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Daniel Ignacio

How to hide a Sennheiser ME 2 on talent

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It should be possible to rent a TRAM for the shoot or even buy a used one as they are not expensive.

Remember we are trying to protect your reputation and your future.

I guess you are you recording a drama and not a "videography" style shoot.

I have used Sennheiser lavs when I bought into their expensive radio mikes

and used them for feature films stuck on the inside edge of a hem for example,

but it's not guaranteed to get the best result!

Maybe show the director some of our posts and always "argue" on the basis

that you are trying to do your best for the production.

Good luck

 

mike

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On 9/17/2017 at 10:23 PM, mikewest said:

It should be possible to rent a TRAM for the shoot or even buy a used one as they are not expensive.

Remember we are trying to protect your reputation and your future.

I guess you are you recording a drama and not a "videography" style shoot.

I have used Sennheiser lavs when I bought into their expensive radio mikes

and used them for feature films stuck on the inside edge of a hem for example,

but it's not guaranteed to get the best result!

Maybe show the director some of our posts and always "argue" on the basis

that you are trying to do your best for the production.

Good luck

 

mike

 

Thanks for the guidance, Mike. I’m hoping to demonstrate to the director how his mic is not suitable at our upcoming meeting, and ask him about if he has budget/time for ADR. If that doesn’t convince him to rent a lav, I’ll tell him that I will need more coverage for the boom, and that I’ll opt not to roll the lav track when problematic. And if he still wants me rolling the lav all the time, then I might just show up to set with a rented COS-11.

 

I wholeheartedly agree with protecting my reputation, but at the same time, I don’t want to make it seem easy to get a lav out of me without some consideration and/or compensation beforehand.

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On 17 September 2017 at 7:54 PM, Daniel Ignacio said:

We have no wardrobe department, my similarly-named friend. A low-budget shoot, so I won’t be seeing outfits until Day 1. Camera department is one DP, and he’s the director’s friend. Though he seems nice enough that I can get him to fight for more coverage for me.

 

Daniel, from a quick look at the latest posts I would say look again to the posts of Dan and Mike. You are doing a low budget shoot which should be an OPPORTUNITY to communicate and work with Wardrobe (especially), Make-Up, Camera Dept and Production Design for ALL parties to learn from each other and get a better result from minimal resources.

 

I posted a (good) low budget shoot fairly recently which my friend (the composer, director's friend) got me on to. Low budget, extended shoot, when possible, with three distinct sound recordists available when they were. Each recordist had a different style or workflow, so the tracks were different, but that was OK- they all did a pretty good job (often a vg job) to cope with their circumstances. What was a MAJOR issue for sound was that one of the two principles had an 'unmikable' noisy dress which (in a low budget scenario) SHOULD have been addressed BY SOUND beforehand.

 

It wouldn't have mattered if it was a DPA 4060/1, COS 11 or whatever: the fault was in the preproduction - make the most use of preproduction in your 'low budget' status. Everybody learns. Talk to the director, get the phone numbers of the folks doing costume, makeup, figuring locations or doing sets - and make friends all around.

 

In post we know how hard it is to shoot. It's hard in post too. It's only upsetting when we recognise when some major issue might have been avoided, such as "I won't be seeing outfits before Day 1" ... why the hell not? Have you seen a script?

 

Sorry for being an ass ... Best, Jez

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I have to say... it's all nice to say talk to costume before the shoot, but in my experience - and I make it a point to always call the costume designer beforehand - the success of this is pretty minimal. In 90% the reply I get is either: "I've been doing this long enough to know what sound needs" or "sorry I don't know what the costume will be until the shoot actually begins". When I get the first reply it will almost invariably result in at least one costume which is un-lavable. 

In the second case, they tend to consult me,  but only to inform really, of what the costume is going to be. 

The other 10% are willing to work with me and helpful, but I don't know how much they'll actually change the costume because of my request. 

 

On low budget shoots it's often even worse as the costume designer often actually designed and made the costume and will have been working on them for a long time, so a call a few weeks before won't change much. But there are notable exceptions, of course

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1 hour ago, Constantin said:

I have to say... it's all nice to say talk to costume before the shoot, but in my experience - and I make it a point to always call the costume designer beforehand - the success of this is pretty minimal. In 90% the reply I get is either: "I've been doing this long enough to know what sound needs" or "sorry I don't know what the costume will be until the shoot actually begins". When I get the first reply it will almost invariably result in at least one costume which is un-lavable. 

