microGAFFER

Archives for ‘Products’:

Using microGAFFER as a Force for Creativity, Concealment, and Kindness

The holidays are fast approaching, and all of us are looking for thoughtful, useful, and (ideally) surprising gifts for those special people in our lives. We at Visual Departures have been honored to see our own microGAFFER® show up several times on “stocking stuffer” lists in the years since it debuted. For photographers, theater technicians, and filmmakers, microGAFFER is almost life-changing (almost.) A 4-pack of microGAFFER weighs less than a standard roll of gaffer tape and fits in any pocket – always at the ready. When you think about it, it makes no sense that a roll of tape weighs more than your fancy new camera… right?

But that’s not the only reason microGAFFER is special. One of the key features of gaffer tape is that it can be removed without leaving sticky residue, and as a result, crafters of all stripes have found microGAFFER useful in their work. We were even fortunate enough to be noted by Michael Hsu in his “The Fixer” column in the Wall Street Journal.

One common craft you’ll see on Etsy or Pinterest — or at your local holiday marketplace — involves taking an otherwise ordinary object and jazzing it up with just the right materials and ornamentation to make it stand out from the crowd. It could be a bag, a notebook, a piece of jewelry, or even a cardboard box – but when the right customer sees it, they simply have to have it. Professional crafters spend a good portion of their time on the lookout for new materials to use (they, more than most, want to stand out from the crowd). Next to standbys like washi tape, the woven-cloth texture of microGAFFER allows another way to add variety to their creations. (And did you know about gaff tape prom dresses? It’s a thing with the kids these days.)

If you’re into home canning or pickling, use microGAFFER to label your Ball jars (don’t forget to write down the Date of Production, just in case something ends up spending a long time at the back of a shelf.) Speaking of which: if you mix up a batch of Alton Brown’s Internet-famous Aged Eggnog and pop it into some Ball jars this weekend, it’ll be absolutely sublime by the end of the year. Or the end of next year, if you have the willpower. (Good luck with that.)

But what if you’re not part of the crafting world? Here’s a tip if you’re planning to visit faraway family: Make your luggage stand out at the baggage claim by tightly wrapping some bright gaffer tape around the handles. Saves time and reduces anxiety just a bit during what’s usually a stressful moment – waiting at the baggage carousel. “Ah, here comes yet another black rollaboard… I wonder if this one’s mine…” Be sure to wrap the tape near the edges of the handles rather than at the apex in order to avoid natural wear and tear.

And should your holidays involve sightseeing in a touristy sort of place, consider “debadging” your fancy camera to make it less appealing to thieves in the sea of out-of-towners with fancy cameras… As the joke goes, “you don’t have to outrun the bear – only your hiking partner.” Anyway, the simplest way to “go ninja” is to place a small strip of microGAFFER across the manufacturer’s logo. For bonus points, layer several strips along various parts of the camera to look like it’s a beaten-up piece of junk. Above all, replace the billboard-style camera strap with something less obtrusive (and more comfortable besides.)

And if you’re so fortunate as to own lots of fancy gadgets, use a small square of gaff tape to do some judicious “blacking out” on those as well. So many electronics use those painfully bright blue LEDs these days! Is it really necessary to have your darkened living room resemble a spaceport on Star Trek? Most inexcusable are the marketing people who force the logo on your TV to light up! You guessed it – on goes a black strip of microGAFFER once again…

Whether you’re a crafter or photographer or neither, I hope this post has inspired you in some way to use microGAFFER in some unusual way. If you haven’t tried microGAFFER yet, here’s a special discount code just for our blog readers. Use the code “INSPIRED” when checking out at microgaffer.com – a little holiday gift from us to you.

And if you’re privileged enough to be reading this, please don’t forget to find a way to do charitable acts during the holidays (and ideally year-round). If you have children, see if they can get involved, too, so they grow up to know charity as a normal part of life rather than something we only remember to do when it gets cold outside. Whether you donate time or money to people in need, let’s seek to make the world a kinder, more understanding, more welcoming place for everyone… no matter who they are, where they come from, or what they believe. Keep in mind the sentiment John Watson urged in his Christmas message in The British Weekly over 100 years ago: “be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

Finding Your Niche – Ultra-Precise Lighting Made Possible by the Dedolight Imager Projection Attachment

As noted many times on this blog, the photography and filmmaking business has seen huge changes in the last decade. Smartphone photos are running on the front page of the New York Times. Lights and cameras have become cheaper, often with little regard to their quality. And what does it mean to be a photographer when everyone is always taking pictures? If you’re a freelancer, this last item is an issue you’re forced to reckon with in order to get paying work. As the saying goes: “it isn’t your fault, but it is your problem.”

One way to stand out from the crowd is to find a niche and own it (preferably in a line of work for which people will pay well.) In the case of Angel Penchev of Bulgaria, that means focusing (sorry) on rare coins and medallions. Watch this video to see how he uses Dedolight heads, including the Dedolight Imager Projection Attachment, to control light across each tiny element on the coins’ faces.

