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Old November 14th, 2011, 07:33 PM   #16
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Re: Hiding Lav Mic

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Originally Posted by Tom Morrow View Post
After five days of hiding lavs on actors, and trying various approaches to minimizing rustling, I've pretty much settled into the following as best practice:

Wrap the microphone capsule with a bandaid, rolled around the barrell so the bandaid covers all edges but does not block the sound port on the end (Side-ported tram lav mics need not apply).

Then using one or two long pieces of bandage tape (not as stiff as gaffer tape and pulls off less hair), I loosely tape the bandaid-covered capsule to float in the middle between the person's breasts. The tape suspends the capsule forming sort of an isolation mount, and the bandaid blunts any collisions of the capsule into the body while moving. The key is to get it suspended so it's just off the skin, but also away from the shirt fabric.

This method works on men and women... with women I have them run and place the capsule and wire, whereas with men I just reach under their shirt to place it. The big surprise is how much room men have there... athletic buff guys have that part chiseled out, and guys who don't work out have big man-boobs with a nice big valley between. I've heard that some people have more space to hide a mic by their shoulders, but haven't seen it in the wild.

There was a thread in the past on hiding lavaliers and I don't want to rehash all the possibilities in this thread, but any comments are welcome.
Tom, thanks for these great tips. I use lavs for weddings and event videography and up to this point have not had to hide them. However we are starting to do some projects that will require we do so your thread is exactly what I have been looking for.
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Old November 16th, 2011, 02:24 AM   #17
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Re: Hiding Lav Mic

Here's a web picture of the loop... since the cable is secured on the right in the clip or jaw, the loop on the left can't absorb tugs.

http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/attachme...ic-fitting.jpg
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Old November 16th, 2011, 04:15 AM   #18
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Re: Hiding Lav Mic

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Originally Posted by Tom Morrow View Post
Here's a web picture of the loop... since the cable is secured on the right in the clip or jaw, the loop on the left can't absorb tugs.

http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/attachme...ic-fitting.jpg
It's not supposed to. Because the cable is secured to the clip (on the right side of your picture) vibrations traveling up the cable are damped at the clip and don't continue into the mic capsule. If the cable came straight off the capsule without being constrained, vibrations traveling up the cable would be transmitted directly to the capsule and to the mic's diaphragm
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Old November 16th, 2011, 02:26 PM   #19
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Re: Hiding Lav Mic

I think the problem is that we're actually discussing two separate things here.

Vibration damping
and
Strain relief.

Each is a separate issue.

Good mic technique like this addresses BOTH but if you're rigging a wired mic for a walking talent where someone might step on the cable, then a little loop like this isn't going to be much good. Conversely, if the issue is someone simply twisting their upper body for a moment, it's PERFECTLY useful.

And if the talent is in a fixed position chair, there's no vibration present anywhere along the the wire, then the loop isn't really required for vibration damping.

BUT...

The real issue is that these things pop up when you least expect them, so it's just smart and safe to learn to rig things properly as a matter of constant practice - even when there's no obvious need to do so. That way, if the problem conditions DO show up, you already have a practice in place that solves it before you ever notice it's even there!

THAT is the sweet spot.
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Old November 25th, 2011, 03:52 AM   #20
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Re: Hiding Lav Mic

Bill as usual you bring a useful new angle to the discussion: Strain relief. I think that the loops in the picture I posted or the strain relief loops tied with thread below the shirt might very well be useful for strain relief. If there's a strain from someone twisting their torso the pictured "broadcast loop" might very well save the clip from getting pulled (as the wire pulls out of the jaws of the clip), saving a sound guy from needing to straighten the microphone clip so it looks good on camera. Or if the microphone is hidden, strain relief loop(s) could keep it from getting pulled out of its ideal suspended-not-touching-anything position.

What I discovered in my tests however, is that while those loops are relieving strain, they are simultaneously transmitting vibration as the cable is being let out and rubbing against the clip or looped cable. So one has to make a judgement call about whether strain relief or vibration damping is more important in a particular application. Since I've had much more vibration/rustling issues than issues with mics needing to be repositioned, I prioritize vibration damping over strain relief.

Personally my approach is to avoid the loops and instead rely on slack in the cable under the shirt.

