A Sound Lifestyle

A blog dedicated to the lifestyle of a professional Production Sound Mixer. Location sound tips and tricks. Healthy habits while working on the road. Jim Dineen- Texas Location Sound Mixer

Hotter than a witches ____ in a brass bra!

One of the perks of our job is the access it grants us to interesting and exotic places. I'm incredibly lucky to say that I've been flown around the world to do what I do. And even though it's far from a paid vacation, it's always a paid adventure!

My current project has taken me to a beautiful, tropical island off the coast of Panama! We're just now entering the rainy season and early summer so that EQUATES (that's a lame equator joke) to temps in the high 90's and humidity over 90% daily as well. 

It's hot. 

Really hot. 

Far too hot for a pudgy irish kid from New England that used to bring two shirts to school because he'd sweat through the first one by lunch!

After a few years worth of Texas summers I consider myself somewhat of an expert on dressing for the heat. I have a large portion of my wardrobe dedicated to warm weather shooting and I can honestly say investing in comfort and safety is money very well spent.

When it gets hot, things get sweaty. And that s a good sign! In fact, if you find yourself or someone else that has stopped sweating on set during a hot day that's a sure sign of heat exhaustion!

Our bodies produce sweat in reaction to a number of stimulus; anxiety, anger, spicy foods, sickness, etc. But it all comes down to one thing: body temperature regulation. We've got over 2.5 million sweat glands and they all want to keep us running at a cool 98.6.

Sweat is just a clever way of transferring heat from inside our bodies to the air around us. For proper temperature regulation we need fluids to sweat out and air to wick it away. 

Ever wonder why it feels so much hotter on a humid day? There's already too much moisture in the air! Our bodies are saying "Hey air, take this hot, wet stuff off my guy here" and the air says "Screw you man, I've already got enough of that crap. You can just hold on to it for now." That is literally what happens. It's science. 

That's also why a breeze or a fan makes us feel so much cooler- plenty of air flow and ventilation. 

But enough middle school science project, let's talk shop. 

When I'm gearing up for a warm weather shoot my number one priority is air flow. I want my clothes to be as light and breathable as possible. Some folks say light cotton is good but I say synthetic's all the way. 

It used to be Nike Dri-Fit was the only name in town but now pretty much everyone has an athletics line of clothing that offers maximum breathability, comfort and style! Because when you are sweating like a fat kid playing dodgeball you want to look good. 

Columbia Sportswear Omni Shade cargo shorts are my go to lowers. A light, quick drying and durable material make them perfect on hot shoot days. And they've got enough pockets for stashing sound guy stuff. 

Uppers are typically a dry fit material polo shirt. I try to dress a little more conservatively these days on set as my client base has expanded from strictly reality to corporate and commercial shoots as well. You can spend $60/shirt for big name sport brands or $10/shirt at your local Walmart. As long as it's wicking my sweat and keeping me cool, it works for me. 

Chub rub, monkey butt, chaffing- call it whatever you want. Get it once and you'll never want to get it again. Skin on skin rubbing in the heat is something you'll want to avoid. I use a combination of mid-thigh length compression shorts and Gold Bond powder. Everything stays where it belongs and my skin is protected from chaffing. 

My clothes laid out for the day. Thanks mom!

I keep my feet cool and comfortable with Keen Kanyon sandals. With a fully closed, rubber toe and athletic sneaker sole this are the perfect footwear for hot (or wet) shoot days. 

Full cup headphones are great on cold days, but get really uncomfortable fairly quickly when it's hot out. Not to mention, you're limited to little else but a regular baseball cap for shade. I've recently upgraded to Shure SE425 IEMs. They are dual driver and, with the proper sized sleeves, do an incredible job isolating the source material from outside noise. Just ask my fiancé who had a very one sided conversation with me the day I bought them. 

On reality sets, walkie comms are fairly important, especially when coordinating several sound mixers on bigger jobs. With a walkie surveillance in one ear you're limited to full-size headphones which cup over the ear. I recently bought the Smyles Commbiner which has given me the freedom of monitoring both my mixer AND walkie through my headphones! It's a passive combiner and comes with the custom surveillance set you'll need to get everything connected properly. This is what has allowed me to switch to IEM's and shade myself from the sun! A full review is forthcoming, but so far I love it!

Add a wide brimmed hat and you're ready to face a long, sweaty day!

Look! It's Panama Jim!

What tricks do you guys use to stay comfortable in the heat?