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Hi All!

Inspired by Rado's and Atheismystic's RM11/ COS technique threads, I have decided to post my own Tram-50 technique.

My technique is similar to the turtle clip accessory offered by Tram, but offers a lower profile and the ability to customize/adapt the cage. It also avoids the vampire clips that come with the Tram mic cage.

This technique isolates clothing from rubbing the mic capsules head. In addition, this techique allows the mic to act as a boundary microphone of sorts. I find this improves the tonal qualites of the mic and to my ears, makes the sound of the mic less honky. It also picks up the resonation of the chest well.

And now, without further ado, lets start the tutorial! 8)

First I start with these items: Tram-50, Tram Tape Down accessory, a paper clip, wire cutters, hockey tape and a permanent marker (or something to shape the wire clip).

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I start first with the paper clip. I straighten out the clip as straight as possible.

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I then cut the paper clip with the wire cutters to be about 1&1/2 as long as the tape down accessory. I take the trimmed wire and bend it over a permanent marker to give the desired shape/curve to the wire.

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I press down on the wire and make sure I get a nice even curve to the wire while paying attention to the wire bending flat on the sides. This is achieved by using a flat surface such as a table. This is what the wire should look like at this point.

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As you can see, I have already taken the liberty of placing the Tram-50 into the tape down accessory, with the capsule facing DOWN. It is stated by Tram that the back side of the mic head is the least sensitive part of the microphone and thus, if clothing does somehow rub the mic head, it shouldn't be nearly as apparent as if it rubbed the front of the mic. Also, this allows the mic to act as a boundary microphone when placed on the chest.

In the above photo, I line up the wire with the tape down accessory and insure that the bend in the wire will allow a small space for the mic . You do not want the wire touching the mic head, but instead just floating right above it.

Next I trim the excess wire on both sides of the tape down so that there is no pointy ends sticking out of the tape down (ouch!). This is what it looks like.

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Now here is where the hockey tape (Eh?) comes into play. I use hockey tape because of its unique properties. It has superior adhesive, it's cloth/fabric like and is resistant to moisture. This results in the tape not coming undone (and in turn allowing the wire to not bend back and forth with ease), does not produce crunching/movement/rubbing sound like packing/generic tape and wont come undone due to sweating from talent. Perhaps athletic tape would suffice, but I have not tried it. I cut the hockey tape into 1/4" strips, about 2" long for a total of 2 strips.

I place the wire flat ends about two thirds the way up on the Tape Down attachment and then place the hockey tape strips over the wire ends. This attaches the wire to the Tape Down attachment as shown below.

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With tension in the tape, I wrap both sides around the Tape Down attachment to not allow excessive movement in the wire. I wrap both sides about twice around. I press firmly on the tape over the wire. I want the wire ends to be firmly in place. I cut excess tape off the sides so that there are no sharp points of tape to rub against anything.

This is what the finished product looks like.

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Notice the space allowed between the wire curve and the mic element/tape down accessory...

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I ussually tape down the attachment with surgical tape to the talents chest as such...

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Likewise, I can also attach to the talents shirt as such...

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Feel free to let me know if you all have any questions! Until then, Happy Tram'in!

Paul Dorough

Sound Art Film

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treckson   

Very nice. I have been doing this for years, learned from an acquaintance I met at Audio Services (now Pro Sound) in NYC. Though I still like to put some mole skin on the back of the mic in case the fabric happens to dip down.

Cheers!

T.

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Very good idea, Paul. My only concern is the potential bulge caused by the mic cage around the capsule, which is one reason why I resort to the B6 so much, since it's about 1/3 the size of the Tram. I have used different combinations of double-stick tape (the gaffer tape "triangle" trick), vampire clips, and undercoats, and usually one of those will work. But there's definitely a degree of voodoo involved, particularly with unexpected fabric combinations. Silk and synthetics are a killer challenge.

Deichen and I were on a shoot a month or two back where five out of six actors were flawless, and one was just noise-city, no matter what we did to quiet the lav placement. Luckily for us, the actor only had about three lines in the entire scene, so we just got those wild and moved on. The editor later told me those worked fine and he was able to get the scene to work fine. The sequence was (of course) wide and tight, so it was nearly impossible to get a boom in for the hero takes.

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Hey Marc,

Thanks for adding to the thread! As with all lav hidding techniques, it is best to have an arsenal of tricks because having one just wont do it when it comes to the challenges we face. Most of the time, the slight bump from this Tram technique will be invisible as long as placement is between the pecs, moobs, breasts (whatever u wanna call em') and as long as there is not a very tight shirt involved.

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Paul... that's similar to how I've been doing it for years too. It's been working well enough that Trams have become my first choice lav. I stumbled across that technique on a challenging shoot where I started trying different things in different shots to battle wind noise while the lav had to be hidden. That worked and I've been doing it ever since that day.

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Good to hear some more feedback!

Mattin, rock on. I'm sure you've noticed this,but the tram just sounds much better like this. It's a very useful trick once you learn it! I am also curious about try out the corn pad trick for the tram. I could see it being mounted onto a tight t-shirt between the pecs or on the collar.

