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-   -   Do lavs work at all outside in a city, or not really? (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/all-things-audio/537401-do-lavs-work-all-outside-city-not-really.html)

Ryan Elder April 28th, 2020 08:57 PM

Do lavs work at all outside in a city, or not really?
 
If I want to shoot a scene on a city street, I could use them, it's just that they seem terrible for outside because they are omnidirectional. So therefore, would the sound be usable at all?

Battle Vaughan April 28th, 2020 09:33 PM

Re: Do lavs work at all outside in a city, or not really?
 
There are cardioid lavs, like the Sennheiser ME4. But considering how they're used, the omni pickup is more dependable, I think, as a directional mike is hard to manage when it's attached to clothing that may move around. My 2c. I've used the Sennheiser and Tram omnis outside with no problem.

Seth Bloombaum April 28th, 2020 09:34 PM

Re: Do lavs work at all outside in a city, or not really?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ryan Elder (Post 1959121)
If I want to shoot a scene on a city street, I could use them, it's just that they seem terrible for outside because they are omnidirectional.

Nope. That’s just wrong. There’s nothing inherently bad about lav sound outside. Instead of directionality, lavs depend on proximity to the source for direct sound. Proximity works fine if you know how to rig the mic, and can deal with wind if present. Same as for any other mic.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ryan Elder (Post 1959121)
So therefore, would the sound be usable at all?

Yep. If a lav works for your scene there’s little difference between interiors & exteriors.

And, most wireless sets do a little better outdoors. Most of the time.

Of course there are other factors in choosing to lav, boom, or both. But int/ext typically isn’t of issue.

Ryan Elder April 28th, 2020 11:15 PM

Re: Do lavs work at all outside in a city, or not really?
 
Oh okay. When you say most wireless lavs now do better, do you mean they do better than a shotgun mic?

I was read before that cardioids move around too much in terms of the pick up patter being reliable, if that's true? Or maybe not, if you tape it to the chest to stop it from moving?

Seth Bloombaum April 28th, 2020 11:55 PM

Re: Do lavs work at all outside in a city, or not really?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ryan Elder (Post 1959124)
Oh okay. When you say most wireless lavs now do better, do you mean they do better than a shotgun mic?

No, I meant that radio links may have better performance for ext than for int. Depending.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ryan Elder (Post 1959124)
...I was read before that cardioids move around too much in terms of the pick up patter being reliable, if that's true? Or maybe not, if you tape it to the chest to stop it from moving?

As Battle wrote, cardioid lavs are rarely used for film & video. When talent turn their heads they’re off-mic. When clothing moves or sags they’re off-mic. Omnis are standard.

Ryan Elder April 29th, 2020 12:20 AM

Re: Do lavs work at all outside in a city, or not really?
 
Okay thanks, that makes sense on being off mic.

I am surprised that omni may work better for outdoors, because I used them once before for a project, and the outdoor noise had more background noise in them, so I thought therefore, they were worse for outdoors likely.

Brian Drysdale April 29th, 2020 12:40 AM

Re: Do lavs work at all outside in a city, or not really?
 
They are commonly used outside, you sometimes see a furry windshield on them. As mentioned earlier in the thread, mount them close and be careful of clothes rustle.

Although not indoors, I used one on an interview in room with a corrugated roof in the rain and you could just about hear a slight patter from the rain.

Paul R Johnson April 29th, 2020 12:51 AM

Re: Do lavs work at all outside in a city, or not really?
 
We missed you Ryan, then you pop up with a really stupid post!

Omnis lav style miniature microphones are the standard go to microphone because they work best for some simple reasons. They're small and can go in close, and they do not need pointing. That's it! I have a cardioid. Just one. Had it for years and it's rarely of much use. Tiny changes in position impact badly on the sound, so it's a problem solver, not a thing to use regularly. There's a skill in fitting, disguising and wind protecting. Do it right and they sound 'real'. All the posts about handling noise, cable noise and wind are because they're used badly.

However the most useful phrase I often use is this.

The most expensive radio microphone system is nearly as good as a $10 cable!

However cables are a major snag for some setups so we're forced to use radio systems. Good ones sound transparent to all intents and purposes, but radio links WILL fail. You WILL get interference. Many times this is the operators fault but sometimes RF issue just happen.

Microphones are not intelligent. You choose the most appropriate one, but one rule always applies. Distance to the wanted sound source is vital, and needs minimising and distance from the unwanted sound source needs maximising. That is it!

A close in omni sounds better than a distant shotgun. Always.

Rick Reineke April 29th, 2020 08:58 AM

Re: Do lavs work at all outside in a city, or not really?
 
