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Old November 29th, 2006, 04:45 PM   #1
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lavalier posiition... What's best?

I have an Shure wireless system that I use quite a bit for interviews (I know a shotgun would be better) but what I'm wondering is the best way to position it for clean audio without a lot of "P" pops and clothing rustling.

The mic I'm using is a cardioid found at B&H here:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search

Now, I think I made a bad choice with the cardioid, but it's what I have to work with right now.

I've tried to see what professionals are doing on TV anytime I see a lav on someone. It seems to be split half the time between mic facing up, and half the time mic facing down. I know that with the mic I bought I can't have it facing down, but any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

If I get some replies to this thread, and if it seems necessary, I'll post some pics of how I currently position it. Now I'm not getting a lot of "P" pops or rustling, just enough on enough occasions for it to irritating.

Thanks for the help...

Kevin
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Old November 29th, 2006, 08:17 PM   #2
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Cardioid lavs are a pain to place cause you need to keep their ports uncovered and they are simply more prone to catch rustle, breath, etc. than an omni, however, in a noisy environment and properly placed, they can provide an improvement over omni lavs, so keep the faith.

A wind screen might help with the problem with those plosives. Carefully taping the cable will help with cable rustle, but if there's movement you're always going to pick up some cable noise.

Some time spent listening with headphones is an invaluable learning tool, so experment with different placements, each lav and person and clothing combination has a sweet spot. Your listening for several things, 1. clothing rustle, 2. cable rustle, 3. too much bass or too thin sound, 4. sibilance, and 5. breath noises (especially plosives).
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Old November 29th, 2006, 08:32 PM   #3
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?You can't clip the mike to the talent upside down? You have got me there! Upside down will greatly knock down pops, and, nasal problems. Just a personal observation with my Samson mikes.
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Old November 29th, 2006, 08:33 PM   #4
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?You can't clip the mike to the talent upside down? You have got me there! Upside down will greatly knock down pops, and, nasal problems. Just a personal observation with my Samson mikes.
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Old November 29th, 2006, 08:35 PM   #5
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Sorry Folks! I hav no idea why this is being posted more than once!
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Old November 29th, 2006, 11:01 PM   #6
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Some people recommend placing an omni lav upside down if you're having significant problems with plosives or breath noises. However, even omni mics become fairly directional as the frequency goes up, so this doesn't sound very good with many omni mics. Certainly a cardioid mic would not work well placed upside down below the talent's mouth.
I think using a windscreen, including small wire caps like on the AT899 and others, along with proper placement and instructions to the talent will sound better than upside down placement.
Proper slack in the cable, as well as a stable mount with tape and a backing card usually quiets other noises significantly.
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Old November 30th, 2006, 04:33 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Randolph
I have an Shure wireless system that I use quite a bit for interviews (I know a shotgun would be better) but what I'm wondering is the best way to position it for clean audio without a lot of "P" pops and clothing rustling.

The mic I'm using is a cardioid found at B&H here:
...

Kevin
IMHO your lav is a better choice for interviews than would be a shotgun, at least most of the time, so don't despair about that. You are correct, though, that an omni capsule would probably work better - cardioid lavs are intended for sound reinforcement applications where feedback might be a problem. The problem with them is that as the talent turns their head they come off-mic easily. Makes sure you brief them accordingly. None the less ...

Popping from 'plosives and clothing/cable noise are two different issues. For the breath sound and plosives, mounting the lav midchest over the sternum or on a suit jacket lapel at about the nipple line can help, also a foam windscreen on the mic is a good idea. (If you don't have a screen or you think yours might be inadequate, you can order them from Rycote, Full Compass, Markertech, etc for very reasonable prices.) Clothing rustle can be helped by making a "broadcast loop" arrangement of the cable at the mic clip - with the mic pointing up toward the subject's mouth, make about a 1" loop in the cable. From the mic loop it around and feed it loosely up through the wide end of the mic clip and then back down again on the other side of the clothing away from the mic, clamping the cable between the clip and the cloth. A Google search will turn up some pictures of what I mean.
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Old November 30th, 2006, 09:17 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Steve House
IMHO your lav is a better choice for interviews than would be a shotgun, at least most of the time, so don't despair about that [...]
Hmmm, I would agree that in many cases a properly placed lav will sound better than a shotgun that's slightly off, however, it's been my experience that a properly placed hypercardioid or short shotgun overhead sounds really good compared to an omni lav for most interviews.

90% of the interviews I shoot I do with overhead shotgun to Ch. 1 and Lavalier to Ch. 2 and in post I listen to the two. I often find myself using the shotgun primarily and mixing in a little bit of the lav to fill out the low end. So "both" is an ideal combination. But since the lav inevitably picks up so much movement sounds, even when perfectly placed, it's often the shotgun that saves the day if the subject moves alot.

