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Thomas Farmer

Best options for minimizing clothing rustles on lav mics?

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Hey guys, testing out some options/techniques for minimizing the amount of rustling and scratching on lav mics from the subjects' clothing. Obviously, I understand nothing can be perfect and there's nothing to really eliminate it 100%. I have some Rycote Undercovers that work fine for sit down interview shoots but as soon as they start moving they don't really do much. 

 

Just wondering what people have worked with in their experience! Especially with subjects that may be walking and moving around frequently in documentary type shoots. Thanks!

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Almost 40 years of experience doing it, and it will still get your goat periodically. Experience is the solution, and only most of the time. Much of the time the clothing is actually active and you can hear the noise through a boom mic.  Mounting tips at that point only help so much.... A great deal of what you hear through cans is minimized through a speaker somewhat. I am sometimes surprised.

 

There is no BEST, only what works for your problem in front of you at that moment. There are so many options, you have to size up your situation, and through experience of knowing what works, pull out that solution and go to work.

 

If you do a search, you can read a lot on this subject.  Study, think and experiment...  

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6 hours ago, afewmoreyears said:

Almost 40 years of experience doing it, and it will still get your goat periodically. Experience is the solution, and only most of the time. Much of the time the clothing is actually active and you can hear the noise through a boom mic.  Mounting tips at that point only help so much.... A great deal of what you hear through cans is minimized through a speaker somewhat. I am sometimes surprised.

 

There is no BEST, only what works for your problem in front of you at that moment. There are so many options, you have to size up your situation, and through experience of knowing what works, pull out that solution and go to work.

 

If you do a search, you can read a lot on this subject.  Study, think and experiment...  

 

Absolutely right! But I am also reminded of a comment I once heard uttered by a sound mixer: "Well, this shot's impossible: what's next?"

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Tons of good info here on JWS. Maybe search for "clothing" or "undercovers" or "tape" and you'll find plenty of good discussions with good information. I mean: REALLY GOOD information.

 

Also, a few years ago Thomas Popp had a nice interactive iPad book on lav wiring. A quick Google search points me to this Udemy video class he now offers. If it's as good as his iPad thing, it's worth the cost: https://www.udemy.com/course/dttwbook/

 

And I'm once again reminded of my favorite aphorism:

 

Good judgment comes from experience

Experience comes from bad judgment.

 

The more "experience" you have the better you'll be. 🙂

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The main issue is the quality and type of fabric.
If a fabric makes noise, you will hear the noise.

 

Personally, I have found that accessories like this & this helps a lot in fabric noise.

 

Leather is our worst enemy, even with shotgun.

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I have had great success with Ursa Mini Mounts mounted with Super Stick It tape.  That being said, even that isn't an always perfect solution and like the other posters have said above, it takes a lot of experience (and some trial and error) to get the best results.  Even then, some wardrobe is just plain noisy to the point you can hear it move from across the room!

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On 2/14/2020 at 3:12 AM, Thomas Farmer said:

Hey guys, testing out some options/techniques for minimizing the amount of rustling and scratching on lav mics from the subjects' clothing


which techniques have you tested so far? Other than the Undercovers...

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Personally I'm a fan of laving products by Ursa, Rycote etc.

 

My go to setups are either Ursa Mini Mounts or Rycote Overcovers (btw Undercovers are useless, more often then not they create more noise).

 

Outside of those two setups its usually costume specific:

- Tie knots

- Beanie/Hat Mics

- Mics in the slit of the button slightly exposed

- Under the collar (although I don't use that much)

- Hidden in the Pen Pocket of a shirt

 

But all of these techniques may not work, it depends on the costume, the type of fabric, the actors movements and body type and what the camera sees. The unfortunate reality if some of these don't work in your favor there may not be an adequate solution to mic'ing, in that costume.

 

For documentary however you generally should be fine with basic techniques.

 

 

 

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+1 for all experienced posters above. There is no one-4-all recipe, neither a few tried options which together will cover almost any situation.

 

It is many variables that determine your mounting options, just to name a few here:

  • talent's body shape
  • costume fabrics and colors
  • special hiding possiblities (button holes, necktie, scarf, hat/cap...)
  • a trained eye and ear for fabrics and costume layers: how muffeld will a certain mounting option sound if one ore even two specific layers of fabric will cover the mike; which fabric layers will move and rub on each other in the shot and how will that sound; will a thin layer suffice to cover the wind noise or does it require
  • Tx mounting options and antenna placement requirements
  • talent movement and body positions required by the scene
  • experience with movement patterns of your particular actor
  • body orientation
  • voice level
  • former experience with talent's voice
  • wind (important)
  • mouth or nose blow from particular talent
  • a very good knowledge of your lav mikes and mounting accessories
  • a good assortment of sticky tapes, tools and gadgets 
  • and many more...

Best is to get started by a close view on talent's wardrobe, making sure that what you see now is exactly what will be there in the moment of shooting. Try to know as many of the parameters above, especially about movements and talking positions. Your personal experience resulting in a small arsenal of miking techinques covering your standard situations now comes into play and your trained eye, your experience and your good communication with the talent will get you to a decision within some seconds. 