Cardioid lavs have many inherent issues, and most folks try to avoid then like COVID-19.
The only times I was forced to use cardioid lav was in feedback prone live sound situation.

Some omni lavs are more 'open' than others. My all time favorite omni lav for noisy on-the-street interviews was the ECM-55. Unfortunately it is huge by today's standards

Ryan Elder April 29th, 2020 12:17 PM

Re: Do lavs work at all outside in a city, or not really?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson (Post 1959128)
We missed you Ryan, then you pop up with a really stupid post!

Omnis lav style miniature microphones are the standard go to microphone because they work best for some simple reasons. They're small and can go in close, and they do not need pointing. That's it! I have a cardioid. Just one. Had it for years and it's rarely of much use. Tiny changes in position impact badly on the sound, so it's a problem solver, not a thing to use regularly. There's a skill in fitting, disguising and wind protecting. Do it right and they sound 'real'. All the posts about handling noise, cable noise and wind are because they're used badly.

However the most useful phrase I often use is this.

The most expensive radio microphone system is nearly as good as a $10 cable!

However cables are a major snag for some setups so we're forced to use radio systems. Good ones sound transparent to all intents and purposes, but radio links WILL fail. You WILL get interference. Many times this is the operators fault but sometimes RF issue just happen.

Microphones are not intelligent. You choose the most appropriate one, but one rule always applies. Distance to the wanted sound source is vital, and needs minimising and distance from the unwanted sound source needs maximising. That is it!

A close in omni sounds better than a distant shotgun. Always.

Oh okay thanks. Well I was the boom op on a production that was outdoors once. The sound mixer used both lavs and a boom and I was operating the boom only. He had a headphones to the lavs, and I did not.

The director kept asking him on every take, how was the sound. On the outdoor shoots, the sound mixer would always, say that the lavs are picking up noise from all around, and is not usable, but the shotgun was much better.

So since he kept saying that, that also made me think that perhaps a shotgun just cancels out a lot more background sound outside. Unless he was using the lavs incorrectly then?

Another thing, is on the outdoor shoot I did myself with both a boom and lav, even with the windcover on, wind was still getting into the lav, causing distortion. With the shotgun, I had the zeppelin typ windcover on, with a dead cat, and no wind got through at all. So does that mean that the wind protection for a shotgun is better then?

Paul R Johnson April 29th, 2020 12:56 PM

Re: Do lavs work at all outside in a city, or not really?
 
NEVER operate a boom without headphones. How on earth can you aim it properly if you cannot hear what it's capturing? If the lavs had poor sound, blame the person who put them on.

The wind protection for the shotgun is a totally different beast. It has still air, open cell foam or material weave, and the long fine hairs. A lav has a problem with wind protection because the idea is to be small and unobtrusive. The popular hairy covers work really well, but look like a creature is hiding on the actor. Good sound people create all kinds of solutions. Maybe disguise - the mic covered by silk or other costume department accessory. Maybe hide the mic in some kind of 'device' - I've seen them built into badges, or slit into a jacket lapel, or in a hat - that kind of thing. If the location is blowing a gale - you're stuffed, so you reshoot or suffer the expense of ADR.

Brian Drysdale April 29th, 2020 01:03 PM

Re: Do lavs work at all outside in a city, or not really?
 
You can get windshields for these mics, plus you can conceal them so that the wind doesn't catch them.

I don't know how close this sound recordist was locating these mics, but unless your boom mic was close in, you're unlikely to be as close as a lav mic Since you haven't given the circumstances, it's hard to comment, since your boom mic might be a foot away and the lav a foot from the mouth of the actor..

Again, you need to test these things for yourself. Check out the various ways of concealing a lav mic, the time always arises when you need to use them because they're only way to get the dialogue when the DP doesn't want to compromise the shot to get a boom in.

Pete Cofrancesco April 29th, 2020 01:59 PM

Re: Do lavs work at all outside in a city, or not really?
 
I use lavs exclusively for my job and like everyone said omni is the most useful. cardioids are too directional if subject turns head. Wind noise, clothing noise and concealment are going to be your main issues with lavs. Outside is not a controlled environment, if you can hear a noise with your ears chances are so can the mic. In hollywood they probably use ADR on location scenes.

Ryan Elder April 29th, 2020 02:29 PM

Re: Do lavs work at all outside in a city, or not really?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson (Post 1959133)
NEVER operate a boom without headphones. How on earth can you aim it properly if you cannot hear what it's capturing? If the lavs had poor sound, blame the person who put them on.

