How To Put A Microphone On Talent

Your project will look better the moment it sounds better! Learn to use lavaliers correctly as well as tools for the job
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  • Lectures 55
  • Contents Video: 2 hours
    Other: 5 mins
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
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About This Course

Published 3/2014 English

Course Description

YOUR PROJECT DESERVES GREAT SOUND!

You’ve got the script, you’ve got the camera guy, you’ve even got the actors...

You want great sound because your project will look better the second it sounds better. Learn to use lavaliers the right way by learning tips the pros know. You might be surprised; a simple adjustment in your technique could save you hours in post-production!


Features:

Over 150 pages of information on how to capture better sound on your next project Step by step videos broken down by talent’s wardrobe

Learn about the different sound qualities between a shotgun microphone and a lavalier Learn set etiquette

Get acquainted with the tools you will need to get the job done right and how to use them effectively


You Want to Get the Job Done Right!

Video Mantis’: Down to the Wire Author and Professional Sound Guy Thomas Popp, gives you an in-depth, comprehensive look at using lavaliers in a professional and practical way to achieve the highest quality sound you can get on your project.

Thomas’ detailed examples and meticulous instruction coupled with step-by-step videos** provide the reader with clear and concise visual demonstrations set up for an easy user experience and visual hands-on technique duplication.


Who is Down to the Wire For?

If you are barely starting your career in production, or are a seasoned sound professional who is eager to learn some tips and tricks, Down to the Wire is for you.

Use it as a book you read and reference, or as a quick go-to guide if you get caught thinking twice about how to wire a specific wardrobe.

By the end of Down to the Wire you will feel confident in your ability to capture high quality sound by proper mic placement by scenario. The various examples of production tools, techniques, photos, and videos make for a detailed approach into teaching you how to wire with ease. The sound on your production just got a little clearer.

What People are Saying:

"I have worked as a production sound mixer for over 40 years and this is the most comprehensive and engaging tutorial I have ever encountered --- this is a must read for anyone working in our industry and having to place lavaliere microphones (and that is just about everyone who needs to record sound for picture in today's world). It is actually so much more and I am surprised by how much I learned from reading this book. For the new person just starting out, there is a wealth of valuable information regarding set etiquette, work ethic and responsibility, lessons which if learned early enough will go a long way towards having a successful career in sound. It's a great read!" - Jeff Wexler

"This book is an excellent resource for any location sound professional. In an industry in which the right way to do something is 'the way that works', learning another professional's perspective is simply invaluable.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and so too are the great videos in this iBook. You'll get to see what Thomas is doing up close, and the very first time on location that one of his tips saves you and allows you to record flawless sound, the book has paid for itself." - drumteacher

"A must have for the up and coming sound recordist and veteran alike! This ibook contains valuable tips and ticks that are only learned from an industry professional with veteran experience. In depth discussion of professional etiquette for wiring actors and cast members, techniques on how to be prepared for fast paced shoots, multiple techniques for hiding noise free lavaliere mics on a variety of wardrobe, mic placement and, and overall perspective of how to acquire clean production sound!" - Audio Rob

Social media and technology have simplified, improved and increased creativity in our projects, but many have done so while sacrificing the quality of sound. Do not be the next filmmaker with a great vision to be disappointed with the quality of your production’s sound. It is NOT ENOUGH to have great video footage without having quality sound!


Learn to Wire Talent Like the Pros will improve the quality of your production sound by teaching you tips the pros know. Learn how to use lavaliers in a professional manner, improve your etiquette skills, and watch video demonstrations of how to wire talent to increase the quality of your audio.


Do NOT be fooled into thinking your camera’s internal mic will give you the quality of sound your production deserves.

So, let’s get Down to the Wire and start recording GREAT sound right from the start!

What are the requirements?

  • This course is meant to be used as a reference from time to time. It has many different recommendations on products and wiring accessories to purchase. A Humble and Positive Attitude is all that is needed!

What am I going to get from this course?

  • By the end of the course, you will be able to confidently wire any talent that you come across with minimal effort and the best results, which translates to better quality tracks.
  • The course will also teach set etiquette when dealing with talent.

What is the target audience?

  • This course is meant for anyone who wants to learn more about Production Sound. It focuses on how to wire talent with lavalier microphones, an unappreciated art and skill. Any Sound Engineer can learn from the techniques available in this book. This book is most useful for camera operators and producers who have to operate camera and sound at the same time. If your production's budget is not big enough to hire a sound professional, then you NEED this book to help understand one of the most important skills you can acquire to improve your audio. This book will give you techniques to help achieve higher quality audio tracks for your production.

