Videographers Challenged By New Rules, New Tools
Posted Mar 29, 2008

With change being the common denominator these days in both location video and electoral platforms, many event and wedding videographers will be impacted by new rules and regulations affecting the way we work, and the way we get to work.

In case you haven’t heard, new government restrictions apply to carrying spare lithium batteries when traveling by air. Affecting batteries from 8 to 25 grams (roughly, 100 Wh and 300 Wh power sources—not cellphone batteries), these rules dictate where and how you can carry main and spare power sources.

Basically, spare batteries may not be packed in checked baggage, but they may be carried on board. If your work takes you far afield and you are used to packing or carrying extra batteries, check out the specifics at Safe.Travel.dot.gov before you finalize your next travel itinerary.

These new rules affect every traveler, on every airline. But just to complicate matters, some individual airlines have put in place their own new proprietary rules that may also affect video professionals. United Airlines’ new checked baggage policy on domestic flights, for example, could result in additional fees and aggravation for those who travel with pro video gear.

As posted recently on United.com: "Customers purchasing nonrefundable domestic economy tickets who do not have status in Mileage Plus or Star Alliance may check one bag for free and a second bag for a $25 service fee." How these new carry-on and baggage rules may affect doctors has yet to be determined.


figure 1New Petrol Bags
But if you want to find out, perhaps a new video camera and accessories carrier from
 border=Hotwears
Some of us have been traveling and shooting all winter, and we’re used to the old ways of managing our baggage and equipment concerns; now, we have to learn some new rules very quickly. What I still am having trouble with is getting used to the cold! Spring is coming, meteorologists may promise, but staying warm on location is often a challenge for me and my gear. In case you sometimes shoot during a big chill, you may be interested in
Hotwears. You know those warm packets that get tucked into gloves or shoes to keep hands and feet warm on a cold winter’s day? Well, Hotwears are small, fabric pouches that hold several heat packs: Using their Velcro connecting straps, these warmers can be wrapped around specific bits of video gear, like the focus and zoom rings on the camera lens. If you have to do some creative focus pulls or lens racking moves in the cold, you’ll appreciate how much a stiff lens loosens up when kept warm with these wrappers. Prices vary, depending on size and quantity.

New K-Tek Clamp Adapter Kit
A lot of us like to attach stuff, to our video gear, using Velcro or something similar. Accessorizing a DV camera with an outboard mic is one example, but many of us have found that placing the mic too close to the camera can pick up unwanted mechanical or other operating noises.

K-Tek, maker of any number of cool camera accessories and mounting devices, has recently released a Universal Clamp Adapter Kit for DV cameras. It converts an existing camera microphone clamp to a standard 3/8"-16 thread, so it can be an effective way to use a shock mount or microphone suspension system. The adapter lets you position the mic away from the camera, thus isolating it from the camera’s sounds or vibrations. So, working with boom poles, camera noise is not an issue. But working in stereo was—until the release of new version of K-Tek Klassic and Avalon style boom poles, now with internal stereo cabling. Stereo poles are priced depending on specific lengths and features. The $36 adapter kit comes with rubber mounting sleeves to fit most DV cameras.

figure 1New Litepanels LED
News of a new portable light rounds out our look at location video gear this month. Litepanels, the company that brings us cool LED illumination for video shooting, has come out with a really mini solution for compact camcorders. What’s more, the new Litepanels LED Micro runs off standard AA batteries.

The light mounts on top of a DV camera, but it delivers directional lighting that’s soft enough so that it won’t create that terrible "deer-in-the-headlights" look in your subject. In fact, as a daylight-balanced illuminaire, it makes a great eyelight, filling in shadows on a subject’s face, bringing a twinkle to her eyes without squinting or discomfort.

The light can be tilted or swiveled, thanks to its adjustable hot shoe mount adapter. An integrated on/off/dimmer dial lets you quickly and easily go from 100% to zero output smoothly. There’s also a flip-down filter holder, so the system’s color/diffusion gel filters can be used on the Micro, as well. Three filters are included: soft diffusion, 3200-degree tungsten conversion, and a one-quarter warming (CTO).

Weighing under 4 ounces, measuring just 3.3"x 3.3" x 1.5", Litepanels Micro still packs an hour and a half of continuous output from four on-board AA batteries (standard or rechargeable). Power can be supplied through an input jack on the back (4-14V adapter required). With all those features and functions, the Micro is just $349—and batteries are thrown in for good measure!



figure 1Ikan Uni-Racks
Of course, a lot of us do a lot of work at home, whether in the basement studio or edit suite-equipped office. So here are a couple of new devices for mounting gear and racking equipment in a fixed environment. A new Uni-Rack series from ikan is great for desktop videographers and their rackmountable audio/video equipment.

There’s a 2U Uni-Rack 2 and a more sizable 5U Uni-Rack 5 coming (complete with cage nuts and rack screws). Compatible tape decks, disk drives, hard drives and other important rack mountable video gear can be neatly stacked to save space and simplify the cable jungle such gear often creates.

Video, waveform, and vectorscope monitors can also be rack-mounted, of course, but interestingly, these new ikan racks can be tilted, at up to a 54-degree angle back, for easier viewing and a more ergonomically friendly work environment.

The ikan Uni-Rack 2 is now available for $49.95 and the ikan Uni-Rack 5 is available for $79.95.

New Stantron Clamp and Shelves
When you have a lot more gear that needs mounting, Stantron has a whack of new racks for broadcast studios and professional audio/video applications.

The new product lineup features sturdy clamp and cantilevered shelves that can even be used to rackmount products that were not originally designed to be rackmounted.

  There are two styles, one designed to support up to 25 pounds and one that supports 50 pounds of weight. Both have adjustable top and bottom clamping hardware, low compression set foam padding to ensure a secure grip, and pre-installed studs that eliminate fumbling with tiny hardware pieces.  

Stantron shelves are made from steel or aluminum material and are available in solid, vented, and mini-cantilevered design. Panels come in solid, perforated, vertical slotted, or horizontal slotted styles as well as solid flat designs.

The aluminum filler panels come in a variety of finishes to complement existing equipment and rack configurations. Stantron’s steel filler panels are available in four standard colors.

Stantron also offers equipment accessories for its rackmounts, including power strips and lighting and cooling systems. Magnetic strips for placement, and cooling fans and airflow grids are available and placed as required. Racks and mounting units are variously priced, based on size, configuration, and optional accessories selected.

Lee Rickwood (lrickwood at goodmedia.com) is a media consultant and freelance writer.