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Tip that saved you.

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#1 Janice Arthur

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 09:27 AM

Hi all;

After Dave C's great topic of 'show us your shots' that I thought we should have an ongoing tips topic.

Here is my starter tip.

1) A piece of white tape on my arm section for making shot notes. I write character names, I jot down dialogue lines where I'm supposed to move, or pan or tilt. It reminds me of anything I'm having trouble with. I also have a fine point sharpie and some velcro on it that sticks to the arm also so something to write with is nearby. The pen fits in the front of the vest with no velcro but the key is its handy.
2) i put white tape on the first and last step of stairs so I can tell where the first or last step is and its a good differentiator from the other steps. Increasingly needed the faster you're going.

What are your tips?

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#2 Mitch Mommaerts

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 11:54 AM

Nice, another great topic!


3) I put coloured shrink wrap (some people use coloured electrical tape which is also good) around my cables. Yellow for video, Red for power in general but for specific systems such as the reverse pins on a bartech system I use all green, or blue for barrel connectors. Although it hasn't save me yet, it will save those assisting me from using the wrong power cables on the wrong system. I also post the lengths of each cable as well.


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4) When I'm shooting in a dark area or at night on rough terrain, I sometimes stick a puck light to the bottom of my rig. This helps my peripheral vision read the terrain when I don't have the luxury of a spotter. Thankfully this doesn't happen often but if it did, I'd likely build something to run off the sled.


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#3 Stig Indrebo

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 02:14 PM

Great topic Janice, I hope and think this thread is gonna grow big. I really liked the tape on arm-tip! 


Here are two from me:


5) Staying hydrated is important. I put a piece of velcro on my docking bracket and another under my water bottle. Now it´s always nearby when I dock the rig, and I can freely move the stand around without taking the bottle off. 


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6) I'm no flat-foot. Therefore I'm using up-bended soles with cushioning in my shoes to get the whole foot supported. Like walking on air. 


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#4 Evrim KAYA

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 06:06 PM

Great topic indeed,

Here are mine (although I already have  shared these on the forum previously but I though I should re-post under this topic.)


7) Gaiter arm covers:

I bought a pair of Lafuma gaiters from a sports shop. The kind the mountain climbers use. Totally waterproof, easy to put on or remove, easy to access the ride and lift knobs, not too baggy, not too tight and looks very handsome.

I had to remove the metallic parts intended to fix the gaiters to your shoe.

As I understand, gaiters comes in two kinds. The cheap, cylindrical kind and expensive ones which has a triangle part to cover the shoe lace part. GO CHEAP on this one and you’ll have exactly what you need 

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8) elastic, clip-on snow chians:


Very useful in icy surfaces like frozen lakes or even potentially slippery wet grass and such. These saved my life a couple of times this winter.

I bought them for $20. It’s made by Tchibo Germany.The product number EN 287 148(size36-41) EN 287 149(size42-47)


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#5 Janice Arthur

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 11:16 AM

Hi all;


I've been busy and finally got a moment to add two more helpers.


9) Use tape, of a different color to mark where you shouldn't go.  Like if the rig crosses this line I hit a light or I get a lens flare.  This one was so obvious but Larry McConkey gave me that one and it was good.  These days you don't get a lot of takes and its miserable to waste a good take because you simply went in a spot that you shouldn't have.   It can also tell you where you are in space, like go over this spot and you are in physical peril.  Orchestra pits are a good example, often dark and hard to tell the exact edge in your depth perception.


10) Take your own apple boxes.  A full and a half or couple of fulls.  When I started shoots were small and apple boxes were not common, so I made my own, ironically bigger than conventional apple boxes but they worked as a seat, a step, and a simple boom when put together with the half.  Now that small shoots are the norm, again having a couple is not a big deal to carry and they get used for everything from the grips to the producer and when the you need them you can call them back.  They're good for that extra height on a starting shot that is miserable boomed all the way up or any number of other uses.  (All these years later I still use them in my garage, etc so not a bad investment.)  Mark them as yours or they'll get stolen because they are so handy.



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#6 Victor Lazaro

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Posted 18 April 2014 - 11:23 AM

11) I used this on a non steadicam gig, but can be used for steadicam. Get a roll of glow in the dark tape. Useful to mark a spot in a very dark corner, especially for live shows where you have to reset in total darkness. Just remember to flash it with your light before and it will be a dim light for you to see in the shadows. Also the tape usually doesn't stick well so secure it with some extra paper tape

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