 

Now if you are a novice to the business, don't hesitate to start working on this arsenal of your personal miking techniques, make sure you always listen to what you previously miked. Confronted with problems, look for a chance to find out WHY it does not work! Depending on the talent you might have a few tries to improve your mount. Try a different solution, as long as your talent is comfortable with your actions.

 

Miking people is a very complex task. No one can claim 100% success, not even regarding only "acceptable" results. 80% "OK mounts" are good for an experienced guy or girls. For a beginner 20% "OK" mounts will be rather normal. Be prepared for the learning curve, it will not always be steep, but gradually improve towards the 80% or even better.

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+1 to all.

 

I learned that fabric type can really make a difference. I did a hospital series where the actors wore scrubs made from a thick cotton material. We hid the lavs in their name tags on the outside of the scrubs. Worked great in the winter. When summer came their clothes suddenly started rustling like hell. We learned that they had had cotton tank tops under the scrubs in the winter. So tree forced the, to keep them on. Rustle gone :)

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On 2/17/2020 at 4:51 PM, Rick Reineke said:

Inherently, the B6 is susceptible to air turbulence though.

For some actors I use them upside down, so they poke out to the downside of the button.The above pic by Henri Rapp shows very good the principle of a B6 mount (although it might be a 6060), imagine it 180 deg reverse, to avoid the nose blow. Thanks for the pic!

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On 2/13/2020 at 6:12 PM, Thomas Farmer said:

Hey guys, testing out some options/techniques for minimizing the amount of rustling and scratching on lav mics from the subjects' clothing. Obviously, I understand nothing can be perfect and there's nothing to really eliminate it 100%. I have some Rycote Undercovers that work fine for sit down interview shoots but as soon as they start moving they don't really do much. 

 

Just wondering what people have worked with in their experience! Especially with subjects that may be walking and moving around frequently in documentary type shoots. Thanks!

Hi Thomas,

 

Check out the EMBRACE Ear-worn microphone. The option of wearing it on the ear is helpful because it's not on clothing and is discreet. Also, the mic stays on and is in the same spot so it's never out of pattern. 

 

If you'd like to learn about how others have used EMBRACE, please check out the video here from a location sound mixer in Los Angeles:

https://www.point-sourceaudio.com/markets/broadcast/

 

And here is a story from Televisa on how they're using it in their studio broadcast on actors.

https://www.point-sourceaudio.com/2019/03/23/televisa-adopts-embrace-a-rapid-and-concealable-micing-system-for-its-television-productions/

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59 minutes ago, Techie23 said:

Hi Thomas,

 

Check out the EMBRACE Ear-worn microphone. The option of wearing it on the ear is helpful because it's not on clothing and is discreet. Also, the mic stays on and is in the same spot so it's never out of pattern. 

 

If you'd like to learn about how others have used EMBRACE, please check out the video here from a location sound mixer in Los Angeles:

https://www.point-sourceaudio.com/markets/broadcast/

 

And here is a story from Televisa on how they're using it in their studio broadcast on actors.

https://www.point-sourceaudio.com/2019/03/23/televisa-adopts-embrace-a-rapid-and-concealable-micing-system-for-its-television-productions/

I don't see these as much help for drama etc lav-hiding etc vs what we have already, but I'd be interested in hearing the ear-set unit.  Is it directional?  

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Embrace's website says it's an omni. It may be hard to implement any other pattern: the unit is small so there wouldn't be much difference between front and back entrances, and one side is so close to the head it's virtually blocked.

 

I worked for the late Carl Countryman on a project involving his earsets. These were different, of course, with a semirigid boom intended to be molded to the actor's face, and the element much closer to the mouth than Embrace's. But Carl made both an omni and a cardioid version.

 

He told me that buying the cardioid was almost always a mistake. Its proper use was for performances with large speaker stacks behind the singer. For dialog or speech s/r (preachers were a big market) any advantage to directionality was cancelled by the problems of getting a consistent sound on both near and distant sounds. The omni seemed incredibly directional, rejecting almost everything else in the room... but that was because of inverse-square.

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On 2/27/2020 at 10:27 AM, Philip Perkins said:

I don't see these as much help for drama etc lav-hiding etc vs what we have already, but I'd be interested in hearing the ear-set unit.  Is it directional?  

They're actually used for theatre, location sound, tv broadcast and even instruments! Here's some more information on it: https://www.point-sourceaudio.com/products/microphones/earmount/eo-8wl/

 

The mic is omni, but there is a cardioid lav option: https://www.point-sourceaudio.com/products/microphones/lavalier/cr-8l-cardioid/

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22 minutes ago, Jay Rose said:

Embrace's website says it's an omni. It may be hard to implement any other pattern: the unit is small so there wouldn't be much difference between front and back entrances, and one side is so close to the head it's virtually blocked.

 

I worked for the late Carl Countryman on a project involving his earsets. These were different, of course, with a semirigid boom intended to be molded to the actor's face, and the element much closer to the mouth than Embrace's. But Carl made both an omni and a cardioid version.

