Welcome to this lesson on essential wiring tools for audio professionals. Whether you’re just starting out in the industry or have been working with audio for years, having the right wiring tools can make all the difference in the quality of your work. In this lesson, we will cover a variety of wiring tools that are commonly used in the industry and explain their purposes so that you can become familiar with them and decide which ones are essential for your needs.
It’s important to note that while not every accessory on this list may be necessary for every job, having a diverse arsenal of wiring tools can help you be better prepared for any situation. As the saying goes, “if you don’t have it, you’re gonna wish you did.” So let’s dive into the world of essential wiring tools and equip ourselves for success in the audio industry.
Straps play a crucial role in securing both microphones and transmitters onto the talent during film, television, or live event productions. They are designed to provide a comfortable and discreet method of attaching these essential audio devices to the body, allowing for optimal sound recording without compromising the talent’s performance or movement. By ensuring that the microphone or transmitter remains in the correct position throughout the scene, straps help maintain consistent audio quality and reduce the need for retakes due to audio issues.
When selecting straps for use in a production, it is important to consider factors such as comfort, durability, and adjustability. A well-designed strap should be made from soft, breathable materials that prevent irritation or discomfort during long periods of wear. Additionally, the strap should provide a secure grip on the body, reducing the risk of slippage or movement during action-packed scenes. Straps should also be easy to adjust and accommodate various body shapes and sizes, ensuring a customized fit for each talent. By prioritizing these features, production teams can effectively secure microphones and transmitters to their talent, enabling them to focus on their performance while delivering high-quality audio recordings.
URSA Chest Straps
URSA Chest Straps are an essential accessory for anyone in the entertainment industry who needs to rig microphones onto sweaty or hairy chests. These straps are designed to reduce noise from hairy chests and allow you to rig on hot, sweaty bodies. The unique gripper strips on the strap keep it from slipping, ensuring that your microphone stays securely in place.
The mic pouch that comes with the URSA Chest Strap is designed to fit all microphone sizes and mounts. The ultra-thin fabric of the pouch is invisible even under tight T-shirts, making it a discreet and versatile accessory. The unique “Cable Keeper” feature of the URSA Chest Strap stops the mic from pulling out of the pouch, ensuring that your recordings are of the highest quality. The one-size-fits-all strap is adjustable and can be used on a variety of body types, making it a versatile and essential accessory for any sound engineer or filmmaker. Whether you are recording dialogue for a film or a live performance, URSA Chest Straps are a reliable and effective solution for rigging microphones onto the chest.
The URSA Back Strap is a new solution for securely rigging microphone or IEM packs to the center of the back, between the shoulder blades. The adjustable gripper straps allow for a comfortable and secure fit, while the transmitter can be rigged with the aerial facing up or down. The back strap comes in medium and large sizes, fitting chest sizes 36-40 inches and 41-45 inches, respectively. It is available in both black and beige, and fits all transmitter/receiver sizes.
URSA Head Straps
The URSA Head Strap is a versatile accessory designed for motion capture artists and puppeteers. This strap allows you to rig one or more microphones, headphones, and markers to the center of the forehead, making it the perfect tool for capturing live vocals during motion capture performances. The hypoallergenic polyurethane gripper on each strap ensures that it stays firmly in place while remaining comfortable to wear. Additionally, the adjustable gripper straps make the Head Strap a one-size-fits-all accessory suitable for a variety of head sizes and shapes.
URSA Head Straps were originally designed for Production Sound Mixer Simon Hayes for use on the film ‘CATS’ and have since become an essential tool for motion capture artists and puppeteers. They are available in black and beige, making them a discreet and versatile accessory. Additionally, the Head Straps are machine washable with detergent at 40 degrees, making them easy to clean and maintain. Whether you are working on a film set or a live performance, the URSA Head Strap is a reliable and effective solution for rigging microphones, headphones, and markers to the forehead.
Transmitter straps, which are larger than those used for lavaliers, feature a built-in pouch that securely houses the transmitter pack. This design ensures that the pack remains snugly in place without moving, even during dynamic scenes or performances. High-quality transmitter straps prioritize comfort, allowing the talent to fully concentrate on their performance rather than being distracted by the presence of the transmitter on their body.
Placing a transmitter pack on a talent’s ankle is a popular choice for several reasons. Firstly, it is conveniently out of the way, ensuring that the pack does not interfere with the talent’s movement or clothing. Secondly, its location makes it easily accessible for technicians who may need to replace batteries or make adjustments during a production.
