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 http://www.brightandloud.com/microphone-placement/
. 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.