Hello, everybody! I’m Daniel Brain and I don’t know why I did that but today we’re talking about seven stupid things that’ll save your life on a shoot.
All right item number one, duck clamps. Ooh, that’s got some kick, they are super sturdy awesome clamps. I use them to pin back backdrops, drapes, clothing, anything like that. I used them to hold my acoustic blanket over this massive window that I have and you can pretty much use these on a constant basis when you’re on set or shooting something. They always come in handy.
Secondly, they’ve got a little hole in the top which is perfect for mounting different types of gear, so you can throw a thread in there and put a friction arm or a magic arm on that and clamp it to the visor in your car for some audio fixes. You can put it on your desk to hold the little aperture LED light or anything like that but these things are invaluable, they’re super small, you can toss a few in your bag. Mm, off to the races, duck clamps, that’s number one.
Red Cable Ties
Item number two. No this is not a fashion statement this is item number two. These are little red cable ties. Now Think Tank makes these and these are amazing for so many different reasons. If you have stuff hanging off your camera bag that you want to attach to the camera bag you can use one of these. If you’ve got a bunch of cables like this that you need to organize in your backpack, whatever the bag is that you’re using.
You wrap that around, you pull this little thing in and there you go, you now have a perfectly organized little cable tie. These things are so handy. I have dozens and dozens of these, mostly because I lose them all the time and I end up giving them away to people who are like, can I have one! Yes, you can, but you can buy these in bags of like 12 or something like that, but they always come in handy to organize things, and that’s key. When we’re out there shooting we’re trying to get our stuff together.
You don’t wanna be digging through cables, you don’t wanna be digging like a dog in the dirt trying to find what you need. We’re just jerry-rigging here guys and that’s the beauty of these things, super versatile. So versatile, versatile, vers, whatever. They’re amazing, that’s what they are, that’s what you need to know. That’s item number two.
Item number three, is my all-time favorite, gaff tape. You can not go wrong with this. I know some of you might think like. Gaff tape can be used in so many different ways, primarily taping cables down to the floor. If you’re on the shoot and you’ve got boom mikes and you’ve got big strobes and you’ve got video lights and stuff like that, you don’t want people tripping. If you’re the one who’s in charge on set and you got people falling and hurting themselves, ugh, bad news.
So tape the cables down, super easy to do. Gaff tape doesn’t leave the residue so you can pull that right off the cable and you’re not gonna have a sticky disgusting mess. And beyond taping cables down to the floor you can use this stuff in a number of situations. I tape GoPros to the wall, I tape them to the ground, I tape them to my shoes. I use this tape to tape GoPros to railings.
I pretty much use it for whatever I can possibly use it for. It’s an invaluable accessory that just always comes in handy. It’s like one of those moments where you’re like, oh, we’ll just use gaff tape! Not only does it come in black but it comes in a whole host of colors so that you can use it to organize stuff. I put it on my luggage, I put it on my camera accessories. That way I know what is what when I’m trying to grab something out of my camera bag super fast.
Oh, so so good! All right here’s a little camera hack I showed you guys way back, but this, these body caps, I actually bought extra ones for this very reason. I used a body cap, nestled with a lens cap, in order to hold all my little micro SD cards and all those stupid little bits that I always lose. Check this out. So these things here nestle together perfectly. Inside is where I keep all the micro SD cards and all the adapters, and then the cap goes on and it locks in there, and I throw this into my camera bag, into my closet, into my car.
Whatever it is I know that that’s not gonna get lost. It makes a lot of noise ’cause it rattles, I’m never gonna lose it. I can always find where it is when I’m dumping stuff around. But that’s such a great way to keep those loose bits, nice and tight together so you’re never gonna misplace them.
All right, next up is a grip head. Now not many people may know what a grip head is if you’re just getting into this. If you’re in the industry and you’ve done shoots before you know exactly what a grip head is. They are incredible little pieces of technology. So what is a grip head? Well this is a grip head, it’s this big obnoxious weird looking piece of technology that you might think to yourself that doesn’t look like fun however this slides on top of your light stand and then you lock it down, make sure it’s nice and tight, and then it’s got all these different mounting options on the side.
So you can stick a boom mike in it, you can stick flags in it so you can block off light. You can actually keep unscrewing these and then just use that open area as like teeth or a clamp in and of itself, and stick foam core in there or stick other things in there to bounce light, give yourself some fill, that kind of thing, instead of having someone hold it or just trying to balance it or lean it against something.
You know that you’re always gonna have a mounting option for audio, for flags, for bounce cards, for foam core, whatever it is, grip heads, they’re not the most exciting thing but oh man is they handy.
All right next up is an acoustic blanket. Now I use this so much. I didn’t think that I would but I do. If you’ve got a really loud light that’s making a lot of noise on set, maybe it’s humming, you can throw this blanket over it, and it’s gonna dampen that sound immediately. If you’re shooting and there’s an exit sign, maybe there’s some light pouring through a door somewhere, you can clip this blanket up and block out all of that light.
You can use the clamps to do that or you can take down the extra side so that no light bleeds through.
Now on top of that it’s an acoustic blanket so it’s meant to dampen sound, so if you need to record some audio using a recorder, you can literally throw this over your head like you’re dressing up for Halloween like you’re a ghost, and now that you’re under the blanket, you can start recording your audio and it’s gonna sound super crisp.
Be forewarned that if someone finds you doing this, and you’re hiding under an acoustic blanket recording audio by yourself in your bedroom, it’s a little weird but it does the trick so well. Lastly, I actually use these sometimes to cover all of my equipment in the back of a truck, in the back of a car, or in your trunk.
If you’ve got stuff that you don’t want to be seen through the back windows, just throw the blanket over everything and it’s completely black, it keeps everything safe, keeps the sun off of it. So an acoustic blanket has so many uses that I think you guys are gonna really love, and find that well how did I live without that.
And the last thing, these things I love, and I’ve talked about them before, are friction arms. You can do so much with friction arms. They have these adjustable clamps. You clamp it onto pretty much anything and it gives you mounting options. You can mount monitors, you can mount recorders, you can mount cameras, you can mount GoPro.
You can literally mount anything with a friction arm and pretty much clamp that friction arm anywhere. So I have so many of these in a host of different sizes. I’ve been saying that a lot today, a host. I’ve got these in a mix of different sizes just because different sizes hold different weight equipment.
No one will hold a camera, one might only hold a monitor. It’s great to have a whole bunch of these because you can just configure them like Lego. The more equipment, and the more grip equipment you start acquiring, you start actually being able to come up with these new MacGyver ways to jerry-rig stuff onto different things and you just make things work for you.
When you have all of these tools that are stupid things that you would typically overlook, they end up helping up you and you end up loving them, and then you end up being like, I can’t live without them! So those are my seven stupid things that you can’t live without that’ll save your life on a shoot. I hope you guys enjoyed them. Hit that share button if you liked this. See you again.