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7 ‘Stupid’ Little Items that Could Save Your Life on Set


Camera body caps, duck clamps, cable ties, gaff tape, and more—if you’re not using these seven ‘stupid’ little items on set, you’re missing out.

Photographer and filmmaker Peter McKinnon has learned a lot after nearly a decade of professional shooting, but some of the most useful “tricks” he’s learned have nothing to do with technique. No, they’re all about the silly little items that make your job that much easier whether you’re shooting on location or in the studio.

In this video, he outlines the top 7 “stupid things” that he says will “save your life” on set. Watch the video for the full breakdown, or scroll down for a quick summary:

  1. Duck Clamps – Sturdy, strong clamps that can be used to hold things back, secure things to walls, stands, and brackets, and so much more. Plus, the hole in the top is perfect for mounting gear to.
  2. Little Red Cable Ties – Use them to attach stuff to your camera bag, organize loose gear or, of course, to wrangle cables and keep them out of the way.
  3. Gaff Tape – A photographer’s (and filmmaker’s) best friend, gaff tape is the fix-all on set. Tape cables to the floor, tape lights and action cameras in odd places, create labels to tape to your gear—the possibilities are endless.
  4. DIY Cap Case – Buy some extra camera body caps and rear lens caps, and screw them together to create a tiny container for easy-to-lose items. Never lose a microSD card again!
  5. Grip Head – A very useful piece of filmmaking equipment, grip heads are extremely versatile “clamps” that give you several gear mounting options in one. Super useful if you’re mounting flags, stands, mics, reflectors, whatever.
  6. Acoustic Blanket – Great for filmmakers to dampen the sound coming from loud gear (a humming light), this works just as well to block out light from signs, doorways, and windows. Finally, McKinnon also uses these to cover and hide his gear when he leaves it out in his car or truck… if a thief can’t see it through your windows, they won’t know it’s there.
  7. Friction Arms – Possibly THE most versatile mounting arm you can find. “You can literally mount anything with a friction arm, and pretty much clamp that friction arm anywhere.”

Check out the full video up top to see how McKinnon uses each of these little life-savers on set. And then, if you like what you see, be sure to subscribe to his channel for a lot more creative, fun, and wacky tips, tricks, and inspirational videos.

(via ISO 1200)