The last time I was shooting in the Operating Room, we had 3 cameras - one for a wide shot, one on a boom and one on a tripod to move around as needed. We got a part of the case where 4 things were going on. The only thing i could do was grab my phone and shoot hand held for about 15 seconds on a wide shot, knowing i could stabilize later if needed. Before stopping recording, I pointed the phone at one of the LCD monitors on another camera to catch the time code, to help synch it up later.
I did this a few times over the rest of the day.
Normally I would not suggest using a phone but in a pinch it is a decent camera for limited use in these situations.
There are likely many more stories of having to figure something out on the fly.
Anyone else have an example of having to improvise on a shoot without preparation, and / or what tools do you take with you so you can be ready for the unexpected?
I've done the iPhone thing, and if yours is equipped with one of the camera-control apps, it can be a very useful addition to the arsenal.
Sometimes I have to go shoot very long presentations, single-camera. To give the edit some variety and a higher-end look, I will bring along a consumer HDcamcorder and either run it on the mount for the main camera's light, or I'll put it on a tripod or light stand of its own, just to cover wide shot cut-aways. it really helps a lot when the conversations ge tot he Q and A portion, because now I have a cover shot for my snap-pans. So I get a pro look in the cutting, instead of the "GoPro strapped to a Labrador retriever's head"-look of a single camera trying to whip pan 180 degrees and cover a conversation.
And that cover cam has on occasion saved the shoot when the main recorder went down or we lost the audio input to the main camera, and we still had a spare wild track on the cutaway cam.