THE REMO KNOW-HOW
SUBJECT: The Science Behind The Oil or Soap Bubble Visual Effect in Two Ply Drumheads
Visual rainbow effects are created by light being refracted between two “lenses”. An oil layer or a soap bubble coloration is created because visible light is being refracted between the inside and outside wall of the clear liquid. Since the soap bubble (or oil) thickness varies all around the bubble, it creates a rainbow of colors.
Remo Pinstripe and Emperor drumheads are made with two “free floating” plies. As both top and bottom layers of film are transparent, light is refracted between the two plies so sometimes (depending on how the films touch each other) there is an oil or soap bubble look. Remo two ply heads do not have oil between the plies. All Emperor and Pinstripe heads will have a slightly different appearance as there is simply no way to control the amount of air, static electricity, or pressure between the two plies. The two plies are constantly changing with the environment, albeit in a minuscule amount. If you see no rainbow of colors it means that the two plies are too close or too far away to create a refractive visible light wave or spectrum length. You can test this by placing your finger in an area that looks perfectly clear with no light refraction. Press down on the top film and release your finger and you will see a dot of various colors for a second before the film returns to its previous distance. The red color area shows that the top film is approximately 700 nm (nanometers) from the bottom film. The blue color area is slightly closer with the plies being around 450 nm from each other. The other colors follow the same pattern based on their visible wavelength. Remo two ply heads are made so that both plies have a certain slip to them as the two plies vibrate. This helps to regulate the distance between the two films and keep the sound consistent. Two ply heads are unique in the fact that the two films reinforce each other to make a strong drumhead and also to tamp down high frequencies.