Friday, July 8, 2011

Hanging Sound Blankets on the PVC Light Stand

One thing I love about all this DIY stuff is how it seems to reinvent itself, often with no effort on my part. While pondering solutions for echoing "live" rooms (ones with lots of sound reflection), I thought of a way to use existing pieces in the PVC light stand kit to hang a sound blanket. Most people use moving blankets to absorb wayward sound waves, but I didn't have any, so I used the thickest blankets I could find.

This setup involved a maxing out of the light stand's stability. After adding three 2' lengths for a total height of 6', I added the third stabilizer leg (mentioned in the original video) as well as a third foot. At the top of the stand I added a 3/4" t-joint and plugged a 2' length into each end. This provides a perfect hanger for the blankets, which usually span 4' in width. Finally, I added a 10lb. leg weight to each stand, to keep it from tipping over.

Now comes the hard part. Where to hang these blankets in a boomy room can be a real challenge. The general consensus is that you get as much absorption (the blankets) or diffusion (a stack of crates) in the way of the incoming dialogue, typically behind the camera. Experimentation should give some usable results. I'm just glad I now have a practical way to hang blankets, which was always a question mark.

1 comment:

david said...

I made a PVC mic stand that I intended to use out on the street with a Rode VideoMic. Instead of carrying weights, I filled the foot sections with pebbles from Walmart (they sell them by the bag in the garden section).

To keep the pebbles in, I did the following: I cut a short piece of PVC pipe about 1 inch long. Then took a lengthwise slice (about 1/4 inch wide) out of that short piece, making it into an inch-long "C". I compressed it, and placed it in the center of the T fitting blocking the tail of the T where the leg fit. The cut area of the short piece of pipe should face directly opposite the hole in the T, and it should be long enough to fully block the hole but not long enough to interfere with the leg pipes. For added security, a dab of PVC cement could be smeared in the gap between the pipe piece and the T.

Then I glued the foot pieces of PVC pipe into the T. I glued one end cap on, filled the foot with pebbles to the top, and then glued the other end on. The pebbles were now fully captive and would not leak (sand probably would have because of how the "C" fit into the T.

There you have it, self-contained weighted feet for your whatever-stand.

[Note: I was using the thin walled 1" PVC pipe, which is pretty easy to cue with a PVC cutter or tin snips. It also allows more internal capacity for pebbles than the thick wall stuff would have.]