID badge clip so I bought it. Then I asked to borrow scissors & cut off the plastic see thru 'badge' portion of it, leaving only the metal clip. I then clipped it onto the grooms tux, and ran the wire up & around in a way the mic stayed up. Kinda forget exactly but it worked in a pinch. I have always checked to make sure I have that clip now before each wedding. Even keep the clip in its own side pocket on my little audio gear bag.

Aside from that myb just my 'Brightest Flashlight' app works pretty well for leveling my tripod in the dark. Worked with a photographer once who used a cheap prism he had bought to do some cool tricks to make a couple who were standing at a 90 degree angle appears close together. Would be cool to look into but not sure it'd work well for video.
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Old October 23rd, 2014, 03:56 PM   #10
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Re: Odd...But Useful Gear

-- I now have a stash of about 100 earplugs at home that I dip into for each wedding. Thanks to everyone here who recommended them!
-- For wedding rings, carrying a bit of bluetac helps if you'd like them to stand upright.
-- Allen key for Manfrotto monopods -- those legs always come loose.
-- And that's about it for me. But I do want to mention attaching little gaffer-tape tabs to 9V batteries for Rode VMPs. Gives you something to pull on to extract them, and getting the batteries out can be a royal pain otherwise.
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Old October 23rd, 2014, 05:43 PM   #11
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Re: Odd...But Useful Gear

Even though I use a Sachtler tripod/fluid head, I still attach a long elastic hair band to the end of the pan handle to get buttery-smooth movement because the elastic band dampens the start & stop. At the other end of the hair band, I have a little LED light.

An elastic band also helps dampen starts/stops on the slider.

Keep a squirt gun nearby to get even with people who walk in front of your shot or kick your tripod leg. Okay, don't do that one (unless you can do it without getting caught).
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Old October 24th, 2014, 01:37 AM   #12
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Re: Odd...But Useful Gear

I carry a comb for tidying up furry windgags, a carrier bag (polythene bag with handles used for carrying shopping home) of suitable size to cover a camcorder and accessories on a tripod in case of a sudden downpour and a small folding umbrella for other gear (or me!)

I find when travelling light and carrying only a Gorillapod for support, the Gorillapod can be transformed into a decent makeshift shoulder rig.

Dave
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Old October 24th, 2014, 06:52 AM   #13
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Re: Odd...But Useful Gear

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd View Post
Winner of the "Most Excellent Thread" award for this week on DVi. Please keep it going!
Maybe the year! Good stuff!

Only thing I can think of is, I took a heavy square piece of cardboard maybe 8" by 8" punched several holes in it to hold audio cables that I don't use very much. Double the cable in half and push the folded in through the hole until the connectors stop at the hole. This keeps them from getting tangled with each other and you can see both ends so you know exactly what your getting. I lay it on top of one of the bags that's got all the extras in it that you don't need but can't afford to leave at home.

Oh, I have since upgraded the cardboard to a 1/4" piece of plastic I found. :)
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Old October 24th, 2014, 02:09 PM   #14
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Re: Odd...But Useful Gear

I don't think this is 'odd', but it is useful.

Filmtools® 3-mil Visqueen Camera Rain Cover - Small, Clear (26" x 24" x 48") Filmtools

I carry several Visqueen bags with me wherever I go. I keep a couple in the camera bag and a couple in my car.

In good 'ol FLA, it can rain even when it's sunny. Go figure. Film tools has several sizes and Mil thicknesses' of these bag. Some, are very large.

Bungee-Cords. All sizes. Oh yeah, Carabiners. Those darn things can be used for all sorts of things, hanging cables, attaching to gear for lifting and clipping 'stuff ' to a belt loop.

http://www.rei.com/c/carabiners

Excellent thread!

J.

Last edited by James Kuhn; October 24th, 2014 at 02:16 PM. Reason: Added REI Link
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Old October 25th, 2014, 03:01 AM   #15
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Re: Odd...But Useful Gear

+1 for carabiners from REI, (I prefer the Black Diamond brand) more variety and way stronger than the cheapo ones you find at Home Depot or Lowes.

A while back I wrote a blogpost about a shoulder strap alternative I found at Home Depot for my Canon XA10. This also works with the Sony PXW-X70 or any other small camera that has a top handle.

Mizomi Photography: DIY Spider Holster alternative for the Canon XA-10 camcorder
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