In the second case, they tend to consult me,  but only to inform really, of what the costume is going to be. 

The other 10% are willing to work with me and helpful, but I don't know how much they'll actually change the costume because of my request. 

 

On low budget shoots it's often even worse as the costume designer often actually designed and made the costume and will have been working on them for a long time, so a call a few weeks before won't change much. But there are notable exceptions, of course

Agreed, you wont get to change much of what wardrobe will do but it's helpful to be forewarned of how you might try to hide belt pack and mic. Make contact as soon as you can but get the details/pics towards the end of pre production (or in the days running up to the scene) as things change on the way.

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On 9/20/2017 at 8:58 PM, The Immoral Mr Teas said:

Talk to the director, get the phone numbers of the folks doing costume, makeup, figuring locations or doing sets - and make friends all around.

 

Again, we do not have a wardrobe department, though I’ll ask the director specifically what he’s having talent wear to set. The script does provide clues, and I was fortunately invited to the table read where they gave some detail about the kind of wardrobe they want. But there remain some unknowns, especially with women talent who may or may not be wearing dresses. Locations were unfortunately locked before they hired me, but we’re in a rural area – lesser chance for environmental noise.

 

I hear that the bigger the crew, you’re less likely to know people in other departments, and so I definitely take advantage of smaller crews by getting to know everyone.

 

You’re not an ass, you’ve been really helpful!

 

On 9/22/2017 at 5:45 AM, Constantin said:

"I've been doing this long enough to know what sound needs" or "sorry I don't know what the costume will be until the shoot actually begins".

 

The first/previous time I worked with a wardrobe department, they started a feud with my sound mixer. It was awful.

 

I was hoping to hear about more helpful wardrobe departments, but it is what it is!

 

On 9/22/2017 at 7:18 AM, daniel said:

Make contact as soon as you can but get the details/pics

 

I’ll get the director to send me photos. I’m not expecting great turnout if he has to ask talent to photograph their outfits for sound department (we’re a week away from the shoot), but hopefully they’ve already sent him photos.

 

 

Only seven more days, and crew meeting is happening between now and the shoot next Saturday, which is my last chance to persuade the director to rent a lav. It’s doubtful that any rental would arrive by the first shooting day, but the director hasn’t made himself available until now to allow me to demonstrate the ME 2’s shortcomings.

 

Just found a rubber mount for the ME 2 made by LMC Sound. I’m buying one – I don’t expect it to solve all issues with such a sub-par mic, but at least it’ll have satisfied my curiosity and save some moleskin.

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"the director hasn’t made himself available until now to allow me to demonstrate the ME 2’s shortcomings.

  > Without an A-B demo, I doubt you'll get anywhere. Some directors just don't care about sound at all.

 

"we’re in a rural area – lesser chance for environmental noise."

  > Rural locations often have undesirable sounds as well. I was on a shoot in a remote region of Adirondack State Park... which had an active military air base ten or so miles away (next-door for jet aircraft). The scout report never mentioned this or there was little activity when they visited. Then there's the usual commercial and private aircraft to contend with along with unwanted birds, insects and environmental annoyances. Don't assume "rural" is going to be w/o issues.

I hope it works out for you anyway,

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11 hours ago, Rick Reineke said:

Without an A-B demo, I doubt you'll get anywhere. Some directors just don't care about sound at all.

 

Eh, I’ll give it a shot anyway. I doubt this guy cares but I’m just trying to CYA at this point, making sure he knows that he’s getting this kind of sound out of this mic.

 

11 hours ago, Rick Reineke said:

Rural locations often have undesirable sounds as well.

 

Oh, I don’t doubt that at all. I’ve had tractors, hunters’ gunfire, and fireworks at some of the rural locations I’ve done, as well as the inescapable problem of airplanes. But there tends to be less noise in my experience.

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I'm working on a show right now that has been rather nightmarish for lavs. First wardrobe Dept quit or was fired less than a week before we started after I had already talked to them and they were going to be great to work with. No one told me this had happened and I showed up on set the first day very surprised at the wardrobe (not lav friendly) with no on set wardrobe because they hadn't found a replacement yet. My first encounter with the costumer Designer was not a good as she told me that she was from the "indie film world" and that she didn't care about sound I guess. Needless to say the wardrobe or lack thereof has made it extremely difficult to wire actors. As constantin said above success is minimal in getting wardrobe to change anything. You basically have to get lucky and get a costume designer that does care and is willing to help sound out. Doesn't matter the size of the show or the budget.