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.

Curriculum

Section 1: A Note From The "Sound Guy"
02:24

Welcome to the course "How to Put A Microphone on Talent". In this video, Thomas Popp will go over the outline of the course.

Section 2: Lavaliers
02:19

Learn some of the reasons why using Lavaliers is useful in production.

04:02

Lets go over the anatomy of a lavalier in detail.

Section 3: Why Do We Need Lavaliers?
04:03

Lets discuss why lavaliers are important.

Section 4: Scenarios
04:06

Lets discuss the different jobs and scenarios where using lavaliers is important.

Section 5: Standing Ground
Article

When should you use a boom? How about a Lavalier? Find out here!

03:21

Lets talk about camera and audio perspective.

Section 6: Wiring Etiquette
08:47

Lets discuss proper wiring etiquette.

04:39

Here are some more tips on Wiring Etiquette

Section 7: That's A Wrap!
04:11

Lets talk about the transitions that happen during the day and how it applies to wireless systems.

Section 8: Tape, Tape, and More Tape!
13:09

We use tape on a daily basis. Learn what kinds you should put in your kit!

Section 9: Accessories
12:32

Lets discuss the different micing accessories that will help you get the job done!

Section 10: Windy Situations
06:44

Wind can destroy your sound track. Learn about some of the wind protection options for lavaliers.

Section 11: Down To The Wire
12:08

Lets get Down to the Wire and learn some basic techniques when wiring talent!

Section 12: Interviews
02:23

Lets discuss how lavaliers apply to interviews.

00:28

Let's discuss how to properly use a microphone clip.

Section 13: Wiring Men
03:53

Lets discuss the basics of wiring men.

Section 14: T-Shirts
00:34

TRANSPORE

Tear off a piece of Transpore (2” piece)

Place the Transpore on the lavalier just below the diaphragm of the mic Adhere the lavalier to the skin just above the So babylar Plexus


Place a strain relief on the side of the body

00:56

Moleskin helps to isolate clothing from the lavalier.Its soft material acts as a barrier between the lavalier and the clothing.

Cut two pieces of Moleskin (1/2 inch x 1 inch)

Stick the Moleskin on to the lavalier just below the diaphragm

Attach the Lavalier on top of the soft (non-sticky) side of the second piece of Moleskin

Adhere the Lavalier to the skin just above the solar plexus

Place a strain relief on the side of the body

Do not make the cable tight!

If you do, If the talent stretches or makes big movements, the strain relief and/or the lavalier will be pulled right off.

00:49

UNDERCOVERS

Undercovers offer a quicker wiring solution than moleskin, as they come pre-cut. You may also use these to serve as a barrier between the lav and the clothing.

Place a lavalier near the top portion of a Sticky
Take an Undercover/Overcover and place over the lavalier onto the Sticky Squeeze around the lavalier gently to ensure the Undercover is firmly in place Peel off the backside of the Sticky
Adhere the lavalier to the skin just above the solar plexus
Place a strain relief below the Sticky at the neck of the cable

Place a strain relief on the side of the body

00:42

Bunion Cushions are incredible when it comes to sweaty skin because the adhesive is much stronger than on any of the alternatives.

Requires: 2 whole Bunion Cushions

Cut one Bunion Cushion in half horizontally to make two smaller pieces
Place the lavalier on top of the whole Bunion Cushion
Place the sticky side of one half cut Bunion Cushion on top of the lavalier just below the diaphragm and onto a separate whole Bunion Cushion
Peel the backing off of the whole Bunion Cushion and adhere to the skin just above the solar plexus

Make your strain relief and adhere it to the side that will be facing away from the camera. In this case, you can use the other half of the Bunion Cushion that you cut instead of Moleskin as a strain relief if the talent also tends to sweat on their side.

01:14

Lav-Straps offer a non-adhesive solution for wiring talent that may be sweaty and active in a scene.

