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Audio in Moving Car


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Obviously car trunks are no joke.  The first time I got stuck in a trunk it was well above 90' outside and summer in Riverside.  I refused to get in without a walkie and after each take (we were literally rolling down the street at maybe 5 mph) that trunk got opened.  I wasn't okay about getting in a trunk and the only reason I did get in was because the street was empty and I think I put the fear of dead sound mixer in these kids hearts.  (I was hired on to a student shoot).  Either way, avoid it whenever possible and always make sure they understand how you feel about it.


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I have done alot of foolish things in my life as a soundman and in general for that matter, as I'm sure Jeff and RVD/MXR and others could testify to, but like Jeff, I will never ever ride in a car trunk with a actor driving. Way to dangerous, and not just because it is a meat puppet actor driving. Driving in general is the most dangerous thing we all do on a daily basis. I will mix from the backseat as long as I have a seat belt, but even then I'll bail out if the situation is at all suspect. Set a couple of levels on different tracks and let the deck roll. I've done this many times and while it may make more work for post, the sound has all been useable. Nothing we do in film, tv, and comercials,is worth dying or getting hurt for.


Old School

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  • 6 years later...

FYI, I'm a complete amateur but here's what I did.


I only own one wireless lav and we were filming a big van so I laid down in the center console and hid my Tram on one character and used my NTG-3 on the Rycote pistol grip for the other guy. I turned out alright, once I get another wireless lav I'd like to have both people laved so it sounds more consistant. On a positive note, it was really nice is lay day after a long day of booming.


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Have any of you ever tried to fix a lav behind the ear of the actor? Maybe the sound is not very nice, but it could be a solution ....








(that's my Senatorial sort of comment).


Actually, I have done this a few times, not really in a car situation though. It is a variant of the so-called "Broadway mount" where the lav is placed in the hairline or on the cheek, somewhere other than the typical spot (for us) on the chest. It can sound surprisingly good and solves other problems like head turns, clothing/movement noises, etc. For it to work you have to have a number of things going for you in terms of what the camera sees, ease of mounting (shape of the face - ears, etc.) but it can be a good choice.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Done the car boot many times but now it's not legal due to carbon monoxide from exhausts.


Recorded a commercial with 4 noisy teenagers 2 in fron 2 in back


Used 2 CUB-01's on radios with amazing results


I always place receivers in the same vehicle.


Otherwise if its normal dialogue I use SONOTRIMS on radios and if there is no room

or it's self drive put the recorder in the vehicle, set levels, press the button and say goodbye!



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  • 7 months later...

Wondering about some solutions for scenes in an open convertible on a process trailer with relatively quiet dialog.


1) If using Schoeps what sort of low profile wind protection have you found effective for open air ?


2) Cubs..again wind protection?


3) I would imagine booming would work for the singles but the reflection would be all over the windshield in the 2 shot frontal


4) Naturally, I would also wire the actors to hedge my bets. 


Thanks for any suggestions!



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Here is how I see it....  You can't solve any mic puzzle until you see that puzzle...  SO MANY different things to consider.... Think of all the situations that may present themselves in a car rig..... too many to list.... 


  Know as many different options as possible, gear up best you can and when the puzzle is laid out, go to work to get the mics where they need to be for that shot, or like billiards, for a few in a row... 


Trying to think through a mounting situation even an hour ahead of time I have found useless... when you actually see what THEY are about to present to you, only then can you lay out a plan of action...  


Realizing this will save you stress and time.... you can have options and ideas ahead of time, and gear ready to go a few different ways.. but never a set plan...

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Thanks Rick. For my application I don't think the teardrop windscreens will be enough protection and the round foam is a bit too large.


I went to the Nite-Ize site but wasn't quite sure which "flexible wrap thingys" you meant? Are they the devices taped to the mics with the round tops?


Thanks again.



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I have done maybe 75-100 car shoots for the last 2 years.

I have tried numerous setups but the one that I choose 95% of the time is normal lav each person making sure the seatbelt is not close or over the MIC. The main reason for using this setup is we shoot people getting in the car , driving, getting out of the car then getting back in and driving. To make it easy on post I just use the Lavs.

Now my trick is I have a third mic usually DPA 4063 or mkh8040 in between the 2 people. The antenna is extended behind the headrest or on the back window. This gives me a longer range and constant non interrupted  feed to director and producers who drive behind our production van.

This setup is has worked for me and while not ideal it works well if talent is not wearing noisy clothing.

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Using the mic stand and stereo bar is clever for that application ! Very clean, simple, invision mounts, nice. I actually have all those parts, just never put it all together like that. Nice work.


I'm dealing with period cars (40's early 50's) so I won't have the benefit of a center console. Probably wind up with fleximounts.


Thanks for sharing the pic.

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Geoff: " I've done dozens of car rigs but never with a convertible. "

you are in for a treat...

" For my application ... I'm dealing with period cars (40's early 50's)...I don't think the teardrop windscreens will be enough protection and the round foam is a bit too large. "

yep, a treat...

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