YMMV and I'm not trying to say that professionals who have been doing this longer than me are wrong for using strain relief loops if that works for them.
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Old November 25th, 2011, 04:39 AM   #21
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Re: Hiding Lav Mic

There is the RODE PinMic. It is designed in a way there is no visible wire at all.

RODE PinMic Miniature Omnidirectional Microphone | L.A. Color Online
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Old November 25th, 2011, 08:32 PM   #22
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Re: Hiding Lav Mic

I tried out the Pin Mic. While I'm sure it has it's uses, I found it wasn't the general-purpose solution to hiding the mic that I would have hoped for, and I sold it. It looks like a bug or stain on camera. And because it's attached through the clothing it's impossible to isolate the vibration/tugging of clothing noise as a person moves, like I suggest in the original post. On the bright side it's almost as quick to set up as a lav clip and I liked the sound so much (for the price) that I replaced it with a Rode Lavalier with the same sound. Horses for courses :-)
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Old November 25th, 2011, 10:44 PM   #23
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Re: Hiding Lav Mic

I am using it at weddings to mic the groom for the vows. It works very well for me. Not that it matters to see a clip mic but the PinMic is just awesome in hiding it from general's sight.

I don't see any vibration issue. The problem I have is once the mic cap popped out and I lost it. Good that I can get a replacement right away from Rode.
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Old December 4th, 2011, 10:24 AM   #24
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Re: Hiding Lav Mic

Okay, this may be old news to folks here, but after battling the challenges of lavs for several years, I came up with a technique we use whenever possible. I'm certain it's not original with me.

We have a specific situation -- most of the people we shoot video of are wearing ball caps. They also are active, so when they turn their heads, they go off-axis, and the sound varies.

A couple of years ago I started putting the lav mic onto the bill of the baseball cap. Works best if the bill of the cap is dark -- you never see the clip. You could use the "vampire" clip, so nothing shows on the top of the bill. Run the wire under the hat, over the hear, down the neck, into the shirt, and to the transmitter. I have found a couple of times that the cable was a bit short, but the Tram mics we use have long enough cables.

With the mic under the bill of the cap, it really helps with wind noise, and (of course) the mic maintains the same spacial relationship with the talent's mouth, so audio is consistent.

Just another tool to have in your tool box.
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Old December 5th, 2011, 03:54 AM   #25
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Re: Hiding Lav Mic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Gresham View Post
Okay, this may be old news to folks here, but after battling the challenges of lavs for several years, I came up with a technique we use whenever possible. I'm certain it's not original with me.

We have a specific situation -- most of the people we shoot video of are wearing ball caps. They also are active, so when they turn their heads, they go off-axis, and the sound varies.

A couple of years ago I started putting the lav mic onto the bill of the baseball cap. Works best if the bill of the cap is dark -- you never see the clip. You could use the "vampire" clip, so nothing shows on the top of the bill. Run the wire under the hat, over the hear, down the neck, into the shirt, and to the transmitter. I have found a couple of times that the cable was a bit short, but the Tram mics we use have long enough cables.

With the mic under the bill of the cap, it really helps with wind noise, and (of course) the mic maintains the same spacial relationship with the talent's mouth, so audio is consistent.

Just another tool to have in your tool box.
This is common in the UK - hiding the mic. under the peak of the cap. Very often the transmitter will be inside the cap itself.
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Old December 5th, 2011, 09:52 AM   #26
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Re: Hiding Lav Mic

To stretch a point, in a sense, it uses the bill of the cap as a mini-pressure-zone surface.
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Old December 13th, 2011, 02:02 PM   #27
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Re: Hiding Lav Mic

Note to self: tell directors to cast more characters with hats. Especially top hats. That is brilliant... the shadows under the brim probably hide it well.

If only we could just gaffer tape a microphone on someone's face. Actually I've been meaning to figure out a better way of getting an iphone headphone-cord microphone to stay near my mouth, and I just now put a roll of gaffer tape in my car for next time. Just as the feds are trying to ban all cell calls.

On another subject, I'd be curious to see links to any good tutorials on hiding a lav in talent's hair. It seems like since the 1980's most people don't have enough hair to hide the microphone anywhere but in the back of their heads, which I'm guessing would give worse sound than a mic under clothes on the chest.
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