Some time ago, I did a few tests on the focusing capabilities of the DP2. We had recently moved into a larger office space and, much to our surprise, discovered that the previous tenants had left a box of old Barbie dolls in one of the filing cabinets. (Why isn’t it ever a briefcase full of cash??!)

Anyway, I had the tongue-in-cheek idea to use the dolls as models; you don’t have to pay them, they never get tired, and they always sit perfectly still. Using the Dedolight Imager Projection Attachment along with the DPEYESET filters, I was able to easily highlight details like the dolls’ jewelry or eyes. Obviously, this method would work equally well on tiny details on live models — who you do have to pay, but, by the same token, can probably give you more than a single vacant expression.

Barbie doll highlighted with Dedolight DP2 and EYESET

Be sure to have a look through some of Angel’s website (I particularly appreciate what he’s done with pasta.) And for more information on how to use the Dedolight DP1, DP2, and their siblings, see the following video:

Rosco Image Spot: Compact, Efficient Image Projection — Even Outdoors!

Rosco Image Spot, handheld

For many years, we have enjoyed a great relationship with Rosco’s gobo production specialists deep in the heart of Round Rock, Texas. Thanks in no small part to many years of hard work by Anne Hunter and her crew, Rosco is a world leader in gobos, from simple metal patterns to colored glass effects and all varieties in between. Gobos find use in theater, architectural work, weddings, and other—sometimes unexpected—venues.

Now, leveraging their depth of experience, Rosco has released the Image Spot line of LED gobo projectors. Powerful, yet fitting in the palm of your hand, the Image Spot IP40 and IP65 projectors are perfect for mounting anywhere you need to project an image or message (or just need an compact and efficient spot light), whether that be in a shop, museum, theme park, or other indoor or outdoor setting.

Rosco Image Spot projecting a flame

Image Spot’s 70,000-hour-rated LEDs are energy-efficient and bright, allowing a maximum throw distance of 40 feet (12 meters) using only 45 watts of power. Speaking of power, the projector accepts universal line voltage input, meaning Image Spot units can come along on your world tour without skipping a beat. And the industry-leading 3-year warranty lets you rest assured they’ll stand up to the rigors of touring, too.

Rosco Image Spot Heat Sink and CablesImage Spot comes with an on-board dimming control, maxing out at 3000 lumens @ 5500K. It’s efficient enough that, even running at full blast, there’s no need for a cooling fan… so Image Spot always runs silently. No noise, and no spinning parts to cause those “unexpected tune-ups” down the line!

Rosco Image Spot, wet

The base model, the IP40, is spec’d for indoor use and can be controlled on-device or by DMX512 using standard RJ45/Cat5 cable. For outdoor applications, look to the IP65; weatherproof (as you might guess from its name), it supports DMX512 over exterior-rated Cat5e.

Rosco Image Spot in White, side viewAll Image Spot units measure 7.8×4.8×3.2 inches and weigh just five and a half pounds. They’re available to match most decors in black, white, or silver. Mounting options include canopy, C-clamp, track mount, and pole mount.

Here’s an important piece of advice: because they’re so versatile, Image Spot units are not packaged with a lens. They’ll work fine without a gobo, but won’t do much without a lens. Don’t forget to order one!

Rosco Image Spot Lens AttachmentDepending on your specific needs, you’ll want to pair your Image Spot with a 19, 25, or 30 degree lens to tune your projection to size. The following diagram, along with your trusty measuring tape, should help you work out just what you need to order. If your lighting plan calls for diffusion (perhaps to illuminate artwork or products in a store) add a pack of Rosco’s OPTI-FLECS filters to your shopping cart.

Image Spot photometrics

Rosco Image Spot Gobo and Filter HolderWhen ordering gobos, be sure to order the correct size for Image Spot by using the standard five-digit gobo number and appending “-SPOT” (e.g., “54321-SPOT”). If you’re looking for a Permacolor dichroic filter, use the format “1203-XXXX-SPOT”, substituting the four-digit color number you need. Gobos that use your own custom artwork should use the formats listed in the table below – call us to set up your order, and we will work closely with the crew in Round Rock to make sure it comes out looking great. We’ll admit to being a tiny bit jealous of our central Texas colleagues; we are huge barbecue fans, and they’re surrounded by some of the best barbecue in the world. We may have to ask to visit them one of these days… around lunchtime would be nice!

Item Code Description
2507210ISPOT Image Spot Custom Steel Gobo
260CUSBWOSPO Image Spot Custom B&W Glass Gobo
260CUS1COSPO Image Spot Custom One-Color Glass Gobo
260CUS2COSPO Image Spot Custom Two-Color Glass Gobo
260CUSMCOSPO Image Spot Custom Multi-color Glass Gobo