Branch Box of Tips of and Tricks

A popular and often-quoted maxim says, “a person is only as good as their tools.”

This saying is true in many areas of life, including visual storytelling. Our tools extend beyond our cameras, lights, and microphones to the various tips and tricks that we acquire along the road of practice made perfect. These useful techniques become the difference between knowledge and experience, which yields wisdom. To this effect, here are some helpful hints that might assist you in becoming a little better with your tools.

The Flimsy ShirtShit1shirt2

If you have ever attempted to place a microphone on a shirt that lacks structural integrity, then this tip is for you. Unfortunately, not every person requiring a lavaliere-style microphone wears a suit jacket or similar outer garments. Silk shirts, blouses, or vintage style soft t-shirts often do not have the needed thickness or structural rigidity to hold a microphone and clip without it moving or rubbing on the cloth. To help combat this fabric deficiency, you, as the ever-resourceful production professional, can attach a credit card or material of similar thickness on the backside of the shirt.  By doing this, you can add the needed stiffness to the attire and keep your microphone firmly in place.  This tip has gotten me out of at least one jam or two, and I hope that it will serve you well. (BONUS TIP: Don't forget to get your credit card back at the end of the interview.)

tripodThe Tipsy Tripod

As a veteran video-production professional and teacher, I have seen my fair share of equipment failures, mistakes, and accidents. Even the most prepared and industrious equipment manager will face equipment that malfunctions and can cause harm to your people or your gear. With tripods, a failure can be costly if not downright disastrous. This is especially true if a leg is not secured properly or a screw has become loose and is no longer functioning, as it should. The larger your fleet of tripods and their age will amplify these malfunctions. I have witnessed on multiple occasions students experience a tripod failure, and a camera comes crashing down. When it comes to our beloved three-legged camera supports, here is a simple trick to keep your cameras from falling on the floor. Do this after extending all three legs of the tripod, but before placing the camera on top. Hold the tripod slightly at an angle and put weight on each tripod leg individually. This will ensure that your favorite camera support rig is doing its job of holding the camera – while allowing you the freedom to tell your story in all its visual glory. 

Watch for more Branchs Box of Tips and Tricks in future issues of School Video News!

 BranchWorking crop 250Josh Branch has a wide amount of experience in the video production industry including over 15+ years of freelance work for clients throughout the country and Josh spent the better part of a decade working for a big tire company in Akron as a Corporate Videgrapher. Josh also holds a Associates Degree in Communication (Axia), a Bachelors Degree in Organizational Management (Malone) and a Masters Degree in Career-Tech Education (Kent State).

Josh’s award winning video work has been seen on over 500 TV stations and networks across the country including History, Speed, ESPN, A&E, Discovery, Fox, Fox News & Telemundo. Josh has 100+ TV commercials to his credit and well over 1000 video projects completed.

Josh enjoys teaching because it is tangible and exciting to watch the next generation of America’s workforce discover their creativity and communication skills. Josh resides in North-East Ohio with his wife and four sons.

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