May 22, 2018

4 Nifty Techniques for Hiding Lav Mics on Your Subjects

As a filmmaker, knowing how to hide a lav on a subject is an absolute must.

In many cases, having a boom operator follow your actors around with a mic is an excellent way to pick up dialogue, but if for some reason a boom won't work (like, if you want to record audio in a wide shot), a lav mic most likely will. The tricky thing about that, though, is while boom mics are kept out of the frame, lavs infiltrate the cinematic stage, so concealing them becomes a top priority. If you're not quite sure how to get your troops behind enemy lines undetected, you should check out this video in which Robbie Janney of Shutterstock Tutorials goes over four methods for hiding lav mics on your subject. 

Janney talks about four different methods for placing a lav mic on your subject, and if you've ever dealt with audio on professional projects before, you're probably familiar with at least a couple of them. You can place them:

  • Under the inseam of your subject's shirt near their collarbone
  • Under the collar of their shirt (if they have one)
  • Against your subject's chest
  • At the top of their ear

Of course, knowing where to put the mic is only half the battle; you also have to know where to put the receiver and how to feed the wire through your subject's clothing. Most of the time you can get away with putting the receiver in one of the pockets of your subject's wardrobe, but if they don't have pockets, like if they're wearing a dress or some sexy ass Speedos, you can wrap the receiver around their leg or ankle with some gauze or medical tape, provided that they won't be doing a 100-yard dash in the scene.

What are some other methods for hiding lav mics on subjects? What's the most difficult costume to hide a lav on and how did you manage to get it done? Let us know down below.      

Your Comment

2 Comments

The major problem with placing the lav off center (in the collar or in the collarbone area) of the subject's center line is the wildly varying audio levels as they gesticulate or turn their head. It's not just a level change but a tonal one as well. (The ear placement doesn't have this problem as the mic turns with their head). The other thing to watch for the collarbone area is bone conductance with the lav touching the actual collarbone/clavicle. Always try to get the mic centered on the subject and below the pit of the neck and above the solar plexus. Right in the middle of the sternum always sound best to me as you get a good mix of mouth sound and chest sound.

May 23, 2018 at 11:24AM

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Agreed. Mic placement should consider sound quality first and foremost.

May 26, 2018 at 11:17AM

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Eric Darling
Director and DP
91

Great tips. I Also like tucking it into the knot of a tie for corporate interviews.

May 27, 2018 at 8:28PM

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