Tethered shooting offers a lot of advantages in terms of immediate client feedback on set, and security of knowing your shots are going straight to a RAID protected drive. However, having a big cable poking out the side of your camera isn't exactly the most liberating experience, and takes some getting used to. Further, if you don't keep your cables snug you'll find the connection to the computer dropping constantly, which is irritating to try to troubleshoot when you have art directors and photographers looking over your shoulder. Here are a few purchases you can make to keep your cables under control:
- 1) The Tetherlock from Altman Media: This thing is incredibly difficult to track down on the internet (it's available at http://www.samys.com/product_detail.php?item=11957). At $89 it's probably a bit overpriced. But it's the first key to keeping your firewire cable connected. Basically it screws into the tripod mount on the bottom of your camera body and has two slots to pinch your tethered shooting cable against the bottom of your body.
- 2) The Canon cable 'gubbin': This is another difficult item to track down, but it's available directly from Canon and only costs $5 or so a pop. Canon calls it a 1394 boot protector, or something like that. You may have to call Canon support a few times to even find anyone who knows what you're talking about, but don't let them tell you it doesn't exist. Basically it fits around the 4 pin firewire port on the left side of the Canon 1Ds MKII (I believe it's available for other models as well) and holds the connection snug.
- 3) Firewire cables with built in repeaters: Standard firewire cables only go to 15', and anything longer makes for an erratic connection. For about $25 a pop, though, you can solve your range problems completely. These http://www.pccables.com/cgi-bin/orders6.cgi?action-Showitem&partno=70927&rsite=70927 are 15' firewire cables with built in repeaters at one end. I've successfully gone out to 45' so far with no problems. Great for getting your photographer up on a ladder or to other places where 15' just won't cut it. I'd recommend taping up the connections with gaffer tape.
- 4) A-clamp your cable to your digital capture cart: This is pretty basic. If you forget the camera is connected to something and pull too hard, you don't want your capture tower being pulled over. A-clamp the firewire cable to the capture cart to protect from this, and to keep the cables out of the way.
1-3 above list pieces of equipment I've used and can vouch for. Other suggestions I've heard include:
- -inserting a mini phono jack into the video port on the 1Ds MKII and taping the jack to your firewire cable. This seems like a good idea, and I hope to try it soon.
- -angled firewire cables available here http://www.ntcdistributing.com/products/fwangled.htm. Seems like it would be easier to strengthen the connection to the camera body with an angled cable. I believe you want the right hand bend for the Canon 1Ds MKII.
- -super gluing the firewire cable into the 4 pin port on the MKII. Believe it or not, this was suggested to me by a Canon phone tech support person who had not heard of the 'gubbin' in number 2 above. Apparently people actually do this. I don't recommend it.
That's all I've got for now. I'd love to hear what other people are doing.