Best way of micing actors


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So i'm doing a musical at a HS and i rigged up some ear hangers for the mics using pieces of hanger, and i was wondering what other people have done to secure mics to actors, and protect the mics from sweat.
As was suggested in the previous post, surgical tape and condoms, however, using condoms in a high school setting may be problematic. If sweat is a problem you might want to try baggies or something akin to that.
agreed. i saw a high school performance wehre they used over the ear boom mics with big wind screens...i thought it looked bad...personaly if I am going to use mics i don't want them to be seen. if you have a chance, speak with your costumer and see if they can quickly sow like a little puch for the pack to the inside of some costumes, that seems to work well when it can be done
Are these temple mics you're using or some sort of lav? Temple mics are designed to be taped directly to the actor's skin without any sort of hanging device. Part of the sound actually comes from the vibrations in the actor's skin opposed to the air.

What kind of baggies would you use, and how would you make that so it wouldnt be ugly?


they are regular lav mics.

Besides the way i contructed them using hangers are there any other ways of doing it?
To clarify, the baggies and condoms are for the bodypack, not the mic element. As far as mounting the mic element goes, you have a couple of options. One popular option is to mount the element over the ear as you described. This can be done with hangers or floral wire (the floral wire is often used to make a loop that fits around the entire ear). Another popular technique is to mount the mic at the center of the forehead with hairpins - this can provide even better sound quality.
For the last production I did we rented a couple Sennheiser broadway series mics and hooked them into our belt packs. Essentially they're a mic about as thin as a couple strands of hair, coloured beige and are stiff with an ear mould that fits pretty snug.

For the rest of the actors the belt pack clipped on the underwear somewhere, usually the bra for girls. The mics were brought up under the costumes, over the ear and taped about 2inches down the cheek, or as close to the mouth as possible before smile lines got in the way.

We used medical tape to secure the mic then a line of beige e-tape over that. We're lucky our Make-up girls were talented, you could barely tell there was anything on the actors' faces unless you were looking for it.

It worked quite well with our Senn mics but the no name ones had too narrow a pickup pattern for good sound at that angle.
i've done that before, i loved the look and output we recieved off of doing that. i think the mic you are refering to is called a pickup element, at least thats what they have been called here.
For one of our shows, we duct taped the pac to the actors thigh...only spot, not my leg hair... and just used the putty stuff that make-up proplr use (im not up to date on that stuff) with a regular lav and took off the clip and the afro and it worked fine, u just gotta make sure that the mic is pointing the right way and about at the chin bone. Weve also done the hair weave with regular lavs, but leave the afro one for this one. Both worked great. But, its always just nice to have a few stage mics going and stuff if something happens you have to mute the lav. As to condoms, etc., on the leg, we just wrapped the pack in plastic wrap. Tape (even surgical tape) didnt work well on the face if the person was moving and dancing and sweaty and stuff on the face...
I heard that if your lavss get sweaty to throw them in a baggie with one of tehose silicon packets, the kind you find in shoe boxes. they are ment to absorb moisture, so just leave one with the mcis overnight and you should be golden
When i was working at Busch Gardens in Florida we used the lavs over the head in the middle of the forhead. Sweat is a problem that happened to us sometimes on stage. When the sweat gets in them it cuts out all of high end. The way to fix that is to take a Compressed Air can and blow from the back for the mic forward creating suction. that worked for us.. always have a spare just in case one happens to go out during a show.

The body packs another gig we used Plastic Gloves.. if the body packs are being shown.. like out on the body not covered by anything i would say have somethig sewn .. hope that helps..

audioslavematt said:
Are these temple mics you're using or some sort of lav? Temple mics are designed to be taped directly to the actor's skin without any sort of hanging device. Part of the sound actually comes from the vibrations in the actor's skin opposed to the air.
Matt, I think somebody's been pulling your leg. The mics used for mounting in the hairline or over the ear are not any different from standard lavalier mics. (The one slight exception being that for budgetary reasons, often larger--and less expensive--mics are used clipped to clothing when visibility doesn't matter, whereas only the smallest models are used for head-mounted applications.)

None of the sound comes from vibrations in the actors' skin; skin isn't a particularly good conductor of sound, as it happens. Depending on where the mic is placed, some sound may be transferred through bone, but these placements are actually considered bad.

In the professional world, mics are rarely if ever attached solely with tape. When mounted in the hairline, mics are generally held in place with bobby pins, wig clips (fitted with small elastic loops to allow attachment to the cable), or elastic headbands, and only taped if necessary to hold the element in place (and with omni mics, this is often more an aesthetic concern than an acoustic one).

When used in an over-the-ear (or "temple") position--which is always considered a secondary option when the center of the forehead placement isn't available, since it doesn't sound quite as good and is much more sensitive to small changes in placement--the cable is attached to some sort of rigid loop that goes over the ear, either a molded plastic or stiff metal loop shaped like the back of the ear (sold for use with IFB earpieces), or a custom fitted loop made with floral wire. Sometimes the two are combined, with the pre-fab ear loop allowing easy attachment to the ear, and the floral wire extending down to the element to allow it to be placed more precisely and floated off the skin to avoid sweat.

Taping is, as a general rule, used to maintain placement (in support of another mounting method), and is never the sole method of attachment. It's one thing to deal with tape sweating off and the placement (and thus tone) of the mic changing slightly; it's another entirely for the tape to sweat off and the mic to fall to the ground or get buried in a costume piece.


UPDATE: For a really great, photo-illustrated guide on rigging mics on actors by a very knowlegeable Las Vegas sound guy, go to I was thrilled when I found this page a while back, because I had been about to do a similar page of my own, and Jason saved me all the work! The one place I'll disagree with Jason is that I hate using Prismacolor markers, because the ink tends to fade very fast; I've found that the Letraset brand of markers, which you can find in most any art supply store (usually right next to the Prismacolors, LOL) is much more resistant to sweat and oil.
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On another note, a great substitute for condoms for protecting the transmitter from sweat are polybags, the small plastic bags used to package things for retail sale. You can get bags of 2 mil. thick polybags in various sizes from for around $8-10 for 1,000. Much cheaper than condoms, no worry about the stigma of condoms, and they slide in and out of spandex mic pouches much more easily.

When using either, though, you need to at a bare minimum seal the top by folding the bag or condom over and taping it shut, or--better in all cases and necessary in some--filling the top with one or two cotton squares (you can buy these in any pharmacy in the cosmetics aisle). With condoms, you can usually just let the elastic hold the cotton in; with bags, it's better to tape it shut to keep everything in place, although if you're putting it into a spandex pouch, sometimes you can work it out so that the strap on the pouch holds the cotton in place, too.

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