What’s in your toolbox?

I get asked a lot about which tools I have in my toolbox. As a video engineer, I need a bit of everything. Electronics tools, cable crimpers, coax strippers, all types of screwdrivers, connector breakouts, and so much more. Below  is a list, mostly with links to Amazon, of the tools I carry to every job.

The list below is my production kit that I use when I’m doing a web stream by myself, not just engineering.

Arduino-based automatic cable cutter

Instead of cutting cables manually, like a chump, I built this:

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YouTube Link to 

The code is available here.

Parts list:

Icom IC-F6011 audio input

On a recent gig I was introduced to the Riedel Riface. It’s a custom rack-mount chassis for two Motorola GM360 radios, so they can interface with an audio console, intercom system, or even themselves to use as a repeater.

One of the other guys in the company figured he could build one for cheaper than the commercial version. It uses two Icom IC-F6011 base units. Getting audio out of the Icoms is easy, there’s a 3.5mm stereo jack on the back.

Getting audio into the unit is more of challenge.


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Build log: LED Pixel Wall

The job: Build a two-part light-box wall 3 feet high by 15 feet long and 3 ft by 21 ft. The box’s panels must be interchangeable to accommodate different designs. The backlighting for the wall must be pixel-controllable for animated wipes and patterns.

This light box was to be installed in a television studio to cover up an existing ugly concrete wall. Designs were done in SketchUp during the planning process. Continue reading

TV-Nikkor 35mm F0.9 Lens

I visited Apex Elecgtronics for the first time after reading about them at Hack a Day. It’s like the junkyard version of All Electronics. Lots of broadcast equipment, metal pieces, wire (lots of wire,) components, test equipment, you name it.

The secret of Apex is that you have to be willing to dig around to find stuff. I found a box of 150 1.3 volt 2 amp Ni-Cad batteries under another box of security cameras. In the aisle. Of shelves full of circuit boards. At one time there was probably some organization at this place, but as stuff kept getting added that organization fell apart.

I’m a sucker for three main things at places like this: electromechanical parts, old rack mount equipment, and cameras. Continue reading

Disneynature Callouts

I recently had the opportunity to shoot VOD callouts for a new Disneynature documentary, “Wings of Life”. Director Louie Schwartzberg introduced the film for several VOD platforms, including Xfinity, FiOS, and TWC. He also did a quick interview with the folks from Disney’s D23 fan club.

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Here are a couple behind the scenes photos.




We had a huge bank of windows to contend with. I only had a tungsten kit, so we gelled everything blue, except the backlight, which I kept tungsten to give a bit of color offset. The sun kept moving so our flags had to adjust as well. I could talk about all the things I wish I had for this shoot (HMI, 12×12 silk), but we worked around our limitations and came out with a great product.

Look for Louie plugging “Wings of Life” on your cable or satellite VOD channel.


Camp Fern 2012 video

I spent hundreds (if not thousands) of hours shooting for this video. The camp is in East Texas, near the border with Louisiana, which is quite a change from the Northeast climate I’m used to.

The video came out wonderfully, better than I could have imagined. Yes, I could have had a better camera. Yes, I wish I had an assistant camera and an audio person. Yes, I wish there was air conditioning. But the experience and finished video were worth it.

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