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Wolfs Questionairre for Oct 14th-Oct-18 on SOUND.

Discussion in 'Question of the Day' started by wolf825, Oct 14, 2003.

  1. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Howdy all,
    In light of somone (9voltnewbie) at least finding this an interesting topic to post a desire to see more, I will pick up where Ship left off (and hope he will continue more of his wonderful Q's too). However--I am more of an essay question type of guy...reason being to test your understanding of a subject and possibly broaden your knowledge base of a subject more from a group participation. I encourage others to follow suit, regardless of your knowledge base or subject interest, and post your own question of the day, or question of the week--either poll or essay. Easy or simple. So if you know something--post a question to challenge others...if you don't know something--post a question to find out the answers. Works both ways...ya know... =)

    The poster of the question (ME in this case) should be the moderator of that question and address every persons response...and if you are posting a question to learn more about a subject--follow up and ask more question to try and understand if the explaination given is not enough info. Hope this helps fuel some more discussions..

    ------------------------------------------
    QUESTION OF THE WEEK for OCT 14th-Oct 18th:

    Subject: General Theater Sound

    ESSAY QUESTION: (make it as long or as short as you want--I will comment or correct on every reply. Have fun..)

    "Explain the correct and best methods to body mic an actor, mic placement, different methods to attach a body mic to an actor--and when to use such methods and when NOT to use that method; how to protect the body-pack mic and secure it to the actor(or any tricks or tips you may have), the type of mic to use and why it is best for that application.
    Also--bonus points if you can give a correct reason to why it is best to mic an actor AFTER they have been thru costuming, make-up and wardrobe, and not before. "


    A full explanation of proper body-mic techniques will be posted by me at the conclusion of the time-frame if anyone or a culmination of posters has not addressed all the points to the question...and I will daily comment and reply to posters. Post what you know or believe--and read and learn what you may not know, and be a better tech for it.

    enjoy...
    -wolf
     
  2. cruiser

    cruiser Active Member

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    I use sennheiser 300 series bodypack mics. For theatre, I will place the pack on their back and run the lead up. I will tape it at the base of the neck and run it around the hair line and loop over the top of the ear and stick the actual mic halfway between their mouth and ear.
    I take the mic with skin/medical type tape so as it can not be seen, if it is a black mic. and tape on top of the ear, then at the top of the neck but i leave slack inbetween there and the base of the next so it gives them room to turn around, sometimes i ask for the actor to turn then stick it on to get an idea.

    As oppose to using the velcro elastic mic belts, I bought some black ones that have proper clips, the material does not stretch so the mics dont bounce off them and they do not fall down or come un done!!
     
  3. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Thanks for the reply. Make sure you check back for other posters who answer ( I would hope there would be more), and check back in a few days to read a complete article on body-mic styles, tips and techniques for theater that I am writing up, and you may pick up a few new tips or tricks that you can add to your techniques.

    Cheers!

    -wolf
     
  4. dvsDave

    dvsDave Benevolent Dictator Administrator Senior Team CB Mods Fight Leukemia

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    I've never had the opportunity to use really nice bodypack mics...

    However I was helping out a professional troupe that was doing a musical. They had the mic head taped right to the top of the forehead... I've never seen that done before!!

    As far placing a mic on the actor, its the last thing you do because you don't want to get any make-up in the mic capsule.
     
  5. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Hiya, Thanks for the reply. ok--so you haven't used really nice bodypack mics--how about any experiences with crappy ones? :) Yup--the forehead is another place...and you are close on the bonus question. Make sure you check back to others posts and see what they have to say in their experiences. Also--check back in a few days for the article I will write about various body-mic' techniques and tips and tricks...add to your knowledge base.

    Cheers!
    -wolf
     
  6. soundman

    soundman Well-Known Member

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    1st hte extra credit: If you do it before make up the fragil cord might get bent torn ripped lost glued to the wig or even taken off because it was "too uncomfertable) and never put back on. To secure them to the actors we have our seemstress sew a pouch above the rear pocket of pants or near the swell of the back for ladies.