Thread the lavalier inside of the Lav-Strap past the body of the mic
Cut off an extremely small piece of Joe’s Sticky StuffWrap the Joe’s Sticky Stuff around the capsule of the microphone on the middle of the body of the lavalier
Pull the cable of the lavalier until the Joe’s Sticky Stuff starts getting pulled into the Lav-Strap
Position the microphone so the diaphragm is peeking out of the Lav-Strap Gently squeeze the Lav-Strap around the body of the lavalier
Wrap and connect the Lav-Strap around the talent
Position the lavalier to the front of the chest

Thread the cable into the strap for a strain relief

01:12

Using moleskin as a backing on a Lav-Strap works extremely well when wiring talent with hairy chests because it acts as a barrier between the hairs and the capsule.

Cut a piece of Moleskin into an rectangle 1” wide and 1 1/2” inch long

Peel the backing offFold the Moleskin over on top of itself, leaving a 1/2” lip

Trim the sides of the Moleskin to make sure there are no sticky sides

Adhere the lip to the back side of the Lav-Strap, allowing the Moleskin to peek over the top of the strap about 1/2”

Wrap and connect the Lav-Strap around the talent

Position the lavalier to the front of the chest

01:00

The collar mic is a great option when shirts are extremely tight or thin and you might risk seeing the impression of the lavalier underneath the clothing.

Using a Lav-Bullet, Drop the cable down the actor’s back
Pull enough slack up so the lavalier can rest directly below the neck of the talent Adhere the lavalier horizontally to the inside center of the collar

Tape small strain reliefs every few inches to ensure the cable stays along the run of the collar

00:41

Instead of using Moleskin, try preparing a vampire clip. Attach it horizontally to the center of the collar and apply strain relief just like the previous example. Be careful of the collar sticking out obtrusively.

00:34

This micing technique must be approved by wardrobe before you begin. It involves cutting a small hole in the actor’s wardrobe. It will also only work with very small capsule lavaliers. Do your best to assure the wardrobe department that this wiring technique is minimally invasive to the wardrobe and the lavalier will never be seen, and work with them to hide it.

Have Wardrobe cut a small hole in the back of the collar from the inside of the neckline that is small enough for the head of the lavalier to poke through

Feed the lavalier into the shirt until the head of the lavalier is near the neck line
Put a piece of Transpore on the back of the collar where the lav is snuck into the shirt. This will keep the lav from sliding back out of the collar

This technique should be considered a last resort for when you are running out of other options. This type of wiring also requires an in depth setup that is more easily done with the wardrobe off of the talent. Have this wiring technique finished before talent arrives.

Section 15: Sweaters
00:47

One quick way that may work, depending on the sweater, is to hide the lavalier in plain sight. If you are using the subminiature lavaliers that are extremely small (compared to normal sized lavaliers), you can sometimes hide them right out in the open without any issues. Just be careful with wind noise on the capsule!

Gently poke the lavalier directly through the woven material at chest level

Tape underneath the sweater with transpore to keep it from coming out more or slipping back inside

Section 16: Collared Shirts
01:41

Place a lavalier near the top portion of a Sticky

Take an Undercover/Overcover and place over the lavalier onto the Sticky Squeeze around the lavalier gently to ensure the Undercover/Overcover is firmly in place
Peel off the backside of the Sticky
Adhere a Stick It! Dot to the Sticky
Using scissors, trim the Overcover to make it rectangular
Peel the Stick It! Dot and adhere it horizontally in the “V” of the shirt, below the buttons

00:28

Cut a small piece of Joe’s Sticky Stuff (about a 1/2 a centimeter)

Wrap the adhesive around the lavalier below the diaphragm
Using a Lav-Bullet, drop the connector of the lavalier down the shirt
Adhere the lavalier horizontally in the “V” of the shirt, below the buttons Gently squeeze the shirt around the lavalier to allow the Joe’s Sticky Stuff to adhere securely to the shirt
Tape your strain relief to the shirt on the side of the actor facing away from camera

Remember, sometimes less is more. Joe’s Sticky Stuff will keep the lavalier in place and will help if you see bulging in the “V” section of the shirt.

Section 17: Dress Shirts
01:06

If you have a subminiature lavalier, you may be able to peek the microphone out of a button hole. The lav is so small that it will be practically invisible. Make sure that you use a lavalier thats color is identical to the color of the button, or else it will be noticeable.

