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Better Way of Hiding Lav Mics

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mcswainBetter Way of Hiding Lav Mics
by on Aug 9, 2007 at 5:57:36 pm

Anybody got a better method of hiding lav mics under lapels / shirts and what not. We've just been taping them with a bit of gaffers tape but when subject moves you end up hearing the clothing rubbing up against the mike. There's got to be some trick short of using a shotgun. I've seen the little pin on things on b&h's website but they seem like they would be bulky and visible through a shirt and still may end up rubbing on clothing. Any suggestions.



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Timothy J. AllenRe: Better Way of Hiding Lav Mics
by on Aug 9, 2007 at 8:49:17 pm

The main thing is to keep the mic away from the clothing. In' sit down interviews, where I know which direction the talent will be facing, I can hide them pretty well under collars, etc. I've sometimes used the small metal cage around the mic element to eliminate some noise, but placement is still the main thing.

The best method to attach the mic will depend on what the talent is wearing. If they are wearing cotton shirt with a collar, it's fairly easy to hide it under the collar with a "vampire clip". I wouldn't use that type of clip on a ladies silk blouse, however, because it will damage it.

Sometimes, it helps to face the mic element the other direction (towards the body). This will affect your EQ, but it can eliminate those rustle sounds. It's best if you allow some time to hold a proper mic check where everyone understands that the purpose is not only to get good audio levels, but to locate the best place for the mic. Sometimes this may not even be on the shirt, for instance it may be in their hat!

I've long thought that if a company made "pin on" mic elements disguised as tie tacks (like American flags or custom company logos) or disguised as part of some small unobtrusive ladies necklaces, or even a corsage, they'd make a lot of money. For that matter, I'll bet wedding videographers would love to have a black bow tie or two with built in hidden mics.

Hmm. Maybe I should start a side business... ;-)

But I digress...the other rule of thumb is just to make sure that you get enough ambient audio to cover those spots where you get noise, but they weren't talking. When you get that audio, make sure the person wearing the mic stays in the same place where they are delivering lines. If that location changes during the scene (if the walk while delivering lines or enter another room) get it from each location. Some people don't realize that the "ambient noise" can change over the course of shooting a scene even in the same location. Even the humidity in the air can change the inherent pitch and timbre of ambient audio, even if you are in the exact same location.


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Kerry BrownRe: Better Way of Hiding Lav Mics
by on Aug 23, 2007 at 12:02:31 am

Check out Pin Mics. They already exist. Also put a loop in the mic cable next to the mic to reduce noise.


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Nick GriffinRe: Better Way of Hiding Lav Mics
by on Aug 10, 2007 at 7:59:22 pm

Michael -

While Tim has provided some good information, I think this question could generate some additional good responses if you cross post it on the "Audio Professionals" COW. I, for one, would like to see what some of those guys have to say. Audio leaders like Peter & Ty deal with this kind of thing on a daily basis.

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Timothy J. AllenRe: Better Way of Hiding Lav Mics
by on Aug 11, 2007 at 12:21:24 am

Good call, Nick! I'd also be interested in seeing what they say about this.

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Mark SuszkoRe: Better Way of Hiding Lav Mics
by on Aug 13, 2007 at 6:37:19 am

You say you taped the mic down, that's good, however, a lot of what people think is the mic rubbing is actually the CABLE rubbing and transmitting vibration thru conduction. So the first thing to look at from my view is to also tape down the cables in the clothing, and not just in a straight line, but add a small dime-sized loop somewhere just south of the mic head to absorb a little flexing of the body and clothing too.

You know those 99 cent eyeglass repair kits by the check-out counter at the drugstore? The little clear tubes with a micro screwdriver and assorted small repair parts? Buy one, on general principle. They're handy. Secondly, try one of the self-adhesive nose pads from the repair kit as a foam cushion between the mic head and what it lays against.

Another way to hide a lav is over the top of an ear using medical tape like dermatape or similar brand. This is kind of common on the theatrical stage, and works great if there's enough hair to obscure the wire in bangs, sideburns and the like. A side benefit is no matter what direction the face turns in a conversation, the mic distance and quality thus never varies.

I've done it a time or two when the clothing just wouldn't work any other way with a lav. it DOES work!

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Kerry BrownRe: Better Way of Hiding Lav Mics
by on Aug 23, 2007 at 12:05:27 am

Check out these tips.


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