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Mics and Makeup

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by DavidDaMonkey, Aug 3, 2008.

  1. DavidDaMonkey

    DavidDaMonkey Active Member

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    I will soon be starting tech week for a youth theater production with full stage makeup on some of the actors. Do you have any tips on how to make sure they don't get any makeup on the mic element? The mic will be run along the cheek and taped to the face. I always have actors put the mic on before makeup, but with this much stage makeup, I'm worried about ruining the element. Also, will the makeup easily wash off of the cable? Is it a simple matter of wrapping some mic tape around the element while they put on the makeup, or should I have the mic go on after the makeup?
     
  2. Dillon

    Dillon Active Member

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    You may have difficulty getting mic tape to stick to the face after makeup has been applied. I'd opt for mic first, makeup second.

    That being said, consider the following:
    - DO protect the mic element while makeup is being applied. Sennheiser ships little red plastic caps along with their MKE elements for this exact purpose. A piece of tape could accomplish the same.
    - Whether or not makeup will come off the cable depends on both the type of makeup and the type and initial color of the plastic cable sheath. Test it out on a small swatch if you are that concerned.
    - You can always do the bulk of the makeup, leaving a small area clear for the mic to be mounted on, then fill in around. This may make life easier for you.
     
  3. jkowtko

    jkowtko Active Member

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    If these kids have hair, I could consider using wig clips instead and clip it over their hair.

    We did this for Mulan Jr a few weeks ago. The mic cords were somewhat visible (since we didn't take the time to hide them under the hair), but it made it easy to mount the mics last, no unsightly cords on the face, and no tape on the mic cord.

    And, if your mic cords are black, it will hide better even on top of the haif than over skin.

    And, forehead mount generally sounds better than side mount :)
     
  4. DaveySimps

    DaveySimps CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I agree with previous posts, some method of protecting the mic element is a must, even if it is just tape (it will do the job). I would strongly consider running the mic in the hairline, as previously suggested. Look at some of the sticky posts in the Sound area on CB, there are some great suggestions on how to do so. I would caution against allowing mics to be used before hairspray is applied to hair. That can be horrible on the mic element.

    ~Dave
     
  5. DavidDaMonkey

    DavidDaMonkey Active Member

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    Does it sound better even when the actor is fairly quiet? Anytime I've had to mount the mic not right near a quiet actors mouth, I usually have trouble getting good sound out of it because I have to crank it up so much. I usually start to get a little pre-feedback ringing.
     
  6. Eboy87

    Eboy87 Well-Known Member

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    Agreed on that. Watch out for sweat as well. Makes the talent sound like they're singing in a pool.
     
  7. Sayen

    Sayen Active Member

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    In addition to protecting the element, can you spend time with the cast teaching them how to use a mic? I see a number of well meaning performers who just don't know better. Train them in how to handle the mic, how to protect them, properly sing with them, not finger the mic, and so on. I do this with any group that uses my gear, and even elementary kids will follow directions if they feel important and part of the show.
     
  8. jkowtko

    jkowtko Active Member

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    Unfortunately there's really no way to get around quiet talkers/singers other than start moving the mic element in towards the mouth.

    If they are medium volume you can still use a forehead mount but bring the mic head down the forehead to just above the eyebrows, and tape it onto the forehead. That's about as far down as you can bring it without it looking really stupid. You might have seen this type of mounting on the lead girls in Wicked -- so yes it is done professionally. Obviously a skin colored mic will work better here :)

    If they are really low volume then unfortunately what is called a "boom mount" is needed -- which is what you are referring to. These are like the ones you may have seen in the TV Show "Grease -- You're the one that I want". The boom extends from behind the head, under the ear, and very close to the mouth, about an inch away, much like a telemarketer's headset mic. This allows you to turn the mic gain way down, pick up the voice well, and be well protected against feedback. If you have a loose cord mic you can make up a boom hanger out of an old wire coat hanger, 18 or so gauge steel wire from the hardware store, or memory wire from a crafts shop. There are other posts that talk about this. There are also a few commercially available boom mic adapters, but they aren't too cheap ($40-60 each) so starting out with a coat hanger might be better. Take a close look at the DPA 4066 and try to copy that design.

    you can also just tape the loose mic cord on their cheek, over or under the ear, but I think that looks the worst. If you must do this, then I suggest go under the ear so it looks more like a boom mic, and try tying a small loop of elastic cord around the mic and loop it over their ear to hold the cord in place under the earlobe. Then you just need a piece of tape in the front just behind the mic head, and in the back of the neck.

    John
     
  9. loki

    loki Member

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    The way i always work with Boom headsets, is have them get makeup, then when thats done, some strong medical tape (Elasto-Plaste) will still stick to make up, or failing that, if there the type that go over the ears and then the boom comes out, you can simply tape behind their ears, just be careful not to wax their hair off when you remove it :p. This also allows for the makeup people to touch up and issues when actors are finished getting mic'd
     
  10. Hughesie

    Hughesie Well-Known Member

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    I finally got that image to work
     
  11. DavidDaMonkey

    DavidDaMonkey Active Member

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    What is that around the capsule of the mic? Is that some sort of elastic band? Is it holding it to the hair? Is that comfortable?
     
  12. rdagit

    rdagit Member

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    I'd say that your best solution for a quiet singer... is to tell them to sing lounder... Although you can do the boom mike idea, or bring it out over the forehead, I'd say that whatever you do should be the same for all singers (in general, unless you are making a choice with one of the characters, or they have a hat). But most directors will look at you funny if you start bringing the microphones to far out onto the face, especially with a small house. If you have a good director they will listen to the fact that you have a weak singer, and there isn't anything you can do about it... For most of the time I've found a lot of the weaker ones sing softer because they think that they can due to the microphone being on.
     
  13. jkowtko

    jkowtko Active Member

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    Yes, that's a rubber band. This was covered in an earlier thread somewhere -- evidently it was ok with the actors and holds well.
     
  14. Andy_Leviss

    Andy_Leviss Active Member Premium Member

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    For over-the-ear rigging, you actually want to go a lot further in front of the ear. What Alex (Hughesie) posted a pic of is too far back on the ear. For the best sound (although always a compromise compared to the forehead), you need to extend a bit further down onto the top of the cheekbone. You want to make sure that when the actor hums, you don't feel the spot the mic is mounted on vibrating, as those resonances will kill you with mids.

    --Andy
     
  15. Terry

    Terry Member

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    I'm a makeup artist and won't apply makeup around a mic, especially if I'm airbrushing it on. (My son does sound and lighting so I know better!) If the actor has the mic on I take it off, lay it over his shoulder and apply the makeup. Putting a little vaseline on the wire keeps makeup from sticking to it and usually makeup remover will clean off the wire. After I'm done I try to reattach the mic to a wig or hairpiece (hopefully with the soundman's blessing)or bend it enough so it hugs the face and tape it behind the ear. (I always keep surgical tape in my case.) If I have to tape it to the cheek I clean a tiny bit of skin w/Qtip and alcohol, allow it to dry and tape it on.Then I'll repair the makeup by blending over the surgical tape which works pretty good. I never put anything on the wire but sometimes makeup will transfer.
     

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