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I recorded an American show some years ago set on a snow covered mountain.

 

I had a brief meeting with the producer and director before hand and warned them that

outdoor clothing was usually pretty noisy for lavs so wardrobe dept should be aware

 

I traveled to location some weeks later to find noisy outdoor clothing and..........

when we start shooting "oh dear" we can see the boom in the ski goggles !!!!!!

 

mike

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3 hours ago, mikewest said:

I recorded an American show some years ago set on a snow covered mountain.

 

I had a brief meeting with the producer and director before hand and warned them that

outdoor clothing was usually pretty noisy for lavs so wardrobe dept should be aware

 

I traveled to location some weeks later to find noisy outdoor clothing and..........

when we start shooting "oh dear" we can see the boom in the ski goggles !!!!!!

 

mike

Did a movie up in the snow as well. Luckily only one actor the whole time in the snow and we hid the lav in the beanie for the first couple of days until the beanie is lost, can't remember why, but everything on the boom after that. The shots were so wide that we had to be at least 10 feet up in the air. Luckily snow is forgiving. And yeah those snow goggles...

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I have a couple of MKE 2's reds I use for screaming or any loud scenes. I have had fair success using HUSH lav foam. They are a little hard to get over the mic but have worked well for me. I have one MKE 2 gold that sounds good when not hidden. I think they have a cheaper version that is marked with a black plastic sleve on the cable. 

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On 10/29/2017 at 2:28 PM, newzhack said:

I have a couple of MKE 2's reds I use for screaming or any loud scenes. I have had fair success using HUSH lav foam.

 

Hope I didn’t mislead you – I’m talking about the ME 2 and not the MKE 2.

 

Though I am curious about the higher-end Sennheiser lavs. How do you like working with the MKE 2?

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The ME2 is larger than most but how is it difficult to hide? What are the actors wearing?

 

As far as it slipping out of tape, what has been your technique?

 - Are you using a strain relief ? ***(Extremley Important)***

 - Are you using good quality tape (3M Transpore, Dr. Scholls Moleskin)?

 - Have the talent been sweating before applying the tape?

 - Are you prepping skin contact areas with alcohol wipes?

 - Are you using the a good tape for attaching to clothing (Stick it and Super Stick it Dots, transpore)?

 

 There are a bunch of different things to think about when getting into the art of attaching and hiding microphones.

 

I would suggest looking up the book "Down to the Wire" by Thomas Pop for starters.

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Thomas Popp also did a multi part 'Udemi' video course that is very comprehensive. I forget the title, but maybe that's what Alex is referring to. Ain't free though.

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9 hours ago, AlexQ said:

The ME2 is larger than most but how is it difficult to hide? What are the actors wearing?

 

Back then, I used gaffer’s tape triangles and I didn’t know any better, so that’s something I neglected to mention. This time around, I did use a rubber mount, Transpore, and Super Stick-It! which made hiding so much more easy and reliable.

 

This shoot involved a lot of heavy button-down flannel shirts and jackets, which made hiding the mic in plackets doable. Though there was an actor playing a priest with a thinner button-down shirt that almost didn’t work – not a lot of extra cloth to tamp down over the mic – and I still can’t imagine hiding the mic on anything lighter, like T-shirts, without a noticeable bump.

 

Do need to check out that Popp book though, for sure.

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2 hours ago, Rick Reineke said:

Thomas Popp also did a multi part 'Udemi' video course that is very comprehensive. I forget the title, but maybe that's what Alex is referring to. Ain't free though.

 

Oh ya. A while back he made an iPad eBook on lav placement, too. That was nicely made:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/down-to-the-wire/id598071724?mt=11

 

@Thomas Popp is or was hanging out here.

 

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Daniel Ignacio said "... and I still can’t imagine hiding the mic on anything lighter, like T-shirts, without a noticeable bump."

 

I have done a number of shoots with the Sennheiser ME2 lavs under t-shirts. I wrap the head in moleskin - of course leaving the mic element at the top open. I then use the gaffer's tape triangles and tape the mic at the collar. The thicker cloth of the collar helps hide any bump. I then run the cable around to the back of the neck and down the back to the body pack, using a strain relief loop and taping where necessary to keep the cable hidden and the actor comfortable. I work often for a company that does training for Firefighters/EMS workers and they are usually wearing their EMS t-shirts. Usually they have me use their sound gear. They first just had ME2s, but now use Countryman B3s. I find those to sound better and are just as easy to hide. I have also used my own gear with Trams going to Lectro body packs with equal success. Even with a lot of movement as the EMT/Paramedics move around, kneel down, wheel gurneys in, etc., if I have done a good tape job I do not normally get any clothing noise.

