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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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