    TIP TIME: post signs on the stage door MIC ON as you walk in and MIC OFF as you walk out during one show one of the more talkitive girls started gossiping during a big song about the singer, it was a mad dash to mute that one.

    Question: do you mute the acotr from the board or have the actor use the mute feature on the body pack, I do the latter cause I dont have any fancy mute groups and am too busy trying to tweak the system.
     
  7. cruiser

    cruiser Active Member

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    i will ALWAYS mute the channel soon as an actor leaves the stage. Dont trust the actors and they are always talking soon as they get into the wings, even though they shouldnt. Nothing worse than hearing their conversations come through the PA and ive heard it done.. many times!!!
    If it is a show with mic changes, then i will generally fade the channels out aswell.... but yeah, i will always mute their mics on the desk!!!!

    I put the mic on after make up.. always!!! And at the chemist you are able to purchase a special formula, so when the tape is taken off it doesnt take off the makeup or hair, good for when you have alot of miuc changes.
     
  8. MagliteL13

    MagliteL13 Member

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    I always like to watch a few rehersals if I get the chance to determine mic placement. My favorite mics used to be the Sen. MKE2 series but are now the Countryman E6 series(which have completely different placement as they are not attached to the face normally).

    In a perfect world, I like to put guys mics on their forehead (Someone told me something to the effect of the sound resonating in the cavities that cause allergies--I'm not sure if it's correct or not). I do like the position more, however. For girls, I prefer the cheek bone as I've found it picks up sound that's easier to deal with in terms of the frequencies.

    I use 3M medical tape, bobby pins, elastic--pretty much whatever will work in the situation to get it to stay. Here in college, our costumer has been really accomadating when it comes to mics--sewing in water resistent pockets for the transmitter and the like. Lately, I'm rarely forced to do lapel as the sound isn't consistent (when the head is turned). For the tours that come through I normally use Extra Large Unlubricated condoms to put the transmitter in. The entire condom/transmitter lump is then either clipped on or secured using "mic pouches" (muslin bags with an elastic waistband).

    The regular sub-mini mics were always a problem for me when it came to placement (more work), that's why I like the E6's more. You don't even have to worry about makeup as much. For transmitters, I like using almost any of the Shure series'-- especially the kind that can be locked on.

    Anyways, my $.02.

    Jeremy Lyon
    Technician at The McAnich Arts Center
     
  9. cruiser

    cruiser Active Member

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    OMG... Condoms!! hahahaha ya learn something new everyday....

    Im gonna go try this...
     
  10. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Hiya, Thanks for the reply. To your question about muting at the board or the actors doing it themselves, I mute at the console for the following reasons: 1st--actors are dumb and I've seen too many actors forget to turn it on before they walk out and then fumble with it on stage--very embarrassing. Second, it gives me control of when the sound for their mic is actually on--some actors will turn on their mic 5 minutes before they go on and sit in the wings and gab amd light up the channels(even tho they may be down). annoying idiots. 3rd, I usually power-lock mic packs, so they cannot be turned off, and its one less thing for teh actors to deal with. Your results may vary and you may have smarter actors, but overall that has been my experience on what is best to do. Thanks again for sharing your experiences. Make sure you check back with other posters to learn some more tips and tricks, and look for my article on body-mic'ing where I'll cover this topic and more details in a few days.

    Cheers,
    -wolf
     
  11. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Hiya, Great info. Thanks for your reply and sharing of information and your techniques. Make sure you check back here often for other posters techniques and tips, and check back for my article on micing for theater.

    Cheers,
    --wolf
     
  12. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    hiya..yup condoms--a neccessity to protect your body pack from sweat and moisture that can shorten the lifespan of the bodypack...always practice "safe sound". :) Check back for tips like this and more info on body micing techniques.

