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Old September 27th, 2010, 02:27 PM   #1
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Broadway actors audio?

Attended a broadway play last night and was trying to figure out how the actors were mic-ed. My wife said she thought she saw wireless transmitters but I could not see them nor a mic not a boom. So what's the secret. They were dancing and it seems lavs would have picked up clothes contact via movement etc?
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Old September 27th, 2010, 02:51 PM   #2
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Usually found in the open... in their hair or over their ear.
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Old September 27th, 2010, 03:00 PM   #3
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Hairline mics if it wasn't too loud. If they were wearing wigs then the cable gets dressed under them, and if it's their own hair then you can dress the cable close to the scalp, and secure the head with toupee clips. Other locations that don't show too much are just in front of the ear, hidden in side-burns. They're never placed on clothing - not so much for the noise, but from the point of view of wardrobe changes - mics and cables on the inside means they can do quick changes without disturbing the mic position.

Another trick is a loop of elastic that just fits around the head. The mic cable is twisted into it, leaving the cable hanging at the back, and the mic element at the front or above the temple. Comb or brush the hair over it and it vanishes. Theatre radio mics are also skin coloured - they come in two or three shades from pink to dark to suit the actor. Video people usually choose black mics, theatre people don't. Another trick is to use micropore tape and stick the element to the cheek, and then cover with makeup. The closer to the mouth the better for musicals, and although booms are common, some directors won't use them.
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Old September 27th, 2010, 03:15 PM   #4
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Amazing!! Then of course they are wireless. How does a stage of 30 actors keep a clear wireless connection and what do the actors do for backup....are they all wearing two wireless mics?
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Old September 29th, 2010, 07:05 PM   #5
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"How does a stage of 30 actors keep a clear wireless connection" - Frequency Coordination, using software to determine available frequencies and check for Intermodulation Products.

"what do the actors do for backup" - leads are typically wired with dual packs and dual elements.
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Old September 30th, 2010, 01:21 PM   #6
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When I researched and wrote this article, Audio In Close Up - Which Lavalier Should I Use?" I discovered that the DPAs are very popular on Broadway. They do sound excellent. Hair mics, glasses mics, hat mics, there are as many ways to rig a wireless lavaliere as there are ways to use your imagination. But some are proven and work better than others.

Cheers,

Dan
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Old October 1st, 2010, 08:46 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Simpson View Post
Attended a broadway play last night and was trying to figure out how the actors were mic-ed. My wife said she thought she saw wireless transmitters but I could not see them nor a mic not a boom. So what's the secret. They were dancing and it seems lavs would have picked up clothes contact via movement etc?

A good link on the subject...

Microphone Placement Techniques for Theatre
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Old October 1st, 2010, 10:46 AM   #8
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Dan:

Great link with the rigging. Thanks!

Dan
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Old October 3rd, 2010, 01:08 PM   #9
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I'll have to agree with you Dan, I've had two larger shoots and this is the first time i've had time to even read it. Excellent work!!
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