Using tools like the Lav-Bullet, Rode Mic Drop, or Lav-Rod can greatly facilitate the process of positioning the transmitter pack and routing the connector side of the lavalier microphone down the pants. These tools help sound technicians efficiently and discreetly secure the transmitter packs and lavalier microphones, allowing the talent to focus on their performance without being distracted by the audio equipment.
With the transmitter pack secured on the ankle, both the talent and the production team can experience a smoother and more efficient workflow, ultimately contributing to a higher-quality final production.
The URSA Ankle Strap is a comfortable, low-profile strap designed to keep your transmitter in place without adding bulk or discomfort. Made with new fabric technology, these ultra-slim straps are just 1mm thick and feature a unique bonded fabric that hook gripper can grip to at any point. The ankle straps come in 4 different colors: Beige, Black, Brown, or White, and are available in a big pouch size that suits all units.
The URSA Calf Strap is a longer version of the URSA Ankle Strap, measuring 47cm in length. It has a gripper to keep it from slipping around the calf and ankle, ensuring a secure fit for your transmitter. The strap is 1mm thick and made of a unique bonded fabric which the hook gripper can grip to at any point.
Available in beige or black, the URSA Calf Strap comes with a big pouch to suit all units. The pouch measures 10cm tall and 8cm wide, with a unique oval of gripper inside to keep the transmitter in place. The integrated cable pocket allows the mic cable to be looped and secured on the strap without the need for sticky tape. The URSA Calf Strap is machine washable at 40 degrees and can be tumble dried at a low temperature.
URSA Thigh Straps are designed to keep your wireless transmitter in place and hidden under clothing. With a unique polyurethane gripper, the straps stay securely on the thigh without slipping down. There are two versions available: one with a standard vertical pouch and the other with a horizontal sideways pouch.
The standard pouch is perfect for holding transmitters in a vertical position while the sideways pouch is great for hiding small transmitters under mini skirts. The straps are 63cm long and 10cm wide with a big pouch that measures 10cm tall x 8cm wide. The integrated cable pocket allows for the mic cable to be looped and secured on the strap without the need for sticky tape. Color-coded labels make it easy to identify the strap size.
The URSA Waist Straps are the original ultra-slim, breathable straps designed to keep transmitters securely in place while offering maximum comfort. They are available in four different sizes – Small, Medium, Large, and XL – to accommodate all body types. In addition, they come in four different colors – Beige, Espresso, Black, and White – and with either a Small Pouch or a Big Pouch to suit all units.
URSA Waist Straps Double Pouch are a versatile solution for keeping your wireless transmitter and backup battery secure and hidden. The double pouch design allows for both items to be worn comfortably on the waist, without adding bulk or discomfort. The straps are available in three sizes (Small, Medium, and Large) and two colors (Beige or Black) to suit different body types and wardrobe needs.
The URSA Waist Straps Double Pouch feature big pouches that can accommodate all transmitter types, and integrated cable pockets that allow the cables to be looped and secured without the need for sticky tape. The straps are made of a unique bonded fabric that allows the hook gripper to grip at any point, ensuring a secure and comfortable fit. With their slim profile and breathable design, URSA Waist Straps Double Pouch provide a discreet and comfortable solution for wireless mic placement.
Pouches serve an essential function in keeping transmitters safe and secure during production. Rather than placing a transmitter directly into someone’s pocket, where it could potentially be scratched, damaged, or cause discomfort, using a pouch offers a more professional and protective solution. Pouches are specifically designed to house transmitters, ensuring that they are well-guarded and stable during filming.
Some pouches come equipped with clips, which further enhance their versatility and ease of use. These clips enable the pouches to be discreetly hidden under clothing, maintaining the visual integrity of the talent’s wardrobe while still providing quick access for adjustments or battery replacements. By using pouches with clips, production teams can ensure that their audio equipment is not only secure but also inconspicuous, allowing for a more seamless and professional production process.
URSA Belt Pouches are a versatile solution for rigging wireless transmitters in various ways. They come with a free removable clip that allows you to clip the pouch to any garment and hang it vertically or horizontally. The pouches are low-profile soft pouches that can be rigged to URSA Belts, standard belts, or bras, and can also be sewn or pinned into costumes. They can be used to rig a transmitter vertically or horizontally, as IEM pouches, or just as soft protection when placing transmitters in pockets or other areas.
URSA Belt Pouches are available in four sizes (Q5X XL, Mini, Small, Medium, and Large) and two colors (Black and Beige). They are made of a new bonded fabric technology that is just 1mm thick, providing excellent stretch, comfort, and breathability. The outer surface of the fabric allows the hook gripper to grip at any point, ensuring a secure fit. With their versatility and low-profile design, URSA Belt Pouches are a great addition to any sound mixer’s toolkit.
