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Old May 21st, 2003, 11:01 AM   #1
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Mic protection from elements

I know how you can protect a camera from the elements with a raincoat, that can calso double as protection for dust, sand, etc. But what about mics? How do you sound guys out there protect a mic from the elements like drizzle - dampness or rain and sandy beach/desert areas? What about if its camera mounted as some raincoats don't allow for full protection of external mics. Or do you have to use one of the standard boom "blimps" on pole? A camera can be covered, but if you cover a mic then sound will be stopped from entering and perhaps the noice of plastic cover rubbing against mic.

So any tips and help on this would be great! Cos Sound techniques is the area I'm trying to learn more about as its very important but my experience is minimal.

THANKS!!!
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Old May 21st, 2003, 11:40 AM   #2
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Christopher,
That's an excellent question. Mics are relatively forgiving of bad weather although they are certainly not weatherproof and can be damaged or destroyed by frequent and excessive moisture.

I make sure that my external mics are covered at all times when I'm shooting outdoors. (Indoors I shoot "naked". <g>) A windscreen or blimp will provide good protection from dust and some degree of protection from light rain. But if the rain is very hard or persistent I pack the mic away in a waterproof bag. You won't get good sound anyway in such conditions. Trying to record from under rigged a plastic rain cover only makes the sound worse.

If you really need to record the ambient sound of a rainstorm I'm sure you can do so with some ingenuity. Alternatively you may save your equipment by grabbing stock sound and applying it as a foley effect.
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Old May 22nd, 2003, 05:51 AM   #3
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Have read that some folks use un-lubricated condoms to protect a mic.
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Old May 22nd, 2003, 06:05 AM   #4
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Presumably this is referred to as practising safe sox!
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Old June 10th, 2003, 08:31 AM   #5
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Don,

That is true that unlubricated condoms will protect a microphone from the elements. There will be some reduction in high frequency response due to the membrane covering the mic.

The external foam windscreen also helps to protect the mic. If it gets wet, remember to remove it from the mic after the shoot to dry out. The big issue with moisture on condenser mics is becasue the diaphragm is electrically charged, excessive moisture on it may casue hissing and popping noises in the audio.

I worked with local cable sports last fall and our on-camera shotgun mics would get drenched. We would keep part of the camera raincoat over them but not touching the mic and let the foam windscreens get wet. As long as the rain wasn't torrential we were ok. (Besides, I wouldn't want to be shooting in a rain like that anyway.)

cheers

PS... Remember NOT to send the underage intern to the store for them though...
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Old June 10th, 2003, 02:27 PM   #6
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There is just so much opportunity for crass humor in this thread that I have to just back away!

It might even make a good backbone for a comedic short.
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Old June 12th, 2003, 02:45 PM   #7
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So thats how the Germans keep bringing out new mics. I guess they leave them (un-protected) in the store house and they start to breed. I guess if we put two great mics together we could have one hell of an offspring!!

Plus imagine going to buy a condom and then the young dumb assistant asks if you need help as you rumble through shelf, only to say.."Oh I need a big one....its for my long AT Microphone you know!"

I bet they never had any underage kids using that excuse to avoid embarassment - "Oh its not for me its for my Dad's 369mm Microphone!" Hahaha
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