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DIY Sweat Rig

Updated: Sep 12, 2019

Another unique challenge this week for the Media Melt props department as we wanted to replicate the iconic over-sweating shot from Airplane! A classic right? It’s also fairly easy and inexpensive to recreate but it will require a trip to the hardware store. When you break it down, it’s really just a tube on the actor’s head pumping water over his face. The hard parts are hiding the tube and pumping the water.

After some research (accidentally rewatching the whole of Airplane for that one 4 second shot) we realised that the tube was probably being hidden in his headphones. The head band on the headphones sit in the perfect spot on his head to make the sweat look like it’s coming from his forehead. So we copied that. Our actor however is not a rogue pilot with a drinking problem must cooperate with his ex-girlfriend turned stewardess to bring the plane to a safe landing after the passengers and crew of a jet are incapacitated due to food poisoning. No, he’s “Worker 1” in a health and safety video about Manual Handling. Easy fix, just swap the headphones for earmuffs!

The supplies you will need are:

- Earmuffs - or old headphones that you don’t mind getting wet

- Clear Vinyl Tubing – we got ours in the garden section at the hardware store, it needs to be flexible, thin and long. We got 3mm x 5m.

- Clear Vinyl Joiner – right next to the tubing in the garden section, make sure it’s the right size for your tubing. We got 3mm x 7cm and cut it in half.

- Barbed Elbow Polyethylene Fitting – We got 4mm, they came in a bag but we only needed one.

- Squeeze bottle – You want the tip to be small enough to fit inside the tube joiner snuggly. We got the Wilton brand bottles, used for icing I think. You also want to make sure that the bottle is stable but easily squeezed.

- Black tape – just plain black electrical tape

Connect the elbow fitting to the tubing using half of the joiner.

Connect the other end of the tube to the squeeze bottle using the other half of the joiner.

Use the tape to secure the tubing to the earmuffs. Make sure that the elbow fitting is in the middle of the earmuff headband.

Fill the squeeze bottle with water and shoot the shot!

If you’re worried about leakage then you could glue the joins with plastic glue, we didn’t bother and it did get a bit messy as the squeeze bottle ran low on water and I had to squeeze it quite hard, but as we film in the workshop it didn’t really matter. I would seal the joins if you wanted to film over carpet. Though I'm not sure why you would want to do that!

We’re so happy with how this turned out. Another prop that we will be trying to incorporate into as many videos as possible. This prop could potentially be used as a blood spurt rig as well, we actually have enough supplies left over to make another rig so perhaps we should try that??


Media Melt is a Video Production Company based in Dunedin, New Zealand. If you have any enquires, feel free to contact us here


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