1. Carefully check all your gear at check out to make sure you have everything and that it works. Review the operating manual if you don't understand how to enable/disable controls or features on your camera. (Ops manuals are available on-line)

2. Pack up your gear when moving from one location to another. Be sure you haven't left anything behind.

3. Make sure the tripod legs are locked and that the camcorder is properly locked into place on the tripod. An unsteady or unbalanced tripod may tip over and damage the camera.

4. Keep tabs on your battery power. Remember that using the big LCD viewfinder drains the battery more quickly. Also, excessive rewinding and fast forwarding of the tape has the same effect.

5. Be sure there is enough slack on any cables plugged into the camera jacks (mic or headphone primarily), as not to cause undue stress on the connections. A broken connection may be expensive to repair.

6. Remember to always set your focus and keep the camera in MANUAL FOCUS mode.

7. Always hold the mic at mid chest level when recording voice. Remember to always point the mic (at the same 4-6" distance) at the person you may be interviewing on camera.

8. When recording videotape, wait at least THREE seconds after you've hit the REC button before you prompt your talent to begin, Wait at least THREE seconds after your talent has finished their bit before PAUSING the tape.

9. Do not start recording until you have settled on the shot you'd like to capture. Don't start recording and then let your viewfinder "eye" wander around the area looking for a shot you need for your script. This wastes time, battery power, and tape.

10. The camera operator must always wear headphones to ensure that audio levels are optimum.

11. Always be aware of your light source and the position of that light source in relation to your shot. Do not place subjects in front of windows (indoors) or shoot in the direction of the sun (outdoors).

12. Don't be afraid to ask your talent to do another take. Always shoot at least two takes of everything, in case there is a tape glitch.

And most importantly, always be thinking three steps ahead of yourself and others. Anticipate anything. Learn to adapt to adversity and be flexible. No TV show or film is produced without some difficulty. The best in the business learn to roll with it and get the job done.