Ironically, this is being written on the one day in summer that it is raining in Los Angeles. Pretty peaceful, actually, hearing the drops hit all of the leaves and plants that are thirsty for whatever Mother Nature will give them-
Let’s start over…
This blog is all about wiring talent on hot and sweaty days. It can be extremely difficult to keep microphones in place when you are dealing with sweat. However, before we talk about sweat and how to solve it, we need to discuss the ways sweat can happen.
Sweat doesn’t just come from working out.
Have you ever worked on a scene where talent will be playing basketball? What about a game show with smaller obstacles? These types of physical scenes and productions can cause the actors’ body tempt to rise up very quickly. As soon as after take 2 or 3 will you start seeing sweat causing an issue on your talent.
When I lived in Florida, I attended Full Sail University for Recording Arts and Sciences. It was a technical school, and I felt the need to live right next door to the school, making it easier to walk to school rather than use my car. After the first day I pledged to take my car to school daily, as the humidity was so horrendous that I was drenched in sweat the moment I got to the school door.
Humidity makes sweat that just doesn’t stop coming, and coming, and coming. You need to not only stop the sweat initially, you need to treat the skin to get it to chill out and stop sweating more!
Sets are another sweat maker. Lights get hot (not as hot as they used to, but they still get hot). When an actor has a huge light hitting them in the body, it will most definitely raise their core body temperature and cause sweat.
So what do we do to stop Sweat dead in its pores?
The first thing you need to do is literally get rid of it. My recommendation is to use a microfiber towel to dab the area. Get different colors or towels for each actor and keep them in a zipped bag with their name on it for the hot days.
Once the sweat is gone, we need to keep it from coming back. That requires alcohol wipes. Sometimes people will not want to use this as it does dry out the skin. It isn’t too terrible, though. Wipe it down, and let it dry. After about 15 seconds or so you can dab with your microfiber towel again if needed.
From this point on, it is fair game to stick your microphone and wiring accessory of choice onto your talents skin. From my experience, the regular Rycote Stickies do not adhere well enough when the sweat is pouring it on… Using the URSA Sticky Circles has seemed to give me more success recently. Before URSA, we used to take topstick circles (Amazon Link) (Stick-it Dots) and apply it onto the back of the Rycote Stickies (Amazon Link) in order to give them a little more bite.
So that’s it?
But it is not an exact science. It needs to be checked. Routine Maintenance is something we talk heavy about in my Toronto RF Mic Clinic Seminar. It’s all about being proactive – NOT reactive.
Now, there are always new ideas that come through the woodworks. Recently, Simon Bysshe from URSA announced on facebook he had discovered a new product called Brava Skin Barrier Spray (Amazon Link), which is used AFTER the alcohol wipe step. Spray it on from about 10 cm away, wait 15-30 seconds and then apply your microphones and their accessories. This is supposed to give a much longer adhesion time. Video Below.
What are your thoughts on sweat?
Any tips for the masses? Regardless, stay cool out there!