 

He told me that buying the cardioid was almost always a mistake. Its proper use was for performances with large speaker stacks behind the singer. For dialog or speech s/r (preachers were a big market) any advantage to directionality was cancelled by the problems of getting a consistent sound on both near and distant sounds. The omni seemed incredibly directional, rejecting almost everything else in the room... but that was because of inverse-square.

Hi Jay!

 

It's nice to hear about your collaboration with Carl Countryman. As you pointed out, they are different because the Embrace uses an ear mount rather than a boom across the face. The mic is actually extendable if you need it closer to the source for softer voices.

 

Here's an example of the different lengths for the Embrace mic: https://www.facebook.com/psa.audio/photos/a.429369097078135/2934164289931924/?type=3&theater

 

 

There is of course the earset mic option as well that features an "unbreakable" boom that bends 360°: https://www.point-sourceaudio.com/products/microphones/earset/performance-vocal/co-8ws-omni/

 

And here is the cardioid version: https://www.point-sourceaudio.com/products/microphones/earset/performance-vocal/cr-8s-cardioid/

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1 hour ago, Techie23 said:

It's nice to hear about your collaboration with Carl Countryman. As you pointed out, they are different because the Embrace uses an ear mount rather than a boom across the face.

 

Countryman has headset mics that might reach across the wearer's face; I haven't used them so I don't know. But their two earset mics definitely don't. I do own and use those (I've also worked with Point Source's longer earsets). Here's a picture of Countryman's shorter E2:

 

e2w6t-base.jpg

https://countryman.com/product-category/microphones/earset-microphone/

 

And here's a picture of Point Source earsets (from your site):

Embrace-microphone-4-black_560x295.jpg

 

It's cool that Televisa is using your earsets for their telenovelas.

 

But let me suggest that it's a really good idea for manufacturers to be really careful when describing their own and especially competitors' products. I'm not saying there's no difference between Countryman's and PSA's earsets. But Countryman's don't, as you write, "boom across the face."

 

Also, think about how frequently you want to post the same information here. Many (and probably most) of the followers of this group click on the "Unread Content" link so we can easily see all the new posts. I feel like you posted the link to the Televisa piece a couple times. Once is enough. And I think we'd be more interested in comments from a mixer working on one of their shows than comments from a sales manager. Nothing against sales managers, but the thing that would interest me would be information from a person who decided to (or had to) use your earsets for a drama. What led to that decision? Sure, if the info is in a PSA press release, we'll all read it with a careful eye. But we all know how to separate wheat from chaff. At least here, I suggest going for a gentler sell.

 

I mean all this as friendly advice. And I do mean friendly. As I've said, I've used your earsets and they seem decent. And it's great to have manufacturers represented here. But I'm not the boss of this site. Just a user/follower. Others may have a different perspective from me.

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1 hour ago, Jim Feeley said:

 

Countryman has headset mics that might reach across the wearer's face; I haven't used them so I don't know. But their two earset mics definitely don't. I do own and use those (I've also worked with Point Source's longer earsets). Here's a picture of Countryman's shorter E2:

 

e2w6t-base.jpg

https://countryman.com/product-category/microphones/earset-microphone/

 

And here's a picture of Point Source earsets (from your site):

Embrace-microphone-4-black_560x295.jpg

 

It's cool that Televisa is using your earsets for their telenovelas.

 

But let me suggest that it's a really good idea for manufacturers to be really careful when describing their own and especially competitors' products. I'm not saying there's no difference between Countryman's and PSA's earsets. But Countryman's don't, as you write, "boom across the face."

 

Also, think about how frequently you want to post the same information here. Many (and probably most) of the followers of this group click on the "Unread Content" link so we can easily see all the new posts. I feel like you posted the link to the Televisa piece a couple times. Once is enough. And I think we'd be more interested in comments from a mixer working on one of their shows than comments from a sales manager. Nothing against sales managers, but the thing that would interest me would be information from a person who decided to (or had to) use your earsets for a drama. What led to that decision? Sure, if the info is in a PSA press release, we'll all read it with a careful eye. But we all know how to separate wheat from chaff. At least here, I suggest going for a gentler sell.

 

I mean all this as friendly advice. And I do mean friendly. As I've said, I've used your earsets and they seem decent. And it's great to have manufacturers represented here. But I'm not the boss of this site. Just a user/follower. Others may have a different perspective from me.

Hi Jim,

 

Thank you for providing this input. We'll definitely be mindful to always offer fresh and relevant information. 

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1 hour ago, Jay Rose said:

It’s a terminology thing. Countryman calls their E6 an “Earset”. It has a boom, and a tiny mic element. 
 

Maybe someday AES or SMPTE or CAS will standardize “earset” and ... “cheekset”(?)

 

"Cheekset" Ha! I'm not too hung up on terminology. The E6 boom is what, 3-4 inches / 8-10cm? (Don't want to go measure mine). The E2 boom, after it leaves the ear, is like 1-2in/3-5cm? Not for drama, but doesn't even deeply reach the cheek. And I'm guessing they mean "earset" as in "held in place by one ear." Well, that's enough from me.

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