    Cheers,
    -wolf
     
  13. dvsDave

    dvsDave Benevolent Dictator Administrator Senior Team CB Mods Fight Leukemia

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    how do you power lock the mics? I know on the new Shure handhelds, there is a rubber sheild tha you can slip over the controls, but how do you do it on body mic packs?
     
  14. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    How to lock down the power on Wireless Mics

    Many of the body-pack and lav packs have a feature, like on the Shure U series, where you hold the MODE and SET buttons down for 5 seconds and it powerlocks the switch to ON regardless of if its in the on or off position. Same for frequency lock on some of the adjustable packs like the U series by Shure. Failing that feature on your lav packs..a piece of black gaff over the switch while in the ON position also works well. :)

    -wolf
     
  15. cruiser

    cruiser Active Member

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    How to lock the power on Sennheiser Wireless Mics

    On Sennheiser units, you just go into "Set" and scroll through until you find the Lock option. This locks the frequencie, and all settings including power until the lock is remved and the unit is turned off.

    They also have the slidy piece of plastic that stops them accidently turning off!

    I usually use electrical tape to tape up the switches as oppose to gaf!
     
  16. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Here is the article promised for this essay question...

    ------------------------
    Professional Body-Mic techniques, tips and tricks for Theater.

    When approaching a duty as a sound person to mic up actors or dancers for a theatrical performance, there are a few things that have to be assessed by the sound person prior to the actual mic'ing of a show, to best decide how to body mic an actor(s) for a performance and decide who gets what mics and why. Best way to do this is to read the script for number of actors, view early rehearsals and make notes about actors/blocking/movement and--often overlooked--interaction between actors while on stage (hugs, dancing, fighting etc), and then discuss any costuming issues/changes with wardrobe and the director for each actor so you are aware of the demands on the actor for time for quick-changes and heavy costuming issues. I will break this down in to several steps, first one being assessment:

    First thing you need to do is assess the number of actors that need body mics, and compare this to your inventory of available mic's. If some actors are "atmosphere" or part of chorus' and with no main lines, they can safely be removed from need for body mic's in most situations. Other area-type mics (shotguns, PCCs, choir hanging mics) can be used to pick up those masses. If you are involved with a music review-style show where different people will be doing solo's and multiple mic changes, you will then need to make a list of mic's and number them so actors are given specific mic's for specific parts of the show if you do not have enough mic's to do everyone. Easiest shows are straight drama's where actors stay mic'd and do not change out mic's. Additionally, you will need to check with costuming to determine what the costume will be like, what costume changes will have to be done for each actor, any wig or make-up uses for the actors, and see if there are places to mount body-packs in the costumes for quick hook-up, or if the actor will need to wear a under-costume elastic belt that will house the body-pack. Interesting note--heavy applications of SEQUINS & metallic threads in costumes can cause interference with some RF belt packs..so be aware. I had one heavy jacket of sequins on one show that just ate up the signal from the body pack...it can happen, tho it is rare. With the director and or choreographer you will need to discuss blocking, and any dancing or interation that will go on between the actors. Fights on stage can be a challenge for body mic's to eliminate any clothing noise or damage to the body pack, dancing can create a lot of sweat and loosen the adheasives you use on actors to fix mic's, hugs and close-dancing are also factors to consider when placing a mic on an actor--you don't want the mic's to "bump" or be bumped during a dance or embrace on stage. After you have assessed these considerations, and that you need "X" number of mic's, and discussed things with director and costuming, you are ready to proceed to actually mic'ing an actor and securing it to them.

