Monday, October 17, 2011

Create I.D. Tags to Smooth the Way

In her recent and most excellent post on the Videomaker forums, magazine editor Jennifer O’Rourke started an active series focused on “Your First Amendment Rights as a Citizen Journalist” and as such things will do the post took a life of its own, drifting on- and off-topic but essentially offering up some interesting comments, advice and stories. It continues.

“We decided to create this Legal Issues forums page because many video producers are discussing legalities like copyright and fair use, as well as access.” she wrote, noting, “There are encounters with public officials that can get you arrested.” This was O’Rourke’s opening paragraph. See the complete post and responses at the link above. And, while you’re at it, this is a great forums site to join and participate.

In the process of this series of posts active forum member and fellow independent professional video services provider Charles Shultz, Missouri, C Shultz Media, also Video StoryTellers!™ associate, suggested I post or offer an example of my video producer I.D. card, where I got it and positing it “Might be a good idea to have one.” I referred to having one during a somewhat stressful moment with local officials.

Here’s a trumped up sample I’ve often used as a template for developing I.D. cards specific to the program, project or public event in which I’m involved. I created mine using Photoshop and will often use a different image depending on the type of situation I’m in.

For example, awhile back, when my associate and I were working with the California State University at Dominguez Hills we needed photo I.D. that would allow us access to various areas of the campus and ongoing activities related to the project event. While the campus official involved with the project graciously provided for parking, we worked up an I.D. similar to the sample here and it was deemed to be acceptable for the purpose. That one had me in a suit, no sunglasses.

All this might seem to be a bit elementary but sometimes we don’t think about using something as simple as a handmade I.D. card to help smooth the way around things. I’m sure I’ve often been able to move about a bit more freely during even public events because I took the time to put something together. I’ve created these for high school grad night events, church bazaars, homecoming activities and various youth sports groups that have allowed me to produce their games. Much better if they’re “authorized” but they don’t always have to necessarily be sanctioned, so to speak. Use your best judgement based on the circumstances.

Probably the most common I.D. card carriers are those clipped to a lanyard and hung around your neck. They’re probably also the cheapest method. I’ll provide sources for purchasing bulk but you can obtain smaller minimums at most any office supply center or sports shop. This usually involved two pieces: the lanyard (many types and styles) and the pouch, sleeve or case.

Here’s what a lanyard looks like. I find the flat and somewhat wider ones to be the most comfortable but you can get them in virtually any width. They also come in various braided, flat and rope; beaded chain, string, chord, cable and nylon.

They also come with an assortment of styles of clips and attachments from rings, to alligator clips, clamps to snaps. Take your pick. And, of course, they’re available in a multitude of colors, with or without branding or customized logos, slogans or website URL's ... my personal favorite when I decide to purchase a bunch of branded ones. I can see this useful in some way for marketing.

Many of the available pouch or protector styles allow for multiple ways of using your I.D. card. The most common includes holes or punch outs for chain-style (think dog tag chains, or the old style bathtub stopper chains), a slot to attach the lanyard clip and even die cuts that allow for insertion of safety pin-like connectors that leave nice holes in your shirts or stick you.

There are also reel-type holders that can be pulled out from their case, then allowed to rewind back in leaving your I.D. dangling from your belt. (think of those round, often silver-colored, devices security, maintenance and janitorial services employees often wear with a bunch of keys) And there’re temporary stick-on style I.D. card holders, molded rigid frames and magnetic ones where you peel the two strips apart and place one inside your shirt pocket or fabric while the strip attached to the back of the I.D. card holder magnetically clings to it from the outside.

If you’re not particularly fond of hanging stuff around your neck or putting holes in your shirts and blouses, there’re also elastic armband-style I.D. card holders.

Pictured below are probably the three most common: clip gripper, pinned and armband holder.

If you want to check out the possibilities or think you might sometime need more than a few, for a crew or special event calling for a bunch of guys representing your operation, shooting video or not, there’s plenty.

for some interesting choices, prices and combinations. Lanyard Supply is a cluttered mess but has a lot of stuff to look at and I.D. Card Group is a bit more pleasing to browse. You can find cheap lanyards starting at $25 for bundles of 100; basic badge holders starting at $23 for 100.

Check out USA Lanyards, Alpha Card, I.D. Wholesaler, Lanyards Now, West Coast Lanyards and Custom Lanyards 4 All, to see more of the same but get a better idea of the range of options and pricing. There’s also ebay and Amazon. So there you are, with information on how to make, acquire and utilize I.D. cards to help you move along with the crowd at most any event.

Find out about The Book of Blogs, coming soon on E.C. Come, E.C. Go.

Remember: If you market, you will make it! © 2000-2011 Earl Chessher

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