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Old February 22nd, 2004, 02:23 PM   #1
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Dynamic lavs

I need to pick up a couple of dynamic lavs for emergency situations when there's too much noise to use the shotgun. The Shure SM11 has been recommended repeatedly, and it's exactly the amount I want to pay, but I worry that it may be a little too large. Two of the actors are wearing collared shirts and ties, so I guess I could hide it under the tie, but it would be harder with the two actresses. One is wearing a tight fitting collared shirt, and the other is wearing a tight, somewhat revealing dress. Would I be able to hide the SM11 on these two? Is there another decent dynamic lav that's smaller? If I were to hide the mic in their hair, would it be a problem to hide it on the side of the head, near one of the ears, or does the mic have to be in the center? How do you fix a mic in place when you hide it in the hair anyway? I can't imagine you'd use tape. Ouch! I'm looking at dynamic mics by the way, because I can't really afford seperate power supplies, not to mention the bother of having another piece of equipment on the set, and the main point is to reduce background noise anyway, which I understand dynamic mics are very good for.
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Old February 22nd, 2004, 06:39 PM   #2
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The SM11 is about the size of a 1/4-roll of dimes. So it's a bit hard to hide in something other than a fluffy hair-do.

They don't reduce the background noise, they are just so insensitive that they don't pick it up with any degree of sensitivity but I'd bet that's what you meant.
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Old February 22nd, 2004, 08:01 PM   #3
 
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The AT 831 is a favored lav around here, so is their newest lav, the 899. The 831 is all but bullet pruf, and sounds great. small, but not the smallest thing on the planet. We recently used the 899 on a video shoot with Steven Seagal. with his hair style, it went in behind his ear and hair and was totally invisible where his hair joins his ear curve. Sounded phenominal. Comes with a terrific mounting and windscreen package too. Flesh or black mics, clips, etc.
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Old February 22nd, 2004, 09:22 PM   #4
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Cross your heart!

Marco,

We have TRAMs and PSC Lavs. Love them both.

I constantly have to wire women with lavs. It is much easier to do this on females than on males when it comes to clean, crisp, sound without having to worry about clothing noise.

CLEAVAGE IS YOUR FRIEND!

I take a "vampire clip" and attach it to where the bra "crosses her heart". If you are too young to remeber this advertising slogan, it is dead center of the breasts where the fabric criss-crosses the chest. The better endowed your subject is, the more separation you have between the mic and any fabric that may cause a problem.

I not only do this for regular production shoots, I also wire our undercover narcotics detectives and prostitution decoys with a 100% success rate.

There was this one time where the decoy had "brand new" breasts, and was damned proud of them, AND was not wearing a bra!!! What's a guy to do!?

An emergency run to a first aid kit solved the problem. I took apart a couple of Band-Aids and used the adhesive strips to attach the mic to where the bra would have been, with the same results...the sacrifices we must sometimes make for the betterment of humanity!

You can do the same with a male going the Band-Aid route, although, if he doesn't have decent pecs you may have to improvise on the shielding of the mike to avoid clothing noise.

On men with suits or collared shirts, you can try bringing your mic wire up from behind and hiding the mike under a lapel or collar.

Another challenge that I was faced with was when a decoy wore a "Daisy Duke", AKA, very short shorts and a tube top with no fabric aound the midriff. You can place the transmitter at the small of her back and run the mic wire under her belt and place the mic next to the belt buckle. Secured with a little piece of black electrical tape, it is all but invisible and still gives you very good results.

You may also want to employ what is known as a "soundman's knot" in your mic wire. It is a loose, overhand knot, that is made close to the actual mic. Believe it or not, it helps kill any noise that may come from direct contact with the mic wire itself.

I have also hidden a transmitter in a hat or ballcap when the subject was not wearing a shirt. The mic can be attached to the brim without detection.

Hope this helps.

RB
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Old February 23rd, 2004, 08:05 AM   #5
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Thanks all! Rick -- priceless. I'm bookmarking this post.

Douglas -- I've been looking at the 831 for a while, although I believe it needs phantom power, doesn't it? At B&H I've found this mic in a number of configurations, but none of them terminating in a regular 3 pin XLR. Do they not offer it that way?
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Old February 23rd, 2004, 08:36 AM   #6
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The AT831b can run on AA battery or phantom power. The power module has a standard XLR male socket. B&H has it at the following link:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=68270&is=REG
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Old February 23rd, 2004, 12:41 PM   #7
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Those are not dynamic microphones and they will pick up a lot of the external noise. Much more than the electret microphones.

It depends on whether you just want an intelligible voice or good sound quality in a noisy environment.

I've gotten good voice from a young girl with a power mower running two yards over. Yes, the mower is there but it is way way down.
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