The wind protection for the shotgun is a totally different beast. It has still air, open cell foam or material weave, and the long fine hairs. A lav has a problem with wind protection because the idea is to be small and unobtrusive. The popular hairy covers work really well, but look like a creature is hiding on the actor. Good sound people create all kinds of solutions. Maybe disguise - the mic covered by silk or other costume department accessory. Maybe hide the mic in some kind of 'device' - I've seen them built into badges, or slit into a jacket lapel, or in a hat - that kind of thing. If the location is blowing a gale - you're stuffed, so you reshoot or suffer the expense of ADR.

Well I had headphones to the boom, since I was the boom operator, but I did not have headphones to the lavs. The sound mixer had headphones to both, but I only had them to the boom only. But that's good that I didn't have headphones to the lavs, otherwise I would hear that with the boom, therefore making it harder to boom, doesn't it?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brian Drysdale (Post 1959134)
You can get windshields for these mics, plus you can conceal them so that the wind doesn't catch them.

I don't know how close this sound recordist was locating these mics, but unless your boom mic was close in, you're unlikely to be as close as a lav mic Since you haven't given the circumstances, it's hard to comment, since your boom mic might be a foot away and the lav a foot from the mouth of the actor..

Again, you need to test these things for yourself. Check out the various ways of concealing a lav mic, the time always arises when you need to use them because they're only way to get the dialogue when the DP doesn't want to compromise the shot to get a boom in.

Okay thanks. I used the wind protective covers for the lavs that the person gave me to borrow, but perhaps his wind protective covers were not good enough, and I need more heavy duty ones to be on part with the wind protection of a shotgun mic?

Paul R Johnson April 29th, 2020 02:48 PM

Re: Do lavs work at all outside in a city, or not really?
 
Sorry I thought you meant you didn't have the headphones for the boom.

Don't forget shotguns need the better protection because their design means even a light breeze sounds like a hurricane.

Ryan Elder April 29th, 2020 02:55 PM

Re: Do lavs work at all outside in a city, or not really?
 
Oh okay. I didn't explain it well enough. I meant I didn't have a feed from the lavs, into my headphones, sorry. So when he kept telling the director, the lav tracks were unusable, because of background noise getting through more, I can only go by him saying that, since I didn't hear the tracks.

Well do I need better wind protection for the lavs, since in the one shoot I did so far, the wind got through the wind protection of the lavs no problem, where as the Zeppelin and deadcat, completley blocked it out on the shotgun by comparison?

Paul R Johnson April 29th, 2020 03:07 PM

Re: Do lavs work at all outside in a city, or not really?
 
In my productions, I have a member of the crew who's job is to look after the radio mics. They are always trouble, and need somebody who really knows their stuff. Learning how to manage mics is not something you pick up quickly. Sennheiser, DPA and Countryman are what I spend a fortune on, and you have to pick the correct one for the job - all, of course, omni.

One really obvious trick is to protect the opening. Very often people place them so the opening is towards the mouth, but often this exposes them to wind getting in, so you orient them to be less wind facing.

Brian Drysdale April 29th, 2020 03:09 PM

Re: Do lavs work at all outside in a city, or not really?
 
You can get windjammers for the lav mics.

https://www.mymic.rycote.com/product...er-windjammer/

However, you need a plan to hide them.

Other options:

https://www.mymic.rycote.com/producttypes/overcovers/

https://www.mymic.rycote.com/producttypes/undercovers/

https://www.mymic.rycote.com/product...lavalier-foam/

https://www.mymic.rycote.com/product...to-windjammer/

Ryan Elder April 29th, 2020 04:05 PM

Re: Do lavs work at all outside in a city, or not really?
 
Okay thanks. These looked like the ones I used before, but wind still kept getting in:

https://www.mymic.rycote.com/producttypes/overcovers/

Are they perhaps not as good as others therefore? These ones look interesting, but also look like they would be really hard to hide:

https://www.mymic.rycote.com/product...er-windjammer/

Brian Drysdale April 29th, 2020 04:52 PM

Re: Do lavs work at all outside in a city, or not really?
 
You're probably only going to use them when it's not practical to use a boom mic, so it's up to you to experiment with methods of using them that hide them out of the wind and the shot.




Hidden Wind protection


Less hidden methods

https://www.thebroadcastbridge.com/c...-lavalier-mics

Ryan Elder April 29th, 2020 05:18 PM

Re: Do lavs work at all outside in a city, or not really?
 
Okay thanks. The last video shows a lot of improvement with the pads on each side of the mic. I can still hear some wind though, so not sure if it's quite acceptable for really good quality, but maybe?

Brian Drysdale April 30th, 2020 12:09 AM

Re: Do lavs work at all outside in a city, or not really?
 
