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Surgical Procedure-Audio

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Jeffrey Gould
Surgical Procedure-Audio
on Oct 21, 2010 at 8:09:04 pm

Hi, while I have shot many surgical procedures, I never had to record the doctors commentary...but now I do. I asked the staff at the facility and they said I couldn't put the mic (wireless) near the doctors mouth. Does anyone have experience with this. I was trying to avoid wires and I'm shooting alone. Thanks for any suggestions.

Jeffrey S. Gould
Action Media Productions


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Terry Mikkelsen
Re: Surgical Procedure-Audio
on Oct 21, 2010 at 8:41:07 pm

I would think that the docs would be wearing masks, so you wouldn't really want the mic near their mouth anyway.

Check out some theatre techniques. They often place mics in hair, around the collar line, etc...

One place I've never tried, but just thought it might work out great – the overhead light. If it wouldn't cause interference, the light usually is shaped like a parabola, so it would make a great collector for sound. On the other hand, it would also pickup suction, drilling, cauterizing very well too. So you would need to instruct the docs to not talk during those parts.

Tech-T Productions
http://www.technical-t.com


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Jeffrey Gould
Re: Surgical Procedure-Audio
on Oct 21, 2010 at 8:49:44 pm

Thanks for the reply, yes they will have a mask on. I scoped it out today and the light is not going to be directly above her. I was also concerned about the mic rubbing against the gown if I place it underneath it. How about on the inside of her scrubs, or would it be too muffled? I'll have a few minutes to experiment, but wanted some suggestions first. Thanks.

Jeffrey S. Gould
Action Media Productions


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Mark Suszko
Re: Surgical Procedure-Audio
on Oct 21, 2010 at 10:15:31 pm

Docs and nurses frown on you hanging anything above the established Sterile Field; ever see the "jujubees" episode of Seinfeld?

A tiny countryman lav can be hooked over the top of the surgeon's ear, and run down his back to a belt pack, and that will pick up just fine. In fact, since it is attached to his head, your audio will not change, no matter where he turns his head. You can attach it with some dermatape, which I think you can probably find around there someplace:-) Only issue will be if he wears glasses or special magnifier glasses, you may have to fiddle with working around the fit of the glasses. The tiny lav is an omni, putting it on the ear keeps it out of way of breathing and plosive sounsd, while it will still pick up well.

Also check to see there are no RF issues with using a wireless.

The alternative would be a wired, phantom-powered boundary mic attached to some surface near the surgeon. But that will tend to pick up everything in the room, not just his voice. Or a shotgun, clamped to a wall and aimed at the area where he will stand and work.


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Jeffrey Gould
Re: Surgical Procedure-Audio
on Oct 21, 2010 at 10:46:42 pm

Thank you Mark...as always, you are full of great ideas. I thought of the RF and will bring a wired lav as well. There isbso much equipment for this procedure, I didn't want wires adding to the chaos. Funny about the medical tape...do I tape it to her ear? This video has two purposes, one to document the procedure and for a marketing video I'm doing for them, to showcase their skill and technology. I'm not that experienced with shot gun mics, even though I have a middle of the road Sennheiser. I'm going to set up the day before, so hopefully I can test the wireless. Thank you again, you're the MVP of the COW in my book.

Jeffrey S. Gould
Action Media Productions


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Mark Suszko
Re: Surgical Procedure-Audio
on Oct 21, 2010 at 11:54:56 pm

The lav runs over the top of the ear, in the little trench where the frames of eyeglasses go, with a mic as tiny as the Countryman, it is darn near invisible. I lay the mic and cable in place, then mash down a little piece of the dermatape over that to hold it. If they have a lot of hair, you can't even see it.


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Martin Curtis
Re: Surgical Procedure-Audio
on Oct 22, 2010 at 7:51:02 am

Thanks for that idea. I have the same problem. A surgeon wants to record commentary in theatre. They usually wear multiple gowns so you can't place the lav in the normal lapel-ish position but I hadn't thought of the head. These guys wear head lamps so I can use that fitting to help me.

OT, but above this reply box is an ad for a Panasonic 3D camera. Surgery in 3D ... mmmmm. "Uh oh, we have a bleeder."


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Martin Curtis
Re: Surgical Procedure-Audio
on Oct 22, 2010 at 9:31:29 pm

Two things come to mind:
1. Earset mic (here's an example)
2. OT noise. There's lots of stuff happening. Every time I turn up in theatre, everyone looks nervously at me and says "you won't be recording any audio will you?". The anaesthetists are probably afraid patients will hear them gabbing on about their last trip to Europe, or their new Beemer.


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Eric Peterson
Re: Surgical Procedure-Audio
on Oct 22, 2010 at 10:24:21 pm

Junior Mints not jujubees



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Mike Cohen
Re: Surgical Procedure-Audio
on Nov 13, 2010 at 4:23:41 am

Clip a lav mic to the back of the mask, which is somewhere between the ear and the mid-cheek. This will avoid rubbing on the gown and reduce the chances of overmodulation. Keep an eye on the levels and have some headphone or earbuds handy. just make sure the long earphone wire is wrapped around something. Run the wire up the back of the scrubs before they put on a gown. Wireless is best as surgeons sometimes switch sides of the patient which would be difficult if they are tethered. However some older hospitals with a lot of steel in the walls interfere with wireless signals. in those cases, a shotgun works. You will pick up more background sound, but it's usually acceptable since the OR is full of sounds anyway.

If your camera is not close enough, try to mount the shotgun on an IV pole pointed at the surgeon, or on a c-stand over the surgeon's head. You will have to negotiate with the OR staff, primarily the nurses, to get permission. Different hospitals have different rules for what can go near the sterile field and what can't.

Good luck.

Mike Cohen

Medical Education / Multimedia Producer


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