FORUMS: list search recent posts

Laving female talent - A Tutorial

COW Forums : Audio Professionals

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
Ty Ford
Laving female talent - A Tutorial
on Mar 18, 2008 at 2:07:22 pm

Hello,

I was recently asked for a good protocol for rigging a female talent with a lav. If you are a male, this might make you uncomfortable. Here's how to get the job done.

If you consider yourself a professional videographer, just get over being uncomfortable with rigging a lav on a female. While laving non-professional talent requires a bit more sensitivity, it can certainly be done.

I'm guessing part of your discomfort is not knowing exactly how or where to put the lav. There you are fussing about near a relative strangers cleavage. Practice on your wife, girl friend, sister, aunt, mom or granny until you get comfortable.

If you aren't comfortable, your discomfort will be non-verbally communicated to the talent and may creep them out. OTOH, I've seen it give the woman a huge power boost that some guy is so undone by having to work near her, um, well, you know.

Here's how I do it. I introduce myself with a handshake and eye contact as the sound guy and explain that I need to put the lav and transmitter on her. We sometimes step away from the set to a more discreet location.

If you feel really uncomfortable due to a specific blouse or person, enlist the help of a female friend to drop the lav through the blouse and, perhaps to attach it, IF she knows what to do.

I usually drop the connector end of the mic down through her blouse and ask her to find it at her waist and get it for me after she pulls her blouse out of her slacks or skirt. The I run the cable around her waist, through belt loops if they are there and the wire won't be seen. If there are no belt loops, I tuck the wire inside her waistband to keep it out of sight.

I hang the transmitter on the back of her waistband, or sometimes put it in a jacket or pants pocket.

Each neckline is different. Turtlenecks are relatively easy, more open blouses may be more tricky. The material has a lot to do with it. Silk and a lot of synthetics can be problematic. They buildup and discharge static and you can hear that.

Some necklaces are problematic. If they hit the mic or make a lot of noise near the mic, they just have to go.

I usually try to use one or two loops in the lav wire for strain relief and to damp the noise created when the lav wire is rubbed during normal motion. Some cables are a lot worse than others. Usually the more flexible the cable, the less noise it conducts.

Check this out. Connect your lav to a mixer. Put headphones on. Listen to it. Now, hold the lav by its body and thump the cable. Hear that? The vibrations travel up the cable to the mic. Now hold the mic cable just below the mic between your thumb and index finger. Thump again. Can't hear it at all or at least the thump is reduced. Why? It's absorbed by your fingers.

I try to make a small loop, maybe one and a half inches in diameter, and use a piece of gaffers tape to hold the loop. The I tape the loop to the inside of the garment to hold it in place with enough slack so that normal body motion doesn't pull it loose. Some garment surfaces are better than others for holding the tape. I also loop the cable at the mic clip if it's possible for more strain relief and more damping. You see this on news and interview sets all the time on TV.

The Countryman B6 is an exception. I usually rig that through a button hole, slip it behind the button and run a little tape on the back of the shirt or blouse placket for strain relief and damping.

Make sure when they tuck the blouse back in that they don't yank the cable!

When de-laving, first detach the mic from the transmitter, free it from belt loops, waist bands or tape, then gently pull the mic cable back up through the blouse.

If the talent begins to do it themselves, ask them to stop, saying, "Please let me help you with that. That's a $400 mic and it can be broken if you're not careful.

If the talent needs to go to the bathroom during a shoot. It is advisable to disconnect the transmitter and take it off of them. If you don't, you will be reminded that I suggested this when the talent returns with a soggy, non-working transmitter. When they return ALWAYS visually check to see if they have pulled the mic loose when tucking back in.


Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






Return to posts index

Dan Geocaris
Re: Laving female talent - A Tutorial
on Mar 18, 2008 at 6:53:18 pm

Great tips Ty.

I do most of my work in the studio so don't end up doing too much laving, not my favorite sound. But I work with enough tracks that have been recorded that way to know the type of fabric someone is wearing can be a real problem too.

It seems some of the thinner synthetics, which women tend to wear more than men, are prone to very distracting rustling sounds with normal body movement. Most professional talent I have worked with realize this and tend to wear quieter weaves. I have even recorded a few people with normal studio micing who's blouse was so noisy I had to stop and ask to put on a soft cotton t-shirt I keep handy in the studio.

Probably not possible on a camera shoot. :)

Dan Geocaris
Concept Productions
608-833-8273


Return to posts index

Ty Ford
Re: Laving female talent - A Tutorial
on Mar 18, 2008 at 9:01:33 pm

Right you are. A stiff, starched button down can be VERY noisy.

Regards,

Ty Ford


Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






Return to posts index


Ken Zukin
Re: Laving female talent - A Tutorial
on Mar 19, 2008 at 1:21:44 am

Great tips -- and here's an addition. I usually ask the woman to run the lav mic up from the bottom of her blouse out the top -- and I always turn my back to her when she's attempting to do it. It's common courtesy and shows respect. I usually give her about 15 seconds to complete the task. Then I'll attach it, in much the same manner Ty suggests. When it's time to set the audio level, I'll always ask what she had for breakfast -- it's a friendly question that usually helps offset the tension -- esp. with someone who's never been interviewed.



Return to posts index

Thax Clave
Re: Laving female talent - A Tutorial
on Mar 19, 2008 at 7:07:48 pm

[Ken Zukin] "When it's time to set the audio level, I'll always ask what she had for breakfast -- it's a friendly question that usually helps offset the tension -- esp. with someone who's never been interviewed."

For the past 28 years, I have usually said, "Count to 176 by three's."

The next response is... silence.
A great time to record "room tone."

;-)



Return to posts index

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
© 2017 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]