October 15, 2017

Watch: How to Make Your Boom Mic Disappear Using a Little Magic in Post

The boom mic got in the shot again? But that was the best take!

We're all familiar with the frustration of getting a great performance from your actors only to find out later that, damn it, they boom got in the shot! It's so aggrivating, because everything else about the take—the timing, the delivery, the camera movement and focus—was absolutely perfect, but your stupid boom mic just had to dip down into the top of the frame and ruin everything.

But don't despair, because you might actually be able to salvage an otherwise unusable shot afterall. In this video, filmmaker and former executive producer of Indy Mogul Griffin Hammond shows you a really easy post-production technique that will allow you to not only hide boom mics that float into the frame, but to also purposefully put your mic in the shot, right next to your actor, for better quality sound. Check it out below:

Many of you might be familiar with this technique already and have used it for quick and easy VFX gags. However, as Hammond demonstrates in the video, it can totally be used for more practical cinematic applications as well. 

All you have to do is go into your NLE, stack a duplicate of your clip on top of the original in the timeline, find a section of the duplicate that doesn't contain the boom mic, and then draw a mask around the offending mic in the original. You can also add some feathering if you need to hide any visible seams.

The thing is—it may not work as well or as easily with a moving frame. If there's a lot of camera/subject movement in your shot, you're going to have to go through the whole keyframe/mapping rigmarole, and that's only if this technique is even doable. However, if you captured your shot on a steady tripod, you can perform this little trick work without a whole lot of work. Hell, you can even put your sound recordist right in the frame for better audio quality if you want.

And there you go—a quick tip that could help you make pesky mics disappear in an otherwise perfect shot!      

Your Comment

6 Comments

Great technique, particularly for interviews, and wonderful that you can do this entirely in Premiere these days. For more complex shots you can still usually salvage them, though with a lot more effort, using projection mapping techniques in AE. WrenTheReaper's old tutorial is still my favourite technique for doing this. I end up doing projection mapping and tracked matte paintings all the time to correct for errors during shoots. Preferably you always want this to be 100% in camera when you can, but it's good to have these tools in your belt for when things go wrong.

October 15, 2017 at 9:49PM

1
Reply
avatar
Jeffrey Hepburn
Director/Editor
18

Be aware of the weather too. On the first test with the outside sun, the shadow may move over the sho and could can also change this small windows you want to hide.

October 15, 2017 at 10:26PM

0
Reply
avatar
visionrouge.com
DoP freelance cameraman 4K HK & Shanghai.
79

Funny and awesome video.
This really saves some lives.

Thanks.

October 16, 2017 at 3:02AM, Edited October 16, 3:02AM

0
Reply
avatar
Sameir Ali
Director of Photography
694

Why is he using a shotgun mic interior?

October 16, 2017 at 3:44AM

2
Reply
Zim
8

Because most of these youtube people don't seem to realize there are different mics for different situations.

October 16, 2017 at 9:44AM

0
Reply

Higher end shotgun mics pickup little reflected sound so they can be used indoors when you want to isolate your subject from the ambient room noise. Griffin is using a Rode NTG-3 shotgun which is not a bad when used indoors. ( I own this mic and a Sanken CS-1e short-shotgun mic that is specifically designed for indoor use )

October 16, 2017 at 10:16AM

0
Reply
Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32153