Of course, if you're subject is walking around, the wireless lav is the way to go most of the time. Mobility and once less crew person are compelling reasons to avoid booming with a shotgun, although the sound is often better if the boom operator is good at their craft. In either case, I still record camera mic going into the second channel. Give yourself some choices in post. Often it helps in dealing with a drop-out in the wireless audio.

But I digress.
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Old November 30th, 2006, 11:00 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Tames
Hmmm, I would agree that in many cases a properly placed lav will sound better than a shotgun that's slightly off, however, it's been my experience that a properly placed hypercardioid or short shotgun overhead sounds really good compared to an omni lav for most interviews.

...
Yes, I agree that a boomed hyper is a good option. I assumed, and perhaps unfairly, that when Kevin said he knew "a shotgun would be better," he was thinking of using the shotgun from the camera position which is rarely a very good choice. Doubly so since I also asumed he was recording indoors and shotguns are rarely as good as hypers in normally reflective indoor environments, even when booomed.
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Old November 30th, 2006, 11:44 AM   #10
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David - Thanks for the encouragement, and I am using a small wire windscreen that came with the mic. i hadn't thought about taping the cable down, I'll have to give that a try.

Jay - I'm interested in what you said about a "backing card." How large is one usually? Is it as simple as it sounds (cut a couple inch square of cardboard and put it on the back side of the clothing to give the mic clip something more substantial to clip to)? I'd love top hear some more specifics about this.

Steve - I've been doing what I think is a broadcast loop, but I think after reading your description, I think that mine has been too small. I think that I've been at about 1/2 inch diameter, not the 1 inch that you suggest. Also, I tried a google search for "lavalier broadcast loop", "Broadcast loop", and "lavalier placement" but I didn't see anything that looked like what you were talking about. Could you possibly provide a link?

David - Once I have the capital to buy a decent shotgun I plan on going with shotgun to line one and lavalier to line two, but that will be a little ways off. I've got to pay off some of the equipment that I've already purchased before I can make more purchases. And to do that I've got to get through a few interviews with good sound...

Thanks again everyone for replying to my post. I look forward to trying the ideas presented here, and I hope to hear a few more. I'll post updates as I try these things out.

Thanks,
Kevin
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Old November 30th, 2006, 12:36 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Randolph
I tried a google search for "lavalier broadcast loop", "Broadcast loop", and "lavalier placement" but I didn't see anything that looked like what you were talking about. Could you possibly provide a link?Kevin
This is a nice article that describes lav placement, and gives lots of other info as well.

http://www.equipmentemporium.com/Lavarticle.htm
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Old November 30th, 2006, 09:18 PM   #12
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Vito,
I was going to post saying that I couldn't read the article. When I clicked the link all that was displayed were the titles to the sections. To show you (Vito) what I got I copied and pasted the space where the article should've been into this post, hoping that you would give me another link, or maybe post the article. But when I pasted the blank area that I had copied... I got he whole article. Weird...

So if anyone else has a problem with reading the article, copy the blank space and past it into so other text editor (I ended up using Word), and you'll be set.

Thanks again Vito...
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Old November 30th, 2006, 09:55 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Kevin Randolph
But when I pasted the blank area that I had copied... I got he whole article. Weird...
Thanks again Vito...
That's pretty bizarre, but I'm glad it worked out!
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Old December 1st, 2006, 05:52 AM   #14
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The best sound recordists that I've worked with avoid lavalier mic where ever possible. For sit down interviews they usually mount a cardioid mic (usually not a shotgun mic) over the interviewees on a mic stand, positioning the mic as tightly as possible.

This method also works extremely well if you're working on your own - you can use a magic arm on a spare light stand to mount the onboard camera mic.

If using a lavalier, they usually have a windshield to prevent popping. However, they've usually gone through all other methods before using the lavalier.
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Old December 1st, 2006, 12:56 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Drysdale
[...] sit down interviews they usually mount a cardioid mic (usually not a shotgun mic) over the interviewees on a mic stand, positioning the mic as tightly as possible [...]
This is how I usually mic formal interviews, and the bonus is that I also use the stand as something to clip a flex-fill to, since I usally key with a softlight, use a flex-fill as the fill light, and optionally throw in a small Fresnel backlight. Two light stands, two lights, and one mike stand all fits nicely in a small kit bag.

I purchased a couple of DR Pro Tripod Mic Boom Stands from our local Guitar Center store here in Boston. They are easily found online. Not all similar stands are the same, some tend to droop more easly than others, mine have been top performers. Beware of those with round knobs that make it hard to tighten them enough. The only downside using these stands is they don't work well with a very large frame, but I'm usually framed tight enough that these stands make perfect boom operators, and they don't complain about the lack of craft services.
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