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Tools Of A Different Trade

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A sound recordist should always have a 1-inch paint brush with him. If the recorder gets covered in dust or grit, a quick application of the brush to the front panel will quickly remove the dust and avoid the problems caused by it entering switches, jamming push buttons or getting under rotary knobs.

This is an example of how a simple bit of preventative maintenance can keep things running smoothly on location, writes Nigel Woodford, Founder of Richmond Film Services.

As well as a paint brush, a set of small screw drivers and hex keys should also be kept in the bag.

Always make sure that any screws that hold a strap onto a recorder are done up tightly.

Cables are often the cause of problems; regularly go round and check any screws or collets are tight.

The small unusual size hex screw in the side of a ten-pin Hirose connector is particularly liable to come loose – once the shell of the plug comes loose and turns, the wires get pulled off the pins, making the cable unserviceable and needing an expensive repair.

Most microphones have small screws holding the outer casing on to the chassis. Sennheiser have a long screw going right through the body of the microphone, but some microphones with removable capsules have smalls crews that turn anticlockwise to tighten and hold the shell onto the capsule.

These screws require a small watchmaker's screwdriver to tighten.

We all have to film in the rain at times, and it is quite remarkable how well most equipment survives the weather, but obviously every effort should be made to keep the equipment as dry, and to wipe off as much water, as possible. The worst thing you can do with wet gear at the end of the day is to shut it up in flight cases. Without the chance to dry out in the air, metal parts will corrode and mould will develop, even on non-electronic items such as boom poles and microphone stands.

Broken or lost radio microphone aerials are another common problem on location. If you don't have spares remember that a diversity receiver will work as a non diversity receiver with only one aerial, so make sure you have a good aerial on the transmitter, and one good one on the receiver. If the aerial connectors are of the SMA variety, a straightened out paper clip can be cut to the length of the other aerials and pushed into the centre of the SMA socket and held in place with a bit of gaffer tape to make a temporary aerial.

These tips were brought to you by Richmond Film Services.

This article is also available to read in the June edition of Broadcast Film & Video.

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