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I have a production coming up where they are inquiring about color matching the skin tones (a wide variety) with headworn mics.  Current plan is to use DPA 6066 miniture headworn mics.  I am waiting for a call back from DPA service, and I am coordinating with production and MUA.

I thought it would be worth reaching out here and see if the community has experience and suggestions of best practices.  Any makeup to avoid?  Any specific kinds work better than others?

All thoughts are appreciated.

Kelsey

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We do color-matching (painting) of mics all the time in Live Theatre sound - but generally only for lav mics mounted on the head - not so much for "Headset" mics like the 6066. A couple of reasons why:

Firstly, the "headset" style mic is always going to be overtly visible, whatever the color (of course, picking a Beige or Black unit to suit the talent is a start). In fact, quite often the choice to use a 'headset boom' style of mic rather than a head-rigged lav is more for the look.

Secondly - apart from the metal end of the 6000-series capsule - with the lav mics, the cable of the lav can be colored quite easily in a number of ways. The two most popular in 'Broadway' type shows are Copic Markers (a sort of marker used in Graphic Art) and Shoe Paint (the spray-can type used to re-color shoes). Don't use Sharpies - the color isn't stable on the lav cable material and goes purple. With "Headset" mics, the boom is also metal, and in the case of the DPA booms, won't hold Copic marker at all, and Shoe Paint will peel off it in a day or two. You'll get a better result on Headset mic booms by roughing them up with super-fine sandpaper then using TAMA or similar modelling paint intended for metal. Note DPA have just announced white paintable capsule 'caps' or sleeves for the metal capsule end of 6000-series mics - I'm not sure how available these are yet.

I have seen many attempts to use Makeup products to color mics, usually when a Pro Theatre crew used to color-matching finds themselves working on a short-run show with rented mics. No-one I know has ever found a product that stays on in use byt comes off cleanly after.

Of course in Professional Theatre 'running' shows, the mics are an expendable, sold to Production, so coloring them irreversibly is not a problem.

 

If this is a short project or shoot and re-prepping the mics every time they are fitted is acceptable, one trick that might work for you however is eye-liner pencils. You'll never get a smooth coating, but diagonal strokes of an eyeliner color that's darker than the skin, on a headset or cable thats a bit lighter than the skin, can do a good job of breaking up the continuous line of a mic and camouflage it a bit.

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10 hours ago, Wandering Ear said:

I have a production coming up where they are inquiring about color matching the skin tones (a wide variety) with headworn mics.  Current plan is to use DPA 6066 miniture headworn mics.  I am waiting for a call back from DPA service, and I am coordinating with production and MUA.

I thought it would be worth reaching out here and see if the community has experience and suggestions of best practices.  Any makeup to avoid?  Any specific kinds work better than others?

All thoughts are appreciated.

Kelsey

 

DPA have paintable heads for 6066.

Screen Shot 2020-09-15 at 9.38.05 PM.png

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14 hours ago, nickreich said:

We do color-matching (painting) of mics all the time in Live Theatre sound - but generally only for lav mics mounted on the head - not so much for "Headset" mics like the 6066. A couple of reasons why:

Firstly, the "headset" style mic is always going to be overtly visible, whatever the color (of course, picking a Beige or Black unit to suit the talent is a start). In fact, quite often the choice to use a 'headset boom' style of mic rather than a head-rigged lav is more for the look.

Secondly - apart from the metal end of the 6000-series capsule - with the lav mics, the cable of the lav can be colored quite easily in a number of ways. The two most popular in 'Broadway' type shows are Copic Markers (a sort of marker used in Graphic Art) and Shoe Paint (the spray-can type used to re-color shoes). Don't use Sharpies - the color isn't stable on the lav cable material and goes purple. With "Headset" mics, the boom is also metal, and in the case of the DPA booms, won't hold Copic marker at all, and Shoe Paint will peel off it in a day or two. You'll get a better result on Headset mic booms by roughing them up with super-fine sandpaper then using TAMA or similar modelling paint intended for metal. Note DPA have just announced white paintable capsule 'caps' or sleeves for the metal capsule end of 6000-series mics - I'm not sure how available these are yet.

I have seen many attempts to use Makeup products to color mics, usually when a Pro Theatre crew used to color-matching finds themselves working on a short-run show with rented mics. No-one I know has ever found a product that stays on in use byt comes off cleanly after.

Of course in Professional Theatre 'running' shows, the mics are an expendable, sold to Production, so coloring them irreversibly is not a problem.

 

If this is a short project or shoot and re-prepping the mics every time they are fitted is acceptable, one trick that might work for you however is eye-liner pencils. You'll never get a smooth coating, but diagonal strokes of an eyeliner color that's darker than the skin, on a headset or cable thats a bit lighter than the skin, can do a good job of breaking up the continuous line of a mic and camouflage it a bit.

 

Thanks Nick!  Lots of really helpful info here.  Part of me is hoping that once they see the size of the 6066 they will be less worried about color, but I'll be prepared either way.

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