Audio Tricks


When using a lav mic, tie a very loose knot in the wire that will help control the mic from being jerked around if it is pulled on, which can cause the mic to rub across the clothing making a nasty noise.

When using a wireless transmitter in the heat of summer, wrap the transmitter in a non-lubricated condom. It will keep condensation out.

Non-lubricated condoms are also good protection when transporting lenses in sandy or dusty environments.

from: Eric J. Smith
Director/Director of Photography
Puritan Films

from: Stephen Press

I was sent to shoot a story on underwater hockey. If I had been given notice I could have gotten an underwater housing but as this is news and they've only known about it for two days before* so the pool had a maintenance tunnel around it and by removing a light I could shoot into the pool as if I was underwater, but how to get the sound?

Take a lapel mic. Put it inside a balloon and inflate slightly. Gaffer tape balloon tightly closed. Gaffer a weight to the cable under the balloon and lower into the pool. Works unbelievably well, though the level is high as the water amplifies the sound.

From: Mike Sellers, KPLC-TV
[April 29, 2002]

I don't have a windscreen for my lav, but a photog from KLFY showed me a trick once that works just as well, if not better.

If your subject is wearing a shirt that has a button front (regular button-down or polo), clip the lav with the mic between the fabric. Placement of the subject helps as well, but its a great trick, and doesn't look bad either.

I'm not sure how well this works with the small wireless lavs, but it works fine with my hardwire lav.

From: J.D Dworkin WPIX-11 NY
[February 16, 2002]

Need a little bit of extra nat sound but your station doesn't have good mic equipment? Try this trick and see what happens.

Go to your nearest water cooler and take a few of those cone cups. Cut the cone tip off the bottom of one. Take your simple little lav mic and put it inside the hole. Now... role. Yep, your done. An extra bit of ambient sound for the nat sound of a packages. It is cheap, easy and doesn't hurt your back when you carry it around. It will pick up almost everything too.

If your out in the field and have access to one of those orange cones for construction, well, that works even better! Take your larger microphone and put it in the hole. All you have to do is aim it to the direction you want to pick up sound. You will be amazed at what you get. Have fun!!!!!

From: Kevin Foristal
[July 16, 2001]

Just got done doing a special report. I found that the siren wasn't loud enough for the effect I needed as it was recorded with me inside the car. I had a buddy of mine trhat is an officer turn on his siren and let me record it. Turn down the high EQ half way on your audio mixer in post. Sound like it was done seamlessly.

[From: Jim Travers WBTV]

I have had great luck recently using my DVCPRO D700 as an audio mixer while doing live shots.  Just have an engineer (or anyone who knows the secret handshake) go into the internal menu and set your audio output to the "mix" setting.  That sends both channel 1 and 2 to the audio out on the back of the camera.  Plug your audio cable into that jack.  This is a LINE OUT so you have to make sure you're not plugged into a MIC IN on the live truck.

Then just plug your talent mic into your camera channel one and your second audio source into channel two.  Your audio controls on the side of the camera act as the mixer.  This works particularly well during elections when you have someone speaking at a podium behind a live shot.  You can just pot up their mic and pot down the reporters.  The added bonus is you can record every! ! thing off the podium because all the audio is running through the camera.

[From: Jim Friedman NBC 10, Philadelphia, Pa]

When you need that audio of cockpit chit-chat and you can't plug in to their system, try this. Take the passenger headset and remove the earmuff pad from one side of the headset. Place your lav mic head between the foam and the speaker. Tape the lav head to the speaker. Put the padded ring back on to the headset. Press both earmuffs together and wrap gaff tape around the headset to squeeze it together. I never had a problem with this method plus the pilot will be glad when you don't have to "tamper" with his comm system.

[From: Clint Smith, KTAL - TV]

When shooting a Marijuanna eredication once, I had to have shots from the helicopter that I was ridding in. I felt that I needed to have shots of the side of the aircraft, to tell the whole story. But with the flimsy little wind screen that is supplied with the nat mic on my camera, I knew that wind noise was gonna be a problem. To cure this problem I took a finger off of a latex rubber glove in the first aid kit in the N.A.V (News Assault Vehicle).

1) Remove your wind screen on your nat mic.

2) take the finger and roll it on your mic like a condom. Really make sure that the end is tight!

3) place a rubber band over the mic securing the latex.

4)replace your windscreen. It works really good until you hit about 65 knots, but hey just regular 15 -20 mph wind is never a problem again!

Dan Fitzgerald adds that non lubricated condoms work very well at waterproofing almost any stick microphone without much loss of quality.

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