Nathaniel, glad to help you out! It should serve you well. Make sure to bring two sided tape to keep any layer of clothing from rubbing against each other.

VM, good to hear from you! I agree it is similar to the turtle clip, but this method has a smaller profile/cage, is flexible and can be replaced in the field. Those turtle clips can be tricky to track down too. B&h used to sell them, but I don't see them anymore. I think though trew audio is still selling them.

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As with all lav hidding techniques, it is best to have an arsenal of tricks because having one just wont do it when it comes to the challenges we face.

Oh, we do. But all the tricks in the world can't combat an impossible shooting schedule and an AD who won't give us another 5 minutes to test and secure an unruly lav mount. And tight T-shirts are a constant problem, as are silk shirts and/or polyester fabrics. Certain combinations will defy almost any lav placement, just due to cloth-against-cloth noise.

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floodmix   

Very good idea, Paul. My only concern is the potential bulge caused by the mic cage around the capsule, which is one reason why I resort to the B6 so much, since it's about 1/3 the size of the Tram. I have used different combinations of double-stick tape (the gaffer tape "triangle" trick), vampire clips, and undercoats, and usually one of those will work. But there's definitely a degree of voodoo involved, particularly with unexpected fabric combinations. Silk and synthetics are a killer challenge.

Deichen and I were on a shoot a month or two back where five out of six actors were flawless, and one was just noise-city, no matter what we did to quiet the lav placement. Luckily for us, the actor only had about three lines in the entire scene, so we just got those wild and moved on. The editor later told me those worked fine and he was able to get the scene to work fine. The sequence was (of course) wide and tight, so it was nearly impossible to get a boom in for the hero takes.

I'm also a huge fan of B6's simply because the smaller the mic the more options you have and hell, they sound great to me as long as the capsule is exposed in some way. What about outdoors though? I'm sure you're not a huge fan of B6's outdoors. I'm very cautious about using them outside...

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JonG   

Might I add that Audio Department in Burbank has a number of great little mounts for top address mics like cos-11s and B6s. I went ahead and purchased all of them to bring with me on the road, where the two female talent insist on wearing "problem" jackets such as windbreakers. Ive asked them to both wear something less noisy. If they dont this season then I may be wiring up their beanies or putting barrettes in their hair, lol!

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seth   

Well done ! That's very close to this :

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I've got one of these and have never been successful. It seams to amplify the sound of close rubbing against the cage. I'm sure it's user error though ;)

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Thanks Antonis!  Glad I can be of help.

 

To contribute to your question, I almost always do orientate my Tram towards the chest.  The only exception to this is when I attach the mic to a vampire clip on a blouse or button up shirt.  I then face the grill towards the vampire flat surface, with the back head of the mic exposed. 

As stated in my tutorial, TRAM explicitly states that the back side of the mic is specificaly manufactured to be less sensitive than the front on the mic ( where the element is).  Thus, I will always prefer that side to be my rubbing side, if any, and I find pointing the lav to the chest often gives a more full tone to the lavalier. 

Feel free to let us know if you have any other methods of working with the TRAM.  :ph34r:

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I've got one of these and have never been successful. It seams to amplify the sound of close rubbing against the cage. I'm sure it's user error though ;)

 

Seth,

 

Try using my method outlined above.  There are several reasons why I wouldnt buy that cage.  First, the cage itself is too long and provides too much surface area for possible rubbing with clothes.  Second, the bars are not flexible and wont move with clothing jostle (especially when someone is walking or running).  Third, the mounting surface is hard plastic, where as with my method, the leather strip is pliable and allows better placement between cleavage or places on the body that flex.  Forth, it's "hand made" ;D

 

Cheers!

 

Paul

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Thanks Antonis!  Glad I can be of help.

 

To contribute to your question, I almost always do orientate my Tram towards the chest.  The only exception to this is when I attach the mic to a vampire clip on a blouse or button up shirt.  I then face the grill towards the vampire flat surface, with the back head of the mic exposed. 

As stated in my tutorial, TRAM explicitly states that the back side of the mic is specificaly manufactured to be less sensitive than the front on the mic ( where the element is).  Thus, I will always prefer that side to be my rubbing side, if any, and I find pointing the lav to the chest often gives a more full tone to the lavalier. 

Feel free to let us know if you have any other methods of working with the TRAM.  :ph34r:

 

Cheers for the additional info Paul.

 

I'll go and get creative!

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Earmuffs   
Might I add that Audio Department in Burbank has a number of great little mounts for top address mics like cos-11s and B6s. I went ahead and purchased all of them to bring with me on the road, where the two female talent insist on wearing "problem" jackets such as windbreakers. Ive asked them to both wear something less noisy. If they dont this season then I may be wiring up their beanies or putting barrettes in their hair, lol!
And here is the website: http://lmcsound.com/ I use the vamp clips for my tl-40's and they work amazingly. They even have an interesting vamp style one for the tram/ost801. -Michael M.

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