 

Good luck!

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7 hours ago, Rob Neidig said:

I have done a number of shoots with the Sennheiser ME2 lavs under t-shirts. I wrap the head in moleskin - of course leaving the mic element at the top open. I then use the gaffer's tape triangles and tape the mic at the collar. The thicker cloth of the collar helps hide any bump. I then run the cable around to the back of the neck and down the back to the body pack, using a strain relief loop and taping where necessary to keep the cable hidden and the actor comfortable.

 

Surprised but happy that a collar solution works. My shoot with the ME 2 is over, but I’d like to practice that if I encounter it again.

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2 hours ago, Daniel Ignacio said:

 

Surprised but happy that a collar solution works. My shoot with the ME 2 is over, but I’d like to practice that if I encounter it again.

Collar solution works, and I've done it before, but be warned....any head movements will be VERY noticeable and exaggerated on your mix since the mic is placed so far off the lateral plane. 

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5 minutes ago, JWBaudio said:

Collar solution works, and I've done it before

 

Indeed, but never expected anything larger than a COS-11 or B6 to hide well in such a small area. At least, from the average T-shirt collars I see, like this one:

 

IMG_20171110_234853.jpg

 

Slightly unrelated, I encounter a lot of off-axis issues with collar mounting at my school’s student television. Haven’t yet found a good place for the lav where levels stay consistent enough, even accounting for head turning for the anchors. (Their over-zealous compressor is also partially to blame for the bad sound.) Tried the collar and the sternum. The breast area is up next.

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1 hour ago, Daniel Ignacio said:

Slightly unrelated, I encounter a lot of off-axis issues with collar mounting at my school’s student television. Haven’t yet found a good place for the lav where levels stay consistent enough, even accounting for head turning for the anchors. (Their over-zealous compressor is also partially to blame for the bad sound.) Tried the collar and the sternum. The breast area is up next.

Anywhere from the centre to the base of the sternum tends to be best hidden or exposed, it's the sweet spot we're always after.

 

Exposed on t-shirts trams work beautifully, psc millimic, anything front loading, or with something like a cos-11/b6/b3 you can play around until the head is facing down and away from the mouth, that may also help to balance a bit. 

 

What's the 'over-zealous' compressor?

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1 hour ago, JWBaudio said:

What's the 'over-zealous' compressor?

 

Meant “excessive”… my word usage was strange.

 

Someone – a course instructor or fellow student – has set the PreSonus StudioLive mixer we’re using to apply a crazy amount of compression, to the point where it sounds awfully unnatural. Not to mention, amounts of gating, EQing, and limiting that I suspect are inappropriate. Nobody knows how to apply a correct amount, including me, since I only get so much time to experiment with the mixer before we start taping. I would turn all the processing off, but then the lack of any compression or gating would introduce a bunch of noise from the studio and self-noise from our lavs and/or wireless.

 

I’m watching a clip right now from one of our productions. The lav is clipped to the host’s upper breast area, on the side that his head is turned toward. Yet, the noise overpowers the voice and his voice sounds stuffy.

 

I hardly have a full grasp on basic audio processing, but I think all I need is some alone time with the board to get it where it needs to be. It doesn’t help that the film program here has disappointing offerings for learning audio (only one [unfriendly] audio professor in the entire university!), though I hope my ESPN internship will teach me something.

 

Bah, self-reflecting.

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7 hours ago, Daniel Ignacio said:

I’m watching a clip right now from one of our productions. The lav is clipped to the host’s upper breast area, on the side that his head is turned toward. Yet, the noise overpowers the voice and his voice sounds stuffy.

Yeah, that sounds like the settings on the mixer. (or the mic if they are using sub-par equipment)

7 hours ago, Daniel Ignacio said:

I think all I need is some alone time with the board to get it where it needs to be

I'd read up on the manual, if shows are programmed in it may take a while to go through and change everything, but if not it should only take a couple minutes max to get in and fix everything. The biggest thing is to make sure the compressor is the last thing in your chain.

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