Mic'ing people up with lavs can be super tricky if you don't know all the good hiding places.
Placing lav mics is a friggin' art form. Am I right or am I right?
Veteran filmmakers know...if you're working with lavs, finding a good place to hide the thing without sacrificing audio quality can be kind of challenging, especially when your talent's clothes aren't doing you any favors.
But in this video, Darious Britt of D4Darious shows you a bunch of clever places you can hide a lav on your actors, as well as a few tricks to keep your audio nice and clean. Check it out below:
Now that you've seen the video and all of the sneaky places you can hide a lav, let's get down to the nitty-gritty.
Fact is, there are a few things working against you when dealing with lavs.
- Your lav rubbing up against clothes and making unwanted noise
- Your lav's cable being handled and making unwanted noise
- Your lav not having a good place to be...placed.
Luckily, Britt shares tips on how to deal with all of that stuff.
Get Some Sticky Stuff
Unless you're using your lav mic's clip, you'll want to get your hands on some tape. You can use gaff tape, medical tape, or whichever kind of tape doesn't leave a residue. (You don't want to gunk up your mic or your talent, y'all.) You can also grab the toupée-wearer favorite, Topstick, which is essentially double-sided tape that plays nice with your skin. Oh, also...Britt recommends rubbing down the area with alcohol wipes to remove any oil or residue from your talent's skin...your sticky stuff will stay sticky longer.
Dealing with Your Lav's Cable
This thing is life-giving...your mic won't work without it...but it can also create some unwanted noise if it's messed with too much. Solution? Create what's called a "strain relief" loop. Just put a loop in your cable (don't pull it too tight), and that will cut down on noise from friction and vibrations.
Make sure to also secure your cable and tape it down as needed.
How to Apply Lavs
Okay, so you got your sticky stuff. Are you just gonna rip off a big ol' slab o' tape and smash it into the hair on your talent's chest? Please, no. There are easier, more humane ways to apply your lavs. You can make the "gaff tape football sandwiches" that you saw in the video, you can use double-sided tape/stickies, or pretty much any combination you like. Moleskin Pads, which are used for corns and calluses on your feet, are also great for not only sticking lavs to your talent but cutting down on noise interference from clothes. Rycote Undercovers also help with this.
If you want to learn more basics of using lav mics, check out some of our other posts that share some essential tips. And if you want some more ideas on where to hide lavs, we've got lots and lots of others.