There is an art to everything done in the media industry. As with any niche, there is a set of vocabulary needed to understand what is going on around you. In the media industry, there are odd names for everyday objects. For example, extension cords are known as “stingers” and clothes pins are referred to as “c-47s”. There are also certain ways to perform everyday tasks, like wrapping a cable, also known as "wrangling".
Wrangling correctly not only speeds up production, it keeps our cables “memory”, or longevity, and thus makes everyone’s lives easier when the next gig comes around. Sometimes there will be Production Assistants (PAs) on set to take care of the “small stuff”, like gathering stingers, cables, cords, etc.
Most people start as a PA and face a large learning curve on set. PAs can be a great help, but they often come with minimal experience. So many times cords and cables are usually wrangled incorrectly. But, this blog will provide several tips that will impress anyone on set and help you wrangle cables like a pro.
Now, often when wrangling you will perform what is known as the “over under” technique. This technique, when done right, will leave the cable in a neat clockwise roll, and if thrown while holding one end it will neatly unravel in the air and lie flat once on the ground.
This technique is primarily used on audio cables due to their metal fibers having a specific memory on how they are coiled.
Stingers also have a “memory” to them, but depending on how the cable owner wraps their cable, they will have a regular loop memory, or an over under memory. The over under technique tends to be most popular.
Here’s how to do it.
Instructions for Right Handed Individuals
For those of you who are right handed, grab the cable with your right hand and make sure the cable’s male or female end (the ends of the cable) is facing away from you this will be your collecting hand.
Guide part of the remaining cable into a clockwise loop with your left hand and release it to your collecting hand.
The second loop is where it can get tricky. Grab the cable with your left hand with your palm facing upwards.
Once you have grasped the cord, bring your left hand to your right while twisting into a fist with your palm now facing the floor and then release it to your collecting hand.
Now keep repeating step one and two until you have reached the end of your cable. To test if you’ve wrangled correctly, hold one end of the cable and throw the rest in front of you. As mentioned above, the cable should unravel in the air and then lie flat once on the ground.
Instructions for Left Handed Individuals
For those of you who are left handed, grab the cable’s end in your left hand with the male or female end facing you, this will be your collecting hand.
Guide part of the remaining cable into a clockwise loop with your right hand and release it to your collecting hand.
The second loop is where it can get tricky.
With your left hand as the collecting hand, take your right hand and rotate it internally until your palm faces outwards.
Grab part of the remaining cable and externally rotate until your palm is now facing your other hand. Now bring your right hand to your left and release the finished loop to the collecting hand.
Now keep repeating step one and two until you have reached the end of your cable. To test if you’ve wrangled correctly, hold one end of the cord and throw the rest in front of you. As mentioned above, the cable should unravel in the air and then lie flat once on the ground.
The inspiration for this blog was from 'No Film School’s "Beginner’s Guide to Wrapping/Wrangling Cables the Professional Way"'.
Watch our video below to see how wrangling a cord correctly can save you time on set!