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Hiding Lavs vs exposed for non-fiction. Opinions?


Dan Brockett
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Whenever I see an exposed lav, it is usually mounted a bit high for my taste. I think the most natural sound is usually achieved with the microphone about an inch or two below the nipples. Sometimes wardrobe compels a higher mount but, if there were an option, I always tried to position a bit lower. That naturally solves some of the visibility issues - the microphone is visible only in wider shots where its presence is discreet and it's not visible at all in any close-ups.

 

David

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On 12/17/2019 at 1:35 PM, Dan Brockett said:


Ha, ha, this is awesome. Wonder if it was an art department initiated "cable access" looking prop or if they actually used the sound from it?
 


He’s been using this gag since the beginning of the original show. I think I remember hearing a “rub” on one once during a more active bit so I think they use(d) the audio from those exposed lavs. 
 

They normally use white tape on dark clothes and black tape on light clothes just for added cringe-effect. It’s such a stupid gag but It always makes me laugh. 
 

Cheers,

Evan

 

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On 12/18/2019 at 9:45 AM, drpro said:

Some years ago as part of the interview, the producer wanted me hiding the lav on Dolly Parton while the camera rolled.  Needless to say there was no problem hiding that little lav amongst the large mountains!!

My experience with this problem is that large bras often creak due to the stress!!

 

mike

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There are times when the producer doesn't mind and I choose to hide the lav - outdoors in windy Britain would be a prime example - big lav furries conspicuously on the front of a jacket - meh. Looking forward to hearing producers say: "Don't worry about the lav, our editor is a whizz with rotascope", it will definitely beat placing mics on the inexperienced and worrying about clothing noise you have no control over.

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For sit-down interviews in overhead-friendly conditions, I will fuss about also wiring the subject for no reason other than they want both. It's another mic that you need to monitor, adjust, and the odds are higher for interrupting to make those adjustments - all for something that will never be as good as the overhead and you have no intention of using. You are also giving them the option to change it or worse - leave it with the original split track which I have heard too many times. If the subject is not talent you also have the wiring process more challenging to deal with. 

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  • 1 year later...

I'm looking forward to reading the other replies, however the beliefs around showing the mic, not the choice itself, could be dictating how the interview is going to go. Bottom line for me, is the talent inspired? "Hate" really has no place on the set for me. In other words, did we create an environment where the most genuine content is going to emerge? If we can't use the lav recordings because of clothing rustle, then I've limited the creativity of the editor. If I've handled a non-actor in a way that they are unaccustomed (like reaching up their pullover or blouse), then will they remain candid and comfortable?

 

This business of an interview being tarnished by a visible lav has more to do with how the lav is treated, not yours or my belief around it. We've all seen odd placement of a lav that draws our attention as an audience. Still, HATE is a big word. You see how the belief might be what's really getting in the way? That there are cavalier ways in which people clip mics is hardly a reason to dismiss over-the-clothes as a decision or technique when you are going out with a professional broadcast crew member or location audio person. Am I suspending my disbelief that this person is being interviewed or talking in an interview? Just because there's stage dressing or the camera person has a craft does not automatically make it verité. 

 

David, yes, I entirely agree. Some stations get accustomed to being more aggressive with inching the placement up, but for me it's still a cultural thing when I'm on a particular channel or show, and certainly, yes, as a consequence the signal is more loaded when people insist on those closer spots (I've had other technicians then come in and "fix" my placement. "When in Rome..." as they say.) Also, I've then limited the framing for the camera person.

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