If you can't get a boom mic in, you'll have to use another method, either ADR or the lav mic. If it's a drama you're going to be putting effects tracks on top, so very small amounts of wind creeping in will probably get hidden in these layers. You could possibly reduce wind noise a bit further with a suitable high pass filter.

It'll be a judgment call on the day how acceptable the location audio is and if you'll need to ADR it.

You should experiment with these techniques and work out if you can improve on them. The real world doesn't always allow you perfection, all you can do is know how to get the best out of the tools that you've got.

Paul R Johnson April 30th, 2020 01:27 AM

Re: Do lavs work at all outside in a city, or not really?
 
If you want really good quality, then you book a studio and replace the dialogue. There is no other solution apart from having a hand held anemometer and only shooting when it doesn't rotate! There is no solution other than what people have told you. Your choice, but stop looking for new solutions that don't exist.

You've also forgotten about interference, battery issues, signal strength and all the everyday RF problems of the damn things.

You have all the options so you're sorted. The key issue is operator skill level. You're probably a couple of years of experience short here.

Pete Cofrancesco April 30th, 2020 12:23 PM

Re: Do lavs work at all outside in a city, or not really?
 
So to recap, Ryan went outside on a windy spring day using a lav mic.

Greg Miller April 30th, 2020 07:05 PM

Re: Do lavs work at all outside in a city, or not really?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Rick Reineke (Post 1959130)
... ECM-55. Unfortunately it is huge by today's standards

Although smaller than many of the terrible dynamic lavs of the previous decade! IMHO the ECM-55 was revolutionary. Of course an RE-20 sounds even better, but they're really hard to hide. ;-)

Paul R Johnson May 1st, 2020 02:48 AM

Re: Do lavs work at all outside in a city, or not really?
 
Ryan formulates rules based on first poor experiences. Lavs, booming, lenses, mounts, gimbals - I've lost count.

Pete Cofrancesco May 1st, 2020 07:31 AM

Re: Do lavs work at all outside in a city, or not really?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson (Post 1959166)
Ryan formulates rules based on first poor experiences. Lavs, booming, lenses, mounts, gimbals - I've lost count.

I just reread the thread. I always assume if someone asks a question it’s based on something they just did or currently involved in. It’s weird to be talking about things that happened a long time ago. Thinking about it, almost all of his threads are him going through hypotheticals while writing the screenplay.

Roger Van Duyn May 1st, 2020 08:33 AM

Re: Do lavs work at all outside in a city, or not really?
 
As for wind noise, one thing that definitely helps wearing lavs or using a hand held is having the talent turn their back to the wind and shelter the microphone from the wind. I've watched numerous videos with reporters on location during hurricanes and had no problem hearing them well. Did this tactic get rid of ALL the wind noise? No. But give the audience some credit with being forgiving with appropriate amounts of wind noise. And there's another problem shooting outdoors, angle the light is coming from. If turning from the wind puts them in bad lighting conditions, you may have to compensate for that. You may have to reschedule for a better time, if you can. Being adaptable, resourceful, is very important shooting outside. There's no pat answer that will work all the time. But yes, lavs work well outside, in cities, in the country, a lot of the time, if not most of the time. But no microphone set-up I can think of works all the time under all conditions. And there are times that nothing works well enough to give the results you might want.

Paul R Johnson May 1st, 2020 11:06 AM

Re: Do lavs work at all outside in a city, or not really?
 
If the movie was set in a hurricane, then in post you'd be adding wind noise - so in a way - totally wind free audio would be wrong. So much can be cured once you've had the same problem a few times and had time to experiment.

I suppose if the wind noise is out of control, it was simply too windy to shoot!

Greg Miller May 1st, 2020 02:49 PM

Re: Do lavs work at all outside in a city, or not really?
 
1.) This is the perfect time to shoot on a city street. There is no traffic. Just pick a calm day.

2.) Ryan, if you are curious about wind noise, get the recorder, get the lav, get the appropriate foam, get the appropriate furry, get some gaffer tape. Spend a few hours playing around. Different mics, different wind treatment, different clothing, will yield different results. You need to experiment. If you wait until the next time you're on the job, and find several wrong ways of doing things, you will develop a bad rep.

At one point I was testing for wind issues, so I just set up a pedestal fan in the room, positioned myself six feet away, and recorded a bunch of tests with different wind treatments on the mic. Voila ... a controlled experiment. No question later about how hard the wind was blowing when I recorded a given take, because it was constant for all the tests.

Pete Cofrancesco May 1st, 2020 04:11 PM

Re: Do lavs work at all outside in a city, or not really?
 
He’s been running these mental planning exercises for every aspect of his film for years.