K-Tek Heat Block Pouches
K-Tek’s innovative Stingray HeatBlock Transmitter Pouches offer a groundbreaking solution to the issue of heat generated by wireless microphone transmitters worn on set.
Boasting a patented heat-resistant material, these pouches are not only soft and flexible, but also provide exceptional insulation at the elevated temperatures transmitters can reach. The Stingray HeatBlock pouches ensure comfort and satisfaction for actors, eliminating complaints about the heat.
Available in three sizes, these meticulously hand-sewn pouches are suitable for most popular transmitter brands, with the Mini size fitting models like Lectronics SSM and Zaxcom ZMT3. Designed without sharp corners or protrusions, these pouches offer a smooth, snug fit, and can be used with or without transmitter clips.
In some instances, securing a transmitter pack to the talent can be straightforward by utilizing the belt that is already part of the talent’s wardrobe. This approach is convenient and allows for seamless integration with the talent’s outfit. However, there may be situations where using the talent’s belt is not feasible or accessible.
In such cases, standalone belts with built-in slits can be employed to hold the transmitter pouch securely. These belts are specifically designed to accommodate transmitter packs, ensuring that they remain firmly in place throughout the production. The slits in the belt make it easy to slide the transmitter pouch into position and provide a discreet, comfortable solution for the talent. By using these specialized belts, production teams can maintain a high level of audio quality while keeping the talent comfortable and focused on their performance.
URSA Live Pouches are a versatile and secure solution for holding wireless transmitter and receiver units. They feature a wider opening that can accommodate most sizes of transmitter and receiver, and come with an integrated Quick Release Tab secured with hook and loop tape. This allows for quick gear and frequency changes while ensuring your device stays secure.
The URSA Live Pouches also come with a Quick Release Loop that can securely attach the pouch to a belt or guitar strap, while still allowing for easy removal if needed. They are available in three sizes (Medium, Large, and Double) and can accommodate popular transmitter and receiver units from Sennheiser, Shure and more
The URSA Belt is a versatile solution for rigging wireless transmitters in a variety of applications. Measuring 5cm wide by 115cm long, the belt can be cut to fit smaller waists with scissors. The belt has been specifically designed for use with URSA Belt Pouches, which are available in four sizes (mini, small, medium, and large) to accommodate all transmitter sizes.
URSA Belts are available in two colors (Beige and Black) and can be machine washed at 40 degrees and tumble dried at a low heat. The belts are also compatible with AquaPacs and can be used as a strap for clipping transmitters onto them. The belts feature a double-bonded fabric for added strength and thickness, ensuring that they do not sag or stretch under the weight of transmitters.
URSA Belts are particularly useful for theatre and live performance applications where artists often need to rig multiple transmitters onto a single belt. With their durable construction and adjustable sizing, URSA Belts provide a reliable and comfortable solution for wireless mic placement.
The URSA Shorties are a versatile solution for women in live performances, TV, and feature films. These form-fitting shapewear feature 3 built-in pouches that provide a comfortable, low-profile option for holding transmitters. The two inner leg pouches and one lower back pouch are designed to stay in place and are secured with poppers to keep the transmitter securely rigged inside. Aerials can be rigged upright or facing down in all pouches.
URSA Shorties are available in four sizes (Small, Medium, Large, and Extra Large) and two colors (Beige and Black), making them compatible with all Sennheiser, Shure, Sound Devices, Lectrosonics, Wisycom, and Zaxcom units. The poppers on the pouches ensure that the transmitters are securely held in place, while the low-profile design allows the URSA Shorties to be worn discreetly under tight outfits.
The Pouch Protector is a handy accessory that provides extra security for wireless transmitter inside the pouch. It comes in a pack of 4 in black or beige and is recommended for use during gravity-defying action sequences, wire work, dance, or when a transmitter is rigged upside down on the body. The Pouch Protector ensures that the transmitter stays securely in place, even during rigorous movements, providing added peace of mind for the user.
Thomas is knowledgeable because of his real-world experiences. He has a great ability to teach and keep people engaged.
My favorite part was how you described what kids will do to the mic if you explain it in too much detail.
By sharing his experience in the field, Thomas Popp gives a very informative dissertation on all the techniques that go into perfecting the art of getting the sound right the first time and eliminating every problematic situation while dealing with talent gently and tactfully.
He teaches from a Union perspective and this information is crucial for me as I am currently working on joining. Watching these videos has taught me so much and I am already incorporating these techniques on set.
I definitely need to watch a second time to let it all sink in.