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Hidden Mics: My Take

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David Jones
Hidden Mics: My Take
on Jul 16, 2008 at 3:24:52 am

After a shoot I had last week in which I had to hide lav mics (on people), I thought I would share some of my findings and hope to stir others to share their techniques.

First off, I was using the Sanken COS11x. I had to hide it on a couple of different men wearing button-up shirts, and it had to be done quickly.

The biggest problem with hidden mics (as we all know) is clothing noise...that is, clothing rubbing against the mic or mic mount. My expermenting led me to use the Sanken COS11x with the rubber mount and a strip of Top Stick. After mounting the mic in the rubber mount (according to Sanken's instructions), I stuck a piece of Top Stick between two buttons on the shirt (at sternum); then I mounted the rubber mount with the mic inside to the Top Stick strip. Then I buttoned the shirt back up and carefully pushed the shirt, around the rubber mount, to the rest of the exposed Top Stick strip. This last part was the key to preventing the shirt around the mic from rubbing against it. I never had ANY clothing noise on ether hidden mic during the entire shoot! I also never had to change out the Top Stick strip like I've had to do with sticky tringles.

Before the shoot, I expermented with the Rycote Undercovers; machically, they worked just like they claimed, but I still had major clothing noise issues. Maybe someone else has had better luck with these than I.

I've also had to hide Trams (or Sonotrims), and the only technique I found that works is the sticky triangle method. If you don't know what this is, there are instructions on the websites of Location Sound and Equipment Emporium. Also, don't forget to make a loop in the mic cable (about an inch from the capsule), and secure it with thread or tape, to help prevent noise from the cable. Trams are also great for hiding in hats (on the inside underneath of the bill).

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Ty Ford
Re: Hidden Mics: My Take
on Jul 16, 2008 at 11:21:36 am


Thanks for your generosity. This is some very helpful info.

I did sound for some standups last month and found the Rycote stickies with hairball cover worked nicely on my countryman B6 mics.

We were outside with very little wind. US Army officers in camo. I stuck the B6 on one side and covered it with a hairball and after unzipping the camo jacket, stuck the other side on the skin just under where the zipper would come back up. There was a very slight tuft of the hairball showing, but not enough to distract. That worked well for the entire afternoon on 4-5 interviews.

Earlier that day, I used the buttonhole trick for the B6 for an inside walk and talk around an armored personnel carrier. No problem.


Ty Ford

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

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Will Salley
Re: Hidden Mics: My Take
on Jul 17, 2008 at 6:02:58 am

..and thus my affinity for the B6 AND TopStick.

On synthetic materials, I often put a piece of Topstick (about a third of the full piece) against the B6 right below the element on the cable. If the fabric is really noisy, I'll go directly on the element. A Rycote undercover will fit exactly over the Topstick/mic and finally a u-shaped piece of topstick around the undercover. This last piece can be used to hold a loose garment and prevent it from moving around, and thus, rubbing on the undercover. This works well with noisy, but sonically transparent synthetics only. On cotton fabrics, I usually find a buttonhole or neck vee to position the element. The super thin cable on the B6 and the position of the Topstick below the element negate the need for the loop, but it certainly won't hurt.

i always advise the person being wired not to remove the mic after the shoot. The Topstick can wrap around the cable and become very difficult to remove. I usually say something like "if it gets in your hair we'll have to cut it out - like bubblegum" Works everytime.

And don't forget the tie rig!

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Mark Barroso
Re: Hidden Mics: My Take
on Jul 25, 2008 at 7:58:16 am

Anyone know of a trick for hiding a mic on someone with a hairy chest and wearing a t-shirt? I've never gotten this one right.

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seth peterson
Re: Hidden Mics: My Take
on Aug 31, 2008 at 10:49:37 pm

I've asked a guy to shave a small spot and he did. Only worked because He had a large chest. Some actors really care about the way they sound so I tell them that this is the best place to put the mic and they often are supportive if its a long feature.

Are their any pictures of the above techniques?

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