Sweating profusely, you walk up an unsuspecting young lady that is about to be interviewed on camera. "Can I, uh, run this microphone up your shirt, miss?"
I'll be honest, I have totally been in this position. As an industrious, yet incredibly awkward film student a few years back, I helped out on a small local corporate shoot, mostly carrying equipment and such, but also doing whatever else was asked of me. I was told to go mic up the talent, a woman in her mid 40s, and I totally botched it. Not only had I never used those particular wireless lav mics before, but I minced my words and said something stupid along the lines of, "I'm pretty sure I need to put this up your shirt." I'll never forget the look that she gave me, a look which conveyed total confusion, as well as distinct sense of, "If you touch me, I will destroy you."
If only I had seen this handy video from The Location Crew prior to that experience.
Now, this kind of thing is rarely an issue in narrative filmmaking because actors tend to be used to all of the odd technical tidbits (like getting mic'd up) that come with the territory. However, if you're working in documentary or corporate production, where the on-camera talent are mostly average folks who are unaware of the technicalities of gathering audio, you will almost certainly want to go out of your way to make them feel comfortable and explain what you're doing. Otherwise, you might end up pulling a Robert Hardy and making an ass of yourself.
This video was an excerpt from The Location Crew's Camera Audio Simplified online course, which you can purchase through Vimeo On Demand for $150.
What are some of your tips and tricks for getting people mic'd up and avoiding potentially awkward situations? Let us know down in the comments!