Unbutton the third button down from the top of the shirt
Using a Lav-Bullet, drop the connector of the lav down the shirt
Feed the lavalier through the button hole
Adhere a small piece of Joe’s Sticky Stuff (about the size of a pencil tip), to the lavalier below the diaphragm
Button the shirt back up, keeping the lavalier sticking out of the button hole Gently pull the cable of the lavalier from inside the shirt. This will make the head of the mic start traveling back towards the button hole
Stop pulling just as the lavalier sneaks behind the button
Gently squeeze the shirt and button together so Joe’s Sticky Stuff will adhere to the back of the button
Apply strain relief behind the button hole to keep the lavalier from slipping inside of the shirt
Apply an additional strain relief on the inside of the shirt at the bottom, near the belly button

01:23

Take two pieces of Moleskin (1/2 inch x 1 inch) and sandwich the lavalier between them

Using a Lav-Bullet, drop the connector of the lavalier down the shirt
Adhere the lavalier horizontally inside the dress shirt just below the third button, facing out of the shirt

01:22

Make sure to use an Overcover that matches the color of the shirt as best as possible. Darker colored shirts work well with black Overcovers because they do not make your eyes focus on them. Only use white Overcovers when the talent is wearing a white shirt.

Place a lavalier near the top portion of a Sticky

Take an Overcover and place over the lavalier onto the Sticky

Squeeze around the lavalier gently to ensure the Undercover/Overcover is firmly in place

Peel off the backside of the Sticky

Adhere a Stick It! Dot to the Sticky

Adhere the lavalier horizontally inside the dress shirt just below the third button, facing out of the shirt

Section 18: Ties
00:54

From the front portion of the tie, feed the connector through the bottom of the knot to the top

Pull on the connector in order to feed the cable through, until the lavalier slips inside of the knot

Feed the connector underneath the neck of the tie. Continue to pull on the connecter, as before, to pull all of the slack through. Be careful not to pull the lavalier out of the knot

Tuck the cable around the collar to the back of the neck

Place a piece of Transpore on the cable and adhere it to the talent’s back a few inches below the collar

00:49

Wiring a loose tie can be a little bit discouraging, mainly because the knot is dropped down exposing the shirt behind it. This makes it a lot more difficult to wire properly while keeping the mic hidden.

From the front portion of the tie, feed the connector through the bottom of the knot to the top

Slip the connector through the top section of the tie going left

Bring the cable to the back left side of the tie

Tape a strain relief on the back of the tie using Transpore

Using a Lav-Bullet, take the wire and drop it down the front of the shirt behind the buttons

Make sure there is a little bit of slack in the cable that can “give,” to enable the tie be able to move.

Section 19: Wiring Women
02:35

Lets discuss the basics of wiring women.

Section 20: On The Skin
01:07

Take two pieces of Moleskin (1/2 inch x 1 inch)

Stick the Moleskin on to the lavalier just below the diaphragm
Attach the lavalier on top of the soft (non-sticky) side of the second piece of Moleskin Adhere it to the skin in the cleavage
Using Moleskin, adhere a strain relief to the side of the body

01:11

Place a lavalier near the top portion of a Sticky

Take an Undercover and place over the lavalier onto the Sticky Squeeze around the lavalier gently to ensure the Undercover is firmly in place Peel off the backside of the Sticky
Adhere the lavalier to the skin in the cleavage
Using Moleskin, place a strain relief below the Sticky at the neck of the cable Place a strain relief on the side of the body

00:57

Just like Moleskin, use this tape if it is hot outside and you are working with sweaty actors. Make sure the talent are dry before you put it on their skin.

Rip two pieces of Nexcare Tape (1/2 inch x 1 inch)

Stick one piece of Nexcare Tape on to the lavalier just below the diaphragm Attach the lavalier on top of the non-sticky side of the second piece of Nexcare Attach to the lavalier right below the diaphragm

Adhere it to the skin above the breasts in the cleavage

Make a strain relief for the cable

01:13

Requires: 2 Bunion Cushions

Cut one Bunion Cushion in half horizontally to make two smaller pieces Place the lavalier on top of the whole Bunion Cushion

Place the sticky side of the cut Bunion Cushion on top of the lavalier just below the diaphragm and onto the separate whole Bunion Cushion

Peel the backing off of the whole Bunion Cushion and adhere to the skin in the cleavage

Apply a strain relief to the cable

Section 21: On The Bra
01:12

Place the lavalier near the top portion of a Sticky

Take an Undercover/Overcover and place over the lavalier onto the Sticky Squeeze around the lavalier gently to ensure the Undercover/Overcover is firmly in place

Peel off the backside of the Sticky

Adhere a Stick It! Dot to the Sticky

Peel the Stick It! Dot and adhere it to bra between the cups

00:36

These clips work great for quick wiring. Make sure that the pins do not touch the talent’s skin though; they will bite!

