Our body mic belts are made on a wide piece of elastic with a long section of velcro at the ends to allow for different sizes. This could easily be done with the cheap walmart belts, too. The packs are actually made from the tops of socks, sewn at the bottom, and then the pack is safety pinned in by folding the top over. These look very similar to the packs that are sold to hold ipods. Of course this pack is stitched to the belt. Condoms are a very good idea, also, as sweat will damage the body mic. Oh, and don't forget to leave a small hole at the bottom of the pack when sewing them to allow for the "tail" of the pack to hang down.
From: Curtis <gckidd@...
Sent: Sun, 10 Jun 2007 2:03 am
Subject: [TheCostumersManifesto] Re: Body mic packs
--- In TheCostumersManifesto@yahoogroups.com
, Sylvia Rognstad
> It's been ages since I had to make some body packs for wireless
> microphones. I can't remember how we did them. It seems like they
> need to be attached to very wide elastic to go around the actor's waist
> and I don't know where to get such wide elastic at the last minute.
> What other options are there?
We make these all the time. One option that I've used was to get 2"
wide elastic and zigzag two lengths of it together (side by side, with
a slight overlap). However, when a designer I was working with at
another theater saw what we were using, he wanted to copy them...found
some 3 1/2" or 4" wide elastic at either JoAnn's or Hancock's (I don't
recall which, this was the middle of winter last year). Check with
the fabric stores in your area and see what the widest elastic they
have in stock may be...you could be pleasantly surprised. But if
they've got at least 2" wide elastic, you've got a workable option there.
I cut the elastic to the length of the waist measurement of the
performer (give or take an inch or two), then put about a three-inch
section of loop tape (the soft side of the velcro) on one end of the
belt, and multiple strips of 1" hook tape (the stiff side) running the
width of the belt, spaced far enough apart that two strips of the hook
tape could catch the loop tape. Then the performers could stretch the
elastic tight enough to keep it secure, without it becoming
uncomfortably tight. (I also make sure to attach the velcro in such a
way that the hook side is pointed AWAY from the skin, so as to avoid
any unnecessary chafing issues...) I also encourage them, if they're
going to be dancing a lot with it, to safety pin the belt (pinning
across the belt, rather than along its length) to keep it secured.
The velcro allows for some variation in body types, etc...one could
also use snaps or hooks and eyes, I suppose, and sew them on exactly
where needed for the individual performer. That's a lot of extra
work, to me, though...
I've tried some packs with neoprene...had about equal results as just
making the 'pocket' for the transmitter out of the same material as
the belt (it gets sweat-soaked more rapidly, but it also doesn't hold
the moisture inside anywhere near as long). Using condoms on body
mics is a good idea...you may not actually NEED them, depending on how
profuse the sweat is, but it you do use them, sweat is almost
guaranteed to be a non-issue.
I've also used body mics that came with their own headsets (with the
mic on a boom that would hang in front of the mouth), as well as
lavalier mics that I have seen used in a variety of
methods...sometimes hairpinned into the hair, so you couldn't see it
at all, or taped to the face with surgical tape (which is really
inconvenient if you're doing anything involving makeup), or attached
to a 'headset' made of hanger wire that was bent to fit the head of
the individual performers. Each one had its benefits...the first,
concealed the existence of the microphone almost completely...the
second and third let you put the microphone in a uniform location so
that the sound technician didn't have to try and custom-tweak the
controls every night to make up for varying distances between the
performer's mouth and the mic. That, often, becomes a question that
is answered by the sound designer or technician.
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