Greg Miller May 2nd, 2020 12:40 AM

Re: Do lavs work at all outside in a city, or not really?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ryan Elder (Post 1959126)
I am surprised that omni may work better for outdoors, because I used them once before for a project, and the outdoor noise had more background noise in them, so I thought therefore, they were worse for outdoors likely.

This train of thought is off the rails, in terms of logic and also in terms of grammatical clarity.

Josh Bass May 2nd, 2020 09:29 PM

Re: Do lavs work at all outside in a city, or not really?
 
That's just Ryan's writing style.

Greg Miller May 2nd, 2020 10:22 PM

Re: Do lavs work at all outside in a city, or not really?
 
I wonder whether, if he slowed down and wrote rationally, it would help him think rationally. I wonder whether either one is even a possibility.

Josh Bass May 2nd, 2020 10:29 PM

Re: Do lavs work at all outside in a city, or not really?
 
I'm gonna say that's all symptoms of spectrum.

Ryan Elder May 3rd, 2020 04:53 PM

Re: Do lavs work at all outside in a city, or not really?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Greg Miller (Post 1959179)
1.) This is the perfect time to shoot on a city street. There is no traffic. Just pick a calm day.

2.) Ryan, if you are curious about wind noise, get the recorder, get the lav, get the appropriate foam, get the appropriate furry, get some gaffer tape. Spend a few hours playing around. Different mics, different wind treatment, different clothing, will yield different results. You need to experiment. If you wait until the next time you're on the job, and find several wrong ways of doing things, you will develop a bad rep.

At one point I was testing for wind issues, so I just set up a pedestal fan in the room, positioned myself six feet away, and recorded a bunch of tests with different wind treatments on the mic. Voila ... a controlled experiment. No question later about how hard the wind was blowing when I recorded a given take, because it was constant for all the tests.

Oh okay, it's just that I don't want spend money on things I don't need to if possible, so I want to buy the best wind protection to begin with rather than buying a hole bunch of different kinds, and then having to sell the ones that aren't as good, and take a hit if that makes sense. But I can buy which kinds look like the best from those examples.

Greg Miller May 3rd, 2020 06:27 PM

Re: Do lavs work at all outside in a city, or not really?
 
Do you already have a lav mic?

Do you plan to really use it some day?

If so, buy the foam and the fluffy that the manufacturer recommends for that mic. If you can't afford that expense, do you ever really expect to be doing sound? Maybe you need a cheaper hobby.

And if you really do end up doing sound, you will need to have some minimal kit. One lav mic, one foam, and one fluffy seem like pretty minimal parts of your kit, IMHO.

Maybe I should refocus the question a little bit. Do you enjoy doing sound, do you enjoy playing with sound gear in your spare time? Or do you just enjoy talking about it?

Brian Drysdale May 4th, 2020 01:24 AM

Re: Do lavs work at all outside in a city, or not really?
 
A lav mic is a standard piece of kit for any sound recordist, they usually have at least a pair of them, They will also have at least one radio mic, for one person crews the later can be the only practical way of working on occasions and they commonly have two.

Wind protection will depend on if you wish to have the mic in shot. If not, it'll be your techniques that will provide that by using the methods shown in the videos, Some lav mics come with a small windshield, so you could experiment with combining two methods.





.

Paul R Johnson May 4th, 2020 01:31 AM

Re: Do lavs work at all outside in a city, or not really?
 
Buy things you use at least ten times a year, either for work and money generation or for leisure and education. If I won't use something more than ten times I hire. Sadly in the past I've bought so much stuff with as low as one use a year or lower. I have tons of stuff that got used for a project and then has not moved on the shelf for years. This is stupid. As I've got older, I rent more and more.

I also share-buy. I needed some lighting, so asked two other localish people who use lighting what they would find most useful. This way, if I need to borrow some loudspeakers, I know somebody who has ones that will match mine, and my lights will match theirs. This year I have spent by 14,000 on equipment that I have no work for.

ryan, why would you be buying this stuff? Do you already own the lavs, and radio kit? I thought you said you didn't in another post. Why would you spend considerable money on stuff you may never need? We've said before when talking about mics that before you buy, you experiment with home made protection. I'm not going to tell you to BUY wind protection because for your purposes that's plain crazy!

Pete Cofrancesco May 4th, 2020 07:10 AM

Re: Do lavs work at all outside in a city, or not really?
 
I’m pretty sure he must be planning an outdoor action scene and wants a lav so he can get audio without someone following with a boom. I don’t know why he never simply explains what he wants to do. All of this stuff he talks about I believe is contingent on if he ever gets funded. How many months back was he talking in earnest about what camera should he get.


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