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Hack 9. Make Your Own Slate

Hack 9. Make Your Own Slate

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Ifyou'relookingtobecraftyandsaveasmuchmoneyasyoucan(maybetofeed

yourcrew?),youcanuseafewcommonhouseholditems:

Onesmallpieceofcardboard(around8"x11")

Oneblackmarker

Onerollofwaxpaper

Onerolloftape

Youwillusethepentodrawsectionsontothecardboard,almostlikecreatinga

grid.Thesesectionswillneedtobelabeledappropriately(asnotedlater).After

creatingandlabelingyoursections,coverthecardboardwiththewaxpaperand

thentapeitsothatitistaut.Thewaxpapershouldbetightenoughagainstthe

cardboardsoyoucanseethesectionsthroughit.

Whenusingwaxpaper,youmightdiscoverthatbothdry-eraseandpermanentinkmarkerscanbeused,andwipedoff.However,thelongertheinksitsonthe

paper,theharderitistowipeoff.

1.10.1.2.Usingpurchasedsupplies

Ifyou'rewillingtospendalittlemoneytomakeyourslate,youwillneedthese

items:

Onesmallwhiteboard(officesupplystore;$5$10)

Onerollof1/4-inchblackelectricaltape(homeimprovementstore;$1$3)

Onepairofscissors

Youwillneedtocuttheblacktapeintoafewstripsofthelengthandwidthof

yourwhiteboard.Forexample,ifyouhavean8"x11"whiteboard,youshould

cutpieceoftapein8-inchand11-inchlengths.Youwillbeusingthestripsto

sectionoffareasonthewhiteboard.Figure1-12showstheitemsrequiredto

makeyourownslate.



Figure1-12.Asmallwhiteboard,soontobeaslate



1.10.2.UsingYourSlate

Theamountofinformationyouwanttokeeponyourslatewilldeterminehow

yousectionitoff.Attheveryleast,youwillwantsectionstowritetheproject's

title,thedate,thescene,andthetakenumber.Youmighttokeeptrackofthe

camera(ifyouareshootingwithmorethanone),thedirector'sname,andthe

audioconfiguration(forexample,Bob'smicrophoneisonaudiochannel1and

Sally'smicrophoneisonaudiochannel2).Figure1-13showstheslate,as

completedandfilledoutforashoot.

Figure1-13.Providingavisualmeansofcommunicating



Touseyourslate,simplywritetheappropriateinformationonitandholditin

frontofyourcamerabeforeyoubegintoshoot.Youshoulddothisforeverytake

.Thenicefeatureaboutusingeitherofthesetechniquesisthatyoucanwipeit

cleanwhennecessary.So,whenshootingalotoftakes,orevenalotofscenes,

it'seasytosimplywipethepreviouswritingoffandwritesomethingnew.

Becauseit'ssoeasytodo,youwon'tbecomereluctanttoslateyourshots,which

willpaydividendswhenyougotowatchandlogyourfootage[Hack#5].



Ifyouareindireneedofaslateifyou'reonsetandforgotaslate,for

exampleuseapieceofpaperandapen.Someinformationisbetter

thannoneatall.



Ifyouforgettousetheslatebeforeyourtake,youcanstilluseitafterward.By

holdingtheslateinfrontofthecameraattheendofthetake,youcancapturethe

information.Eventhoughitwon'tappearwhereyouexpectit,theinformationis

stillvaluable.Ifyouwanttoindicatethataslateisbeingusedattheendofa

take,youcanholditupsidedown.



Hack10.ControlYourCamcorderRemotely



Itisn'tdifficulttocontroleveryaspectofyourcamcorderfromsome

distanceaway.Infact,youcanshootvideowithouthavingtotouchyour

camcorder.

Sometimes,youneedtotakethecamcorderoutofyourhandandstickit

somewhere.Forinstance,youmightbetryingtofilmananimalthatdoesn'tlike

people,oryoumightwanttofilmapartyfromthefarcornerofaroom,while

remainingintheshotyourself.Whateverthereason,beingabletocontrolthe

camcorderremotelymakesrecordingmoreflexible.



1.11.1.ReplacingtheRemote

Mostcamcorderscomewitharemotecontrolthatallowsyoutocontrolmanyof

thefeaturestheyofferremotely.Buttheseremotecontrolsaren'tgenerallythat

good;manyoftheonesI'veusedworkedonlyfromafewfeetaway.Fortunately,

therearewaystogetaroundthislimitation:useaprogrammableremotecontrol

oruseaninfrared(IR)extender.

1.11.1.1.Programmableremotes.

Asthenameimplies,programmableremotecontrolsaresmarterthanthe

averageremote.Theycanlearnthespecialcodesthatcamcorderunderstands,

allowingyoutocontrolthecamcorderwithouttheoriginalremote.Themore

sophisticatedmodels,suchasthePhilipsProntorange

(http://www.pronto.philips.com/),canbeprogrammedbyaPCandconfiguredto

controlseveraldevices.Theseremotescanevenstringseveralcommands

togetherinamacro,so,youcould,forinstance,createamacrotoswitchthe

camcordertolowlightmodeandstartrecordingfromonetouchoftheremotea

bigtimesaver.



Programmableremotescanbearealboonifyou'velosttheremote,because

manywebsitesofferdownloadableconfigurationfilesforahugerangeof

devices.CheckoutsitessuchasRemoteCentral

(http://www.remotecentral.com).TheIRemittersintheseremotesarealso

usuallymuchstrongerthantheonesintheremotethatcamewiththecamcorder,

whichmeansthatyoucancontrolthecamcorderfromfurtheraway.

1.11.1.2.IRremotes.

IRremotecontrolsworkonlywherethereisalineofsight,andthat'snotmuch

useifyouareinoneroomandthecamcorderisinanother.Fortunately,thereis

anothersimplesolution:addanIRextender,suchastheSmartHome8220A

(http://www.smarthome.com/8220A.html;$50).

IRextendershavetwoparts:atransmitterthatpicksuptheIRsignalfromthe

remoteandconvertsittoaradiosignal,andareceiverthattakesthisradiosignal

andconvertsitbacktoinfrared,whichthecamcorderpicksup.Byusingradio

signals,theycansendremotecontrolcommandsthroughwallsorother

obstacles.

Ifyouarecomfortablewithasolderingiron,it'snotdifficulttobuildone

yourself.You'llfindplansforseveraldifferentIRextendersat

http://www.mitedu.freeserve.co.uk/Circuits/Interface/candi.htm.

1.11.1.3.Combiningthebestofbothworlds.

IfyoucombineaprogrammableremotewithanIRextenderandawirelessvideo

transmitter,you'vegotaremotecontrolcamcorderthatyoucaneasilyput

somewhere,andthenretiretoanearbylocationtowatchthevideo.Andyoucan

evencontrolthecamcorder,zoominginandoutandstoppingandstartingthe

recordingasrequired.



1.11.2.AddingaRemote-ControlledPanandTilt

Whileyou'rebuildingtheultimateremote-controlledcamcorder,whynotaddthe



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Hack 9. Make Your Own Slate

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