Insert the lavalier through the tube of the vampire clip
Push gently to ensure there is tension between the lav and the tube Clip the lavalier to the bra between the cups
Tuck the cable underneath the bra for a strain relief

Section 22: Sweaters
00:55

Moleskin

Try taping the lavalier to the inside of the sweater using a using a color that will not show through the sweater.

Take two pieces of Moleskin (1/2 inch x 1 inch)
Stick the Moleskin on to the lavalier just below the diaphragm
Attach the lavalier on top of the soft (non-sticky) side of the second piece of Moleskin Adhere it to the sweater

00:31

These clips work great for quick wiring. Make sure that the pins do not touch the talent’s skin though; they will bite!

Insert the lavalier through the tube of the vampire clip

Push gently to ensure there is tension between the lav and the tube

Clip the lavalier to the bra between the cups

Tuck the cable underneath the bra for a strain relief

01:17

Just like Moleskin, use an Overcover that has a matching color to the wardrobe as best as possible. Darker colored wardrobes almost always work well with black Overcovers because the eye does not focus on the difference in color.

Place a lavalier near the top portion of a Sticky
Take an Undercover/Overcover and place over the lavalier onto the Sticky Squeeze around the lavalier gently to ensure the Undercover/Overcover is firmly in place
Peel off the backside of the Sticky
Adhere a Stick It! Dot to the Sticky
Peel the Stick It! Dot and adhere it to the sweater just above the cleavage Apply a proper strain relief for the cable

Section 23: Dresses
00:23

Try using a Lav-Rod to assist in feeding the cable through a dress. It is less invasive than manually feeding a wire through, and can be done in seconds rather than minutes.

Attach the connector of the lavalier to the Lav-Rod

From the top of the outfit, push the Lav-Rod down through the clothes, traveling towards the bottom of the dress

Disconnect the lavalier from the Lav-Rod and hold the connector of the lavalier while the talent pulls the Lav-Rod back up through the outfit

01:01

Place a lavalier near the top portion of a Sticky

Take an Undercover/Overcover and place over the lavalier onto the Sticky

Squeeze around the lavalier gently to ensure the Overcover is firmly in place

Peel off the backside of the Sticky

Adhere a Stick It! Dot to the Sticky

Peel the Stick It! Dot and adhere it to the dress in the cleavage

00:21

Insert the lavalier through the tube of the vampire clip

Push gently to ensure there is tension between the lav and the tube

Clip the lavalier to to the dress in the cleavage

Be careful with wind noise on lavaliers in dresses. Because the lavalier is more out in the open than in other wardrobes, it is susceptible to more wind noise. Knowing this, it may be wise to attach a windscreen to the lavalier before wiring the actress. This way you will not have to bother the actress again to put wind protection on.

00:13

Make sure that you do not have a “cable vein” going across the stomach by moving the cable to one side or the other. If you do see a cable vein, “floss” the cable back and forth a little bit getting it to go to the side of the actress. This is best to do before you attach the head of the lavalier. You may ask the actress to assist you in this process.

Section 24: Hiding The Pack
06:39

Now that you know how to hide the wire, learn how to hide the pack too!

Section 25: Plant Microphones
Article

Let's talk about Plant Mics!

00:15

Ok, this isn't a huge teaching aid, but more of something I did when I was extremely tired! However, it does prove the point that you can hide plant microphones everywhere!

Article

Lavaliers are also great choices for Car Rigs. Lets discuss how to rig a car with lavaliers.

01:36

Microphone placement is an essential skill that will be exercised each and every time you plant a microphone. Make sure that when planting a lavalier, you position it to stay on axis if the talent turns his or her head towards other actors in the car. If possible, make sure that the windows are rolled up to remove wind noise from being a factor.

Section 26: Taking Care of Your Lavaliers
03:58

Learn how to make your lavaliers stay looking as good as the day you bought them!

Section 27: Final Thoughts
02:46

All good things come to an end! However, you have one more lesson to learn!

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Instructor Biography

Thomas Popp, Production Sound Mixer

Thomas Popp has a degree in Recording Arts and Sciences and has worked on countless Television Shows, Movies, Commercials, and Music Videos. He is also a Representative for the popular audio equipment manufacturer, Zaxcom, Inc. He has educated many students about the theories and techniques of Production Sound, which also includes traveling to China to teach a masters class on Digital Wireless Technology.

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