Every wedding and video shoot has its own unique challenges and forces us to learn and re-adapt. Today’s post and lesson is, TAKE CARE OF YOUR EQUIPMENT!
Well it finally happened. I had to take my camera into the shop today to have it looked at. 1.5 years without issue but I finally had a problem I couldn't fix myself and I need professional help.
It started on Saturday, during our rainy porch covered reception. I was using my top light because the lighting on the dance floor was so poor. The fitting on my mount hasn't been locking right for months now but I rarely have been using my top light recently so it really hasn't been too much of an issue. I went to pick up my tripod and the mount slipped off the back, falling onto the back part of my camera. It's connected to my tripod via my Sennheiser wireless receivers and a couple of XLR cables so it didn't go anywhere, it just made a loud bang and was kind of embarrassing. It wasn't until a few minutes later when I noticed that part of my LCD screen was actually scratched. Luckily it stills works, but the scratches are annoying and now constantly remind me that my camera is lightly used and not as perfect as it once was.
Things got worse however Monday morning. I was booked to follow around a group of LA tourists throughout the greater Seattle area. Knowing I would have no way to pack a tripod around for 2 days, I hurriedly went about attaching my Revo shoulder mount so I would have an easier time manning my camera for the next 2 days. It must have happened at this time, although I didn't realize it until later, but I accidentally broke the plug that attaches my camera grip (what allows me to electronically zoom in and out and another place where there is a record button) leaving it in a non-working state.
When I arrived at breakfast and began recording, I instantly noticed that my camera would not record. Was it something wrong with the format? The memory card? I finally realized that my grip wasn't controlling anything because the plug was bent. Fortunately I could still start and stop the record function from my camera body itself but it was certainly cause for alarm. I kept fiddling with the plug thinking "well it's broken, how much worse can get it?" Well it could get worse, the plug could break off in the jack, that's how it could get worse. I realized I needed to stop messing with anything and just focus on the day, there would be time to address the problem later that evening, fortunately at that point part of the plug was still sticking out of the port and I was thinking I would be able to use a pair of pliers to pull it out.
4 hours on a rocky bus and 5 uber rides later and I noticed that the remaining part of the plug that was sticking out of the jack had snapped off, leaving the plug inside flush with the port whole and unable to pull out. I did some research and read that potentially applying some krazy glue to the end of a toothpick would be one possible way to grab onto the plug and pull it out of the whole (once the glue dried). I tried about 6 different ways when I got home, with toothpicks, q-tips and tweezers and had no luck. I even tried to dismantle part of the camera myself in order to access the port but after 2 hours sitting on the kitchen floor after an already long day, I had to call it quits.
After calling various Seattle area camera shops yesterday I believe I found one that could potentially help, so I dropped my camera off there a few hours ago. I told them I need my camera back by Friday, so if they couldn't fix it, I would have to pick it up and drop it off again next week, what a pain!
So what to do to prevent this? Dorothy told me I should be more careful with my equipment, and she's probably right. But I do ultimately think it's the cost of doing business. If you're going to be shooting 1, 2, or 3 wedding a weekend, or chasing tourists around town for 14 hours a day, your camera's bound to get a little beat up. I did learn however to probably not mess with anything by myself and to just take it into the professionals first. I think you can really mess yourself up and end up in a worse situation than you started with in a hurry, and that's no good for anybody!