Author Archives: Thomas Alf


Sometimes you just know that the person who is wearing the transmitter will end up in the water. On a reality show I’ve worked on for a couple of seasons, the need for splash- or waterproofing transmitters often arises. Some manufacturers provide splash resistant transmitters or waterproof cases. Unfortunately, we have not been able to find cases for the brand we use. We’ve tried different ways of doing it, and this method keeps the transmitter dry and it’s possible to change batteries without too much hassle. This waterproof rig was tested on the last season we shot and it held up well.

What you’ll need:
-Waterproof soft case. We used a small camera case from Aquapac. It’s soft, so it can be folded and placed in the talent’s pocket.
-Glue. We used Casco LiquiSole.
-Lavalier microphone. Preferably one that can take a bit of water without breaking. We used a Countryman B3.
-Knife or scissors.
-Silica gel packs.

Put the transmitter in the soft case. Make sure it fits with the connector plugged in before you make a hole in the case. Make a small hole and pull the cable through. I like to be able to pull the transmitter out of the case without unplugging the connector, so I leave a little bit of extra cable on the inside. It can also be wise to leave a couple of extra centimeters in case you need to re-solder the connector.

Glue the cable to the case and seal the hole. Use lots of glue. Put a piece of cardboard or something else inside the case to avoid gluing the sides of the case together. We did this in two stages. First we glued the outside and let it dry. Then we did another layer on the outside and one on the inside. Put something in the opening of the case to keep it open while the glue dries.

If the talent is physically active while wearing the transmitter, moisture will gather inside the case. It helps to put a Silica gel pack in the case.

And that’s pretty much it. You now have a waterproof case for your transmitter. The case can easily be opened when you need to access the transmitter to change batteries or change frequencies. The lavalier microphone is exposed to water, and it will break eventually. Salt water is a microphone killer, so rinse it out with fresh water if you have to. You can put a condom around the mic to keep it dry, but it will sound bad. I personally prefer to break a mic once in a while rather than using a condom over it. One of our Sanken Cos-11s was dropped into salt water 6 months ago. We rinsed it out with fresh water immediately after and it still works well.

Remember to test the empty case under water before you try it with the transmitter inside.

Follow this tutorial at your own risk. Good luck and keep dry.

How do you keep your equipment dry? Comment and let me know.

Toilet roll holder

I’ve been travelling around a lot this month. One of the hotels I stayed at had a bathroom with a couple of interesting sounds. The ventilation system whistled when the wind blew outside, the shower drain made lots of noise and the toilet roll holder squeaked. Unfortunately, I didn’t get my recorder ready quick enough and the wind outside died down. No ventilation whistles for me.. I spent a little time recording the toilet roll holder instead. Hopefully, this can be used for a squeaky gate or an old street sign in a deserted town.

The bathroom was a little too noisy, so I had to use Izotope RX to clean up the recording a bit. There’s still a little noise left, but I’m sure I can get away with it in the mix.

Equipment: Zoom H4N

Oslo city rooftop

One of the companies I freelance for has an office building downtown. I brought my recording gear with me one day and set it up on the roof before work. I let the recorder roll for a while and got some good city ambience. There are some sirens in there, as well as birds and a helicopter. For some reason, I just love to record city ambiences. I usually record at street level, but it’s nice to get up high to avoid loud footsteps, talking and other disturbing sounds.

Rode NT-4 > Sound Devices 302 > Sound Devices 744T (Not sure why I used the 302. I think I was testing something, but I can’t remember what. Note to self: take more notes when recording..)

Bike sounds

The last time I visited my parents, I had some free time on my hands. Inspired by Nathan’s post about bike sounds, I borrowed my brother’s racing bike and started recording. I grabbed some random stuff in our basement and tried to hold them against the bike wheel to create interesting sounds. If I had had more time to record, I could have gotten more and better sounds out of this session. At least this experiment gave me a couple of good sounds and more ideas to try at a later time.

Equipment: Rode NTG-3 -> Sound Devices 744T

The plastic flight of a dart made a screaming sound when held against the wheel at the correct angle:

The metal from a tealight:

I tried combining objects to get more interesting sounds. Cardboard and tealight metal in a metal pipe:

Cardboard from a milk carton:

A couple of more samples:

Plastic bottle

A while ago my wife made me aware of this incredible noisy plastic bottle in our fridge. I dug out my recorder and played with the bottle for a while. The sounds I got out of it might be useful for something in the future. You never know..

Below is a sample of the original recording and slowed down versions of it. The slowest version kind of sounds like distant artillery. Kind of..

Equipment: Rode NT4 -> SD744T