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Old April 17th, 2019, 05:42 AM   #1
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Outdoor Audio: Heavy Breathing Issue

I am struggling with recording audio during aerobic activities. I record my outdoor adventures (hiking, kayaking, cycling, backpacking) and I canít figure out an audio setup that will mitigate the heavy breathing - ANY suggestions are welcome!

This is my portable setup: Canon EOS M6 with either a RodeMicro or my Omnidirectional Lav (world/wireless). It works great on my Zhiyun gimbal or window mounted. For cycling, I mount the GoPro Karma and for Kayaking a couple GoPros for in yak filming. I have a shotgun that I use most of the time that works awesome, but limits how far away from my rig I can be, so I picked up a wireless lav system which also works great - except the heavy breathing.

I have tried everything with positioning the lav mic that came with the system, but it just picks up way too much! It will picks up my breathing as well birds in the trees. I am not able to find a unidirectional lav with a 3.5mm connection.

I have been told to look into some of the headwarn mics and also that I might just be something that I have to deal with in post - but I no not her about editing/fixing audio in post. I hoping there are different options for mics or software that you guys have tried that work better for more active aerobic activities?
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Old April 17th, 2019, 09:08 AM   #2
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Re: Outdoor Audio: Heavy Breathing Issue

You need to get the mic away from the camera and camera op, but this difficult for a OMB operation, You could try mounting a shotgun mic on the cam, but this is difficult on DSLRa and other small cams. Cardioid lavaliere mics have a host of other issues... wind, cable noise, ect, ect... most folks avoid them. I only used the one I have twice (in 20+ years) Both instances were with feedback issues with an integrated PA. recording set-up. There are cardioid lavs available with 3.5mm plugs., some of the ones with the locking plug for the Sennheiser G2,3,4 systems work. <b>However</b>, on the 'molded-on' Sennheiser plugs, the locking ring does not retract enough to be used with a conventional non-locking 3.5mm jack. The Switchcraft and TecNec/Calarc locking plugs will work.
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Old April 17th, 2019, 09:55 AM   #3
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Re: Outdoor Audio: Heavy Breathing Issue

Headworn mics can be really great. They're visible in the shot, but totally worth it if you can accept that.

Their great advantage is getting the mic an inch or two from the mouth. That's going to really help reduce ambient sound, or, for a stage show, gain before feedback.

How much help with the noise of the breath? Well, the mic is out of the airstream, out of the wind of your breath. That's one thing handled, but, noisy mouth breathers will be heard.

I'm a big fan of the Countryman e6i. It's available in several skin tone colors to reduce visual impact. I've read that lots of people like Oscartech as a lower-cost high-quality alternative.
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Old April 18th, 2019, 03:19 PM   #4
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Re: Outdoor Audio: Heavy Breathing Issue

If your activity causes too much heavy breathing, do voice over in post, Record the ambient sound without narration during the actual work out so one can hear the gear noises.

Otherwise At risk of being a smar a--) get in better shape so your breathing is more relaxed.
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Old April 22nd, 2019, 02:29 PM   #5
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Re: Outdoor Audio: Heavy Breathing Issue

That's exactly what I was going to say. If your activities make you breathe loudly, then this condition occurs and any mic isn't magic and have the ability to not record it. Record the sound and add a decent, measured voice over afterwards.
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Old April 22nd, 2019, 07:28 PM   #6
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Re: Outdoor Audio: Heavy Breathing Issue

Do you want to record narration-style dialog while the speaker is exercising?
Or do you mainly want to record the event and just get the sounds of the person exercising?

Anyway, I've had good luck with lav mics mounted above a heavy-breather's mouth. Like in a helmet, brim of a hat, eyeglasses. That way the distance from mouth to mic is constant(ish) and if the person drops their chin to their chest, I don't get a big increase in breathing noise or speaking volume.

For sweaty stuff, I often use Countryman EMWs since they're rather rain, splash, sweat resistant (recall the famous mic-in-a-glass-of-Coke demos). Or maybe B3s. There are other options, but those are working for me.

So that's the main thing, imo... don't put a lav in the "usual" chest/tie/collar positions. Get it above the mouth. That will give you "natural" level breathing sounds. If you want no/little breathing sounds, try mounting the mic behind the head of the person... Or towards the back of the bike, kayak, whatever. For backpacking, mount a mic near the top of the backpack... you'll get some ambience, but not tons of breathing, walking, and so on.

I've done all these things, but since I'm not sure exactly what you're after, I'm not sure this post helps. Feel free to follow up; someone here will probalby have more specific advice...
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Old Yesterday, 11:23 AM   #7
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Re: Outdoor Audio: Heavy Breathing Issue

It is not clear (at least to me) whether you are:
1) trying to record natural/environmental sounds from atop your camera and are objecting to noise from the camera operator?
vs.
2) trying to record simultaneous voice-over/narration/commentary and are using a microphone for speech pickup that is not appropriately shielded from breath noise?

The solution to (1) is to move the microphone away from the operator. Atop the camera is almost never a good place for a microphone anyway.

The solution to (2) is to use appropriate wind-screen (foam, fur, etc.) or re-position the microphone so that it is not in the direct "blast zone" of the breath of the subject.

You are right on track that this is NOT something that should be attempted after the fact in post production editing. That is something that MUST be addressed during shooting/recording.

And always remember that: "Recording audio without metering and monitoring is exactly like framing and focusing without looking at the viewfinder."
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