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Checking Our Equipment

With fall right around the corner, this might be a good time to take a look at the equipment we use and some of the work habits we've acquired over the years.

The gear we work with every day generally seems to just keep chugging right along. A closer inspection will probably reveal a few areas that need to be addressed. Examine your camera from front to back for loose or missing screws. If you use a camera case, take it off, tighten everything you can see, with of course, the proper screwdriver, and take a stiff paint brush or parts brush and carefully remove the dust and crud that collects in every nook and cranny. If you share gear, this is a routine that may never have been done before. Take care that any dirt you dislodge doesn't end up in the tape transport or in the guts of the camera. Your maintenance person should be able to replace any missing fasteners.

Make sure that your lens is tight to the front of the camera. Any looseness could be from screws backing out of the rear mounting plate. These should immediately be tightened by a qualified technician as they handle the stress of the weight of the entire camera. This would be a good time to have your maintenance tech clean the entire tape path; it doesn't take long and might save a story assignment.

Take a moment to examine your mics and cables. XLR plugs have a way of losing screws. This causes stress in the connector and will ultimately lead to broken wires within the plug itself and the potential for a lost live shot. Next time we'll talk about some additional maintenance items.