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Any tips for recording in salt water pool?


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Part of the series I'm currently working on has a scene where our host will be swimming with dolphins in a Six Flags salt water pool for a demonstration of dolphin echolocation.


We'll have hydrophones for underwater sounds, recording to some digital recorder.

I'm renting either an Lectro MM400 or WM transmitter, along with a waterproof lav for surface-y stuff, placed on the host, who'll be wearing a wetsuit and hopefully a life jacket.


Primary camera is a 5D in a hard underwater housing. Several GoPros scattered about underwater, as well.

Recording to a 552.


Any tips on how to sync the 5D to the 552?

I'd rather not put any of my slates in the pool, if the handlers would even let me. A proper handclap would hopefully suffice, but does anyone have any better ideas? Fewer, longer takes?

Or, any other useful tips? I'll have the wireless and a CS3e on the the longest pole I own at 19 feet as a backup. Hopefully, it won't be windy and I can get away with a softie.


Thanks in advance,


Dave Wendlinger

San Francisco, CA


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A clapboard will be your best method for sync seeing as how the 552 doesn't generate timecode.

The MM transmitter will do a good job when not in the pool and the boom will be the only way to get dialogue when the host is in the water and comes to the surface to talk.

Keep in mind that all around the pool will be wet and slippery. Do NOT wear a harness with all your gear strapped to your chest near the pool and try to swing a 19 foot pole. That's a recipe for losing your footing and badly hurting yourself and/or going in the water yourself. Tell production they have to hire a separate boom op, no exceptions. If they refuse, they don't get dialogue when the host is in the pool.

As for the salt water and it's effects on gear. Immediately after you're done shooting power down the transmitter and rinse it with fresh water. I would then remove the battery and give it another good rinse. Let it thoroughly dry before putting a new battery back in and powering up.

Production Sound Mixing for Television, Film, and Commercials.


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After use, with the transmitter still sealed, rinse (flood) with fresh water (tap water is fine) and dry with a towel before opening for batteries or putting it away. A remote wire folded dipole antenna with the end out of the water (on shoulder or behind head) will do wonders for transmission. Under water antennas at UHF don't work at all.  If the host is in a wet suit and life-jacket, the wire will be a minor distraction. Lubricate o-rings with a dab of Vaseline and place a dab inside the SMA antenna connector if you have a unit with remote antenna capability. On a WM, dry out  the desiccant doors occasionally.


There are only a few in existence, but a stainless steel WM or MM is ideal for salt water. And can act as a diver's weight.

Best Regards,
Larry Fisher

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Well said Larry,


I have 2 alum MM400 and 1 stainless


I use B3 mikes as they are more robust


With the person wearing one rig the transmitter high up behind their neck in their suit

and remember a high rig in the mike as once its in the water its over.


Also ensure the mike connector is tightly screwed in as I had a WM filled with salt water!!!!!!!!!!! RIP



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Thanks for all the help, everyone! The shoot is tomorrow.

I'll follow everyone's advice and hope/pray for the best.

I got a WM kit from Trew in LA, which I'll see for the first time on location. Includes a couple of mikes.

Bringing most of my toys/tools, including an 816 which rarely comes out to play.

I won't wear a harness rig near the pool. Excellent warning!

I bought a novelty clapper slate from a "entertainment" store which happened to be across the street from today's location's lunch spot. 8 bucks. Which I'll use tomorrow, then probably throw away, if it doesn't become my stunt slate.

What could possibly go wrong? :blink:

Thanks again!



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The shoot went well, although ultimately, I had to abandon the WM because I couldn't convince our host to wear a BCD vest as flotation and he couldn't stay high enough out of the water to keep the VT lav clear.

Boomed the wet stuff with my CS3e and a softie at full 19' extension, but partially balanced on a rig I have for such occasions. My mixer was on a small stand/cart.

The Six Flags hydrophone didn't work, so mine came to the rescue, hooked to my old Radio Shack 9volt amp/speaker and recorded into my Edirol R-09 placed poolside in a ziplock bag.

The Six Flags talent almost jumped into the water with my non-waterproof mike, luckily I got a sense about what she was thinking, and stopped her, so no calls to the insurance company.

Everyone happy so far, most likely except for post who will find something to complain about.

Thanks again for all the advice!


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