Singin' the mic transmitter pack blues...


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We just finished West Side Story. What a run. The students worked very hard and the crews all performed wonderfully. I couldn't be more proud of them.

We do have a couple of issues to resolve, though, before our next set of shows. We damaged 4 of our microphone transmitters during our fight and dance scenes. The damage is repairable AND ironic... our 9 year old microphone transmitters that were the cheapest to purchase were fine... our new telex MT500's were the four that took the damage (they came with the new auditorium).

We had a heck of a time finding a place on our mains' bodies to hide the mic transmitters. Our Riff did every dance move from a back sommersault to the fish to ballet lifts. We tried our mic belt, but that didn't work. We tried belting it to his thigh, but that didn't work, we tried the small of his back and that didn't work, finally he settled with gaff taping it to his upper right front quadrant to his shorts.

Where do you guys hide your mic transmitters? Usually our mic belts work, but with the aggressive dance moves that our choreographer had this show, we were at a loss.
Have you tried on the side of the body under the arm near to the armpit? To knock the pack there the actor would have to bring their arm hard against the body and back or forward to knock it. What sort of mike belts do you have? Do they have elastic in them to help keep them in place. Obviously a bit moister in this area oh well you can't win them all. As has already been asked what damage is happening? Are we talking damage to the case or damage to the microphone connections. Careful taping of the mike lead can help prevent damaged connectors. Eg Tape the mike lead to the transmitter case, leaving some slack so that if the actor does pull on the lead the connectors don't get jerked. I find most damage on wireles mikes happen at the connector which can be a pain to repair.
o joy...i have to say that the best one ive done for location was our last show was Julius Ceasar. For brutus, we had issues trying to find someplace (togas) to clip the pack, so we just gaff taped it to his very very hairy thigh. O the joy i had when i got mad and decided to really tape it on. Acters just dont know when to stop giving us crap for their dropped lines do they? Either way, cheap wax job and a good laugh for crew. Ive also found that the back bra straps work well to for packs as long as its not that tight of a shirt.
audioslavematt said:
What sort of damage are you talking about?

Most of the damage was "impact damage". Three of the transmitters had their LCD's crack, so they'll have to be swapped out. The fourth had the collar that holds the mic in the jack crack, so that piece will have to be replaced.

Most of the time it isn't an issue... the belts we made do well, but for this show's choreography, the belts didn't place the transmitters well enough and allowed them to be hit on the stage repeatedly.

I've taped to the thigh before. The only issue there is if there is a problem during the show that needs fixed (like the mic getting turned off for some strange reason). I'm a high school teacher and really don't need my students dropping trow right there in front of me. Kind of creeps me out.

I have also put microphones in high sweat areas too. A trick I learned from an old TD at our area community theater...

you need to be mature about this, though

... he would put the pack in a condom to keep it dry. Obviously you don't want all of the "frills" gunking up the pack, so don't get them with all of the bells and whistles.
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Don't leave the condom rappers around backstage though. Some of the musical parents might get the wrong impression.

This Year we did "Guy's and Dolls" and need mics that would'n break during the fight scene in "Havana" and the dance scene in "Crap Shooters Ballet." We got wal-mart brand underarmor and sewed pockets on the backes of them. It held the pack on the small of the actors back so it wouldn't be seen. It worked really well.
One thing that you can do for sweat areas, especially when taping the microphone element on the face is to clean the area with rubbing alcohol first. This will make sure the tape gets a good clean hold and will resist the sweat breaking the bond.

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