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Lavalier mics on actors outdoors and indoors

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Larry Watts
Lavalier mics on actors outdoors and indoors
on Aug 4, 2013 at 10:46:38 pm

We will be shooting actors in different settings (live action drama) four times a week in short shooting sessions on a regular basis. It makes getting a pro audio tech and boom operator challenging since they are not full day shoots.

It would be a whole lot easier if the actors wore hidden lavaliere mics. I know a shotgun is ideal, but using a non professional boom operator does not thrill me either. A small crew would help as well.

Is there a way to compensate for the inherent weaknesses of lavs that might make the choice to use them more acceptable? I understand reality TV shows us them often.

If money that would be spent on a shotgun mic, boom, blimp and operator were put into the budget for a more expensive lav system like lectrosonics, DPA, zaxcom or higher end sennheiser using rycote undercovers could we achieve a professional result?

The weaknesses to overcome as I understand it is a less present sound and sound without enough ambient sound. Since dialogue replacement is common in the industry could the ambient problem be achieved with shooting more ambient on location? And the lack of presence be overcome with miss designed for theatre actors such as those made by DPA?

By the way I've watched Ty's mic tutorial and I know one can't change physics.

Thanks

Larry



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Richard Crowley
Re: Lavalier mics on actors outdoors and indoors
on Aug 4, 2013 at 10:57:47 pm

This is really an open-ended question that is almost impossible to answer. We don't know what situations you shooting? Is there lots of action, wrestling, sword-fights, mud-wrestling? Or perhaps people sitting in a library whispering? Are you shooting in loud environments?

Your budget is ambiguous. You say you can't afford professional sound help, but suggest that you can afford premium equipment.

I personally don't think there is any compromise shooting with lavs (vs. booming). Others have different ideas, but it depends entirely on what your expectations of "quality" are. Shooting an internet-delivery series of short episodes is not going to have the same expectations as a theatrical blockbuster.


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Larry Watts
Re: Lavalier mics on actors outdoors and indoors
on Aug 4, 2013 at 11:25:59 pm

When I asked the question I knew that it was "impossible" to answer!

No sword fighting, fight scenes, wrestling etc. I'm trying to avoid scenarios that will make the audio extremely challenging.

What there could be is two actors waking down a street talking. Sitting at an outdoor cafe. Inside a bookstore. In a park. In the bleachers of a school out of session. Not in a big city like New York, but in a smaller town. Avoiding loud ambient situations.

To answer the ambiguous budget you noted is that I'd rather spend money up front and one time rather than have it be a recurring budget item.

I'll give you an example. I was working for a ministry where they were going to Israel to shoot documentaries. They boomed everything and it sounded good, but limited where they could shoot. It meant a larger crew and the use of a boom mic always drew crowds. It also limited wider shots.

So, I solved some of the problems by buying a nice lectrosonics system with nice mics, a sound devices mixer and field recorder. It freed up the host and things moved faster as well.

The final product will be satellite TV channels (not major networks), DVD, downloadable media and internet delivery.

So your comment that you don't feel booming versus lavs is a compromise situation is encouraging. (And I know from reading on the cow there are different opinions.)

THanks!

other cautions, anyone?



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Richard Crowley
Re: Lavalier mics on actors outdoors and indoors
on Aug 5, 2013 at 2:17:51 am

You might find this interesting.

http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/30/871143#871143

It is a post I made a few weeks ago about a TV series I did sound for using three different lav mics.


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Larry Watts
Re: Lavalier mics on actors outdoors and indoors
on Aug 17, 2013 at 10:16:23 pm

Thanks Richard!
I love the content of that show!

I have looked on the Rode site and BH and other places trying to get a sense of the size of the end of the rode lav. In the pictures it looks like it might have a windscreen on it.

What size is it?
Is the tip bigger than the COS 11?
Is it round?

Will it be easier to hide than a tram or an Oscar?

I have to hide the mics well AND be careful about wind noise.

Thanks

Larry



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