Lav mics are a great tool for recording decent dialogue. Here's how to use them.
Lavalier microphones, or "lavs" as the cool kids call them, are an essential piece of sound equipment in filmmaking. When booms would be distracting or visible in the shot, lavs not only let you get a mic nice and close to your subject's mouth but they also allow your subject to go pretty much anywhere they want without requiring a boom operator to follow closely behind.
So, how do you use these things? This video from Creative North shares a handful of helpful tips on how to mount and hide lavs, as well as how to cut down on noise when your subject moves around. Check it out below.
There are several obstacles that can make mic-ing your subject with a lav a little tricky, but here are some tips that might help you out:
- Placement: First, you need to figure out where you're going to put it. If your subject is wearing a jacket with lapels or a tie, it's a piece of cake, but if your subject is wearing a costume that doesn't have a whole lot of hiding places, you're gonna have to get a little creative. Here are some solutions for some particularly troublesome costumes. Also, this.
- Mounting: Okay, you've figured out where you're going to put the thing. Now, how do you do it? The two most common ways to mount a lav is with a lav mount or Topstick, but the triangle tape trick that you saw in the video is a definite winner.
- Reducing noise: Since lavs are nestled in the clothing of your subject or against their body, any movement is going to produce some noise. Make sure that the lav is firmly attached to your subject and isn't wiggling around, otherwise, you're going to hear noise coming from their clothes. You can do this by attaching the lav to both your subject's body and the inside of their clothes.
- Being professional: When touching other people's bodies, it's best not to be a creep. Placing a lav on an actor can be a little awkward and uncomfortable since it requires being in someone's bubble and, quite possibly, reaching under their clothes. Always communicate clearly and professionally with your talent before mic-ing them up to make sure they're comfortable with the process, especially in an interview or non-actor situation.
What are some other tips for placing lav mics on subjects? Let us know down in the comments.