This is the best way to wrap cables and cords to keep them tangle free

Jun 12, 2017

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

This is the best way to wrap cables and cords to keep them tangle free

Jun 12, 2017

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Join the Discussion

Share on:

Keeping cables tangle-free can be a nightmare. As photographers we may have quite an array of cables. Long trigger release cables, flash head cables, USB extensions for shooting tethered, for example. If you shoot video as well, you might have to deal with XLR and other cables, too. And when it comes to cables, there’s nothing worse than turning up to shoot with a tangled mess.

Kinked and tangled cords don’t just make life difficult for you, though. They can also lead to reduced life of the cable, which means more cost as you replace them. This video from Oscar nominated director of photography, Mark Vargo, shows us how they do it in Hollywood. It makes production go more smoothly, and helps to make your cables last as long as possible.

YouTube video

Mark’s worked on movies such as The Green Mile, White House Down, and Ted, so he’s probably been around more than a few badly coiled cables. While we might not have to deal with as many cables as they do, it’s a valuable skill to learn.

The technique shown in the video is the “over and under” technique. In the movies, there’s three departments that have to deal with electrical cables using the “over and under” method. The sound, video and electrical departments. It’s a simple technique to learn, but one that can ultimately save you hours of time over the course of several shoots or productions.

Essentially, the first loop wraps around as normal, then the second loop twists underneath. The third goes under, fourth under, rinse, and repeat. It’ll take a few watches of the video and a bit of practise to get it down. But it’s definitely worth figuring out.

Once wound, the cable is simply held together with a short velcro strap. If you keep the velcro strap permanently attached to the cable, you’ll want to put it at the male end of the cable, at least in the case of XLR cables. This way, it doesn’t dangle by the microphone. For electrical cables, you’ll want to put it at the end that plugs into the wall.

Sometimes, with cables that might have been improperly stored for a long time, you might need to “retrain” them. Mark suggests leaving them out in the sun for an hour or two. This lets the rubber warm up and become easier to work with as it forgets its kinks.

It took me quite a few goes to remember how to do it without having to go back and watch the video again. But I’m glad I did. I’ve been tangle-free ever since.

[via PremiumBeat]

Filed Under:

Tagged With:

Find this interesting? Share it with your friends!

John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Join the Discussion

DIYP Comment Policy
Be nice, be on-topic, no personal information or flames.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

5 responses to “This is the best way to wrap cables and cords to keep them tangle free”

  1. Florin Dobranici Avatar
    Florin Dobranici

    :) Of course, there are many who reinvent the wheel

  2. Luigi Barbano Avatar
    Luigi Barbano

    Complex for nothing. Electrical cables are usually wrap in 8 shape so they keep perfect without the need to do the complex over/under showed in the video.

  3. Robby Hoke Avatar
    Robby Hoke

    I enjoyed this!

  4. Jyi Offer Avatar
    Jyi Offer

    Nothing new about this at all and certainly not re-inventing the wheel. Its just how its done. Ask any decent theatre-tech.
    Over-under is for most things – network, xlr, even extension leads.
    Figure-8 is for heavy cables and super long stuff that you can throw on the ground to wind up

  5. WillMondy Avatar
    WillMondy

    Been doing this for years. I learnt it as an apprentice maintenance tech on a nuclear power station. The reason we did it was because when calibrating sensors to fine tolerances, you want your cables to be in good condition because if one of a pair of cables isn’t in as good condition, it affects the signals.