Help with Element and Water


Ok, So this year we have decided to do Singing in the Rain, and if any of you have seen the play you know that in one part it rains on one person. The problem I am seeing is how do I keep the mic element dry or what should I do about that scene with water and the Mic (and yes, we are making it really rain).

Using Shure U series, DPA element.
element and rain

Okay first off where is the element located on the actor? How many performances do you have to do?
I would recomend placing the element center of the forehead right below the hairline pointing towards the mouth. That way the water will not naturally flow into the element. Second I would take a pair of panty hose, spray them down with scotch guard or a shoe waterproofing spray, cut a small piece and attach it over the element. If the show is running for more than a dozen performances I would look into a countryman isomax b-6. Hope that helps.
Or you could try and talk the director into letting the actor wear a hat for the scene and water proof that.

I did Singing in the Rain way back when I was in high school. And sad to say we did real rain on stage and it never read in the house. Hope you have better luck.
In the movies, when they "make rain" they add a milk-like liquid to the water to make it show up more.
milk in rain

Hey Dave I thought they did that for the cameras to able to pick it up. I might be wrong. I would definitely stay away from real milk unless you want to deal with that smell.
Note: that was "milk-like" substance... NOT REAL MILK.

I point I was making is that water doesn't show up well under stage lights... you need to add something to the water to make it reflect the light more.
milk like substance

Sorry about that, now I've been racking my brain for a day tryiing to come up with a milk-like substance that might work. And I'm lost. You want something that isn't going to smell, isn't going to be sticky, isn't going to make the floor slick, won't hurt the scenery, and won't stain the costume, not to mention non-toxic. I've got nothing. Anyone want to take a shot at this?
perhaps a bit of powdered starch for making it show up? Don't know how clear it gets when disolved however.

I don't know anything about sound (hooray!) but read on another forum about using unlubricated condoms over the mic element. Might be interesting or at least fun.
condoms over element

Ship careful there the condom goes over the transmitter pack not the element. That is a very quick way to destroy sound quality.
There is now a company out there that started making latex transmitter covers. The product name is something like "Sheathes". In case anybody has a problem getting a school to put together a purchase order for 200 non-lubricated condoms.
Hey TM1000. After speniding a little more time thinking about the original question, I have come up with a couple more problems you might want to be ready for.
When we did Singin in the Rain, years ago, You couldn't see the rain, but you could hear it. And I mean hear it. It was loud. Now remember, you are dealing with an omnidirectional mic, so the poor actor has to be louder than the rain for the mic to do anything. If he can't sing it out it's just gonna sound like Gene Kelly going over Niagra Falls.
Secondly you are gonna want to put the transmitter pack in something too. I'm sure you have already thought of this, but just in case.
If you have a shotgun mic handy you might want to see if you can keep it set up for this scene. Because even with all the steps to avoid water getting to the element all it takes is one drop to sit on the the windscreen and the scene is toast. The mic will be fine, but the sound of the mic until the water bead comes off will be horrible.
Hope this helps a little and doesn't scare ya too much
By the way, more to my field but also lacking in experience in it, how are you doing the rain and also, how are you protecting the stage deck?

Only experiences I have with water on stage was not good. The "old man of the theater" where I worked got really pissed when water started coming thru the deck into the dressing rooms below in addition to having to replace sections of the sprung dance floor that's installed over the dance floor.

I remember the Canadian touring company did some un-remembered but really good production layed down plastic and had a gutter to catach the water, but it was still insufficient. That was the production that had a ceiling unit requiring a tech person to fly in from the grid to re-focus some of the lights that could not be reached with a ladder or stage brace.

What is your theater doing as it's really hard to keep the water from getting everywhere?
Scott's a good guy I have spoken to him a few times on other things, and he has the original copy of the notes on how I repair cable and wire plugs. Never saw this on his website, have to look closer to other things not noticed.

In review, I thought I wrote a lot of info... Have to read it tomorrow, it's late. Thanks for the link. Here I am an old dog as it were learning new tricks.
So Tm100. How is it going with the Rain? What did you end up trying? Did it work? I hope it went well. Keep us posted.
Jo-JotheSoundDog said:
So Tm100. How is it going with the Rain? What did you end up trying? Did it work? I hope it went well. Keep us posted.

ok this is what happened, we put bandaids over the top of the element, he sounded slightly muffled during the song, but nothing to complain about and it wasn't really that bad at all. The pnly problem we had was the last night of the show when he forgot to put them on. The element was filled with water (DPA).

Anyways to show the rain we placed about 9 lights around the stage that were only used for that scene. They reflected the water quite well.
TechnicalDirector3-W said:
put a condom over the mic element it works great and everything stays dry, no kidding.

Putting a condom over the mic element makes it harder for me to mix the show, The person's voice would sound muffled. You need it to be breathe-able so that you can understand what the person says clearly

I have however used the condom around the base of the wireless transmitter to avoid sweat.
Sound w/rain

We just did Singin' with water. I moved the element down his jaw line and taped it with the usual medical tape - had no problems at all. Note that he was wearing a hat.
Put the transmitter in a baggie custom cut.
The pie thrown in the show was another story......microphone killer.
By the way - built the rain tube from and it worked great! Shot lights from several angles (and mixed the colors) and it showed up reasonably well.

Users who are viewing this thread