Um, Let's Take An Intermission (Wireless Woes)


Well-Known Member
This isn't a train wreck story, but I find it humorous anyway. I'm helping my old grade school with their musical, The Music Man, and we just had two performances for the school. I got there this morning, and changed the batteries in the 10 shure wireless lavs I'm using. The director bought these no-name batteries I've never heard of before, but, what the heck, we'll use them anyway.

First show goes off without a hitch. Second show, I'm starting to get some fuzz from the wireless, and the receivers are switching antenneas to find a good signal. 10 minutes later, all the recievers say "low battery", and start loosing the carrier signal all together.

By this time, I'm in a bit of a tizzy, as there's no time to get back there to change batteries. Luckily, I still had enough common sense to suggest having an intermission, then ran backstage and changed batteries with whatever was on-hand.

As a side note, this show was not supposed to have an intermission. Oh well, the kids didn't notice, so, I guess I did my job correctly.

Now, anyone else have interesting wireless mess-ups?
One time I took a set a batteries for my camera which left one pack short. So I ran the old batteries in that pack. I actually kinda got confused between old and new batteries.This is the G2 Sennheiser stuff, the batteries last forever. Well, during one scene, the pack which got shorted died, right during this charachter's song. The receiver had no RF, so I knew it was a battery. I called several times on the radio to a certain crew member to get to the board. Of course he didn't. So, I got pissed, and told my assistant to run the board, I ran back and swapped his batteries during the blackout.
always use Premium batteries, Not Dollar store specials. I've learned my lesson.
I like the Duracell Ultras myself. Our community theatre's sound guy insists on bringing in the Dollar General batteries. One time there were a few left over, so I decided to do a test. At the beginning of a maintainence session, I got out a pair of wireless hand-helds. I put a Duracell in one and a Dollar General in the other. I turned them both on and left the booth. When I came back up about four hours later, they were both still on and indicating a half charge. None the less, after a musical I have a year supply of AAs and 9Vs.

I would say my biggest wireless screw-up(s) was/were during Beauty and the Beast. My first mistake was borrowing three low-end AT lavs. They sounded like the singer was singing into a can and no amount of EQ would fix it. The bigger thing that took a few rehearsals for me to notice was the master b out on the Venice 240. I was so used to the Soundcraft's post fader masters that I didn't notice my mono channel was pre-fader. I had the center cluster running so low that I didn't notice it until the video guys asked me why they could hear random conversations during blackouts (they were bleeding my mono mix into theirs for clarity). I looked down and saw the button was up. Whoops, sorry guys! Luckily, it was only a rehearsal.
when I lived on Kauaii I helped back stage of the daily performance of south pacific at one of the hotels.and they were training a new sound guy and he read a cue wrong and turned on one of the mics of one of the actors backstage. who was unfortunately in the bathroom at the time.
Did you change the batteries again before the second show? I always, no matter what bateries i use change them every show. Sometimes we have a pack that drains them in one act.
I also change them absolutely every show, even if two shows are back to back. Especially if a microphone is fighting interference from cell phones, heater systems, or many other things, it causes the battery to work in overdrive and it goes dead really fast, even in maybe an hour.
Believe it or not, Medic Drug has very good bulk rates on their batteries.
I find myself that instead of me leaveing deck i just have someone back stageon headsets or near the SM that has a big sack-o-batteries. But my favorite battery mess up was during Juleus Caesar we had Caesars lav die in the giant scene where hes talking with brutus, then doesnt leave before his speech before being killed. So we had a dead lead, without being able to change batteries, with the lav hidden up his toga. So of course, we have a stage hand crawl up under the scenery, reach up the toga, and change the battery. Very funny for crew...but the house never knew the better.

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