    There are many different ways to affix a mic to an actor..but it will depend on the styles of mic's you have to work with. Most wireless lavalier style mic's can be big and bulky and "barrell" in style. Then there are "Wig" mic's (squares) and micro-miniature lavaliers which are the better choice for performance use, and the most common ones you will run into in Theater. The BEST choice overall for most theater is the micro-miniature headsets...however the price of these units usually is out of the budget of most schools. Each body mic will have a body-pack transmitter--a square box the size of a deck of cards that transmits the mic signal to your wireless reciever. Most of these bodypack transmitters have ON/OFF switches, a LED lite that tells you on/off or battery power or both, removable belt clips, Battery pack / door for 9volt or AA/AAA batteries, Frequency selection switches, a GAIN control, a mic plug--either 1/8" jack on some of the cheaper mics, or a small screw-on pin-connector (like a small XLR) that has 3, 4 or 5 pins, and a whip antenna. Some frequency's are fixed, others are selectable..but whichever style body-pack you have, they all work the same. Mic gets plugged into the body pack transmitter, and that sends the signal to the reciever which goes into your mixing board, the Bodypack gets clipped to the actor and the mic gets attached to the actor.


    Here is a list of some of the basic tools and toys you will want to have on-hand for doing body mic's in Theater:

    Gaff Tape or spike tape in black and white, (to mark the beltpack and affix parts of it secure--like on/off switches, antenna's/strain relief, battery doors).

    Electrical tape in colors (if you need to color code anything)

    Sharpie (to write the number of the beltpack on the tape)

    Micro-screwdriver--phillips and flat head--used to adjust gain on the body pack (The Audio Technica's and some Sennheiser's tend to have their own screw-driver built in to each bodypack for this);

    Condoms--unlubricated...usually these can be purchesed in bulk "B-quality stock" from condom manufacturers, and can be bought in colors to match some costumes. Failing being able to purchase them in B-stock, you can buy them in packs of 50 at the drug store..just make sure they are unlubricated. Otherwise--black or clear is fine for theatrrical use. Color doesn't really matter on the condoms as they are not seen--they are for moisture protection. These condoms get pulled over the body-pack transmitters after you are done putting batteries in them and testing them out/checkinggain & freuqency, and the reason these are used is it provides a barrier to keep sweat and moisture out of the expensive body pack transmitter. The body-packs give off heat--and you need something that will not overheat the body-pack and will "breathe" and not be slippery when they get sweaty and bounce out of the belt holder...which is why regular zip-lock bags or saran wrap, while they will work in a pinch, are not the best choice to use. Actor's & dancers sweat--and sweat contains salts and oils and water in a large amount--and the last thing you want is to submit your expensive electronics in the body-packs to such moisture that will eventually damage them or make your batteries corrode. I once did body-packs for a Jazzercise convention--and the body packs would have been soaked and shorted out if I didn't use condoms to protect them. Plus--since you use a new condom every show it gives the actors a sense of hygene in that they are not wearing yesterdays dried sweat.

    Elastic belt pack holders. These are usually black or white generically--or may be custom colored to fit the costume, and have a little pocket in the rear that holds the transmitter pack and extra cable and fits in the small of the back. The black ones tend to hide better in costumes. Some are made by companies and attach together using velcro--others have snaps or clips. some are made of neoprene so they breathe and flex, others are made of cloth with elextic bands in the attchment area. OR your wardrobe person can make up several of them very easily. One-size usually fits all..
    alligator clips, (helpful in some costume applications)
    bobby-pins, (helpful in some wig applications)
    Adhesive tape for the mic--in professional use on Boradway and in theater this is typically "TOP-STICK", a tupee and wig tape, or "TEGADERM" a clear strong adhesive tape, and MOLESKIN or NEODERM tape is also sometimes used. I've also seen two-sided sticky bunion foot pads used--and it works. All of the above are hypo-allergenic, will withstand body heat and sweat and still stick in place. Key thing with any of the above is it is MEDICAL GRADE for use on SKIN and is safe to use. NEVER use Spirit gum--it has mineral spirits that will eat away the rubber coating of your microphone wire. NEVER use crazy-glue or other dangerous adheavises that are not safe for skin use.

    Micro-miniature and Wig style body mic manufacturers most popular are from Shure, Audio Technica, Sennheiser, DPA & Countryman.


    Now that you have your kit of above tools, its time to put things together. Before you go mic'ing up an actor you will need to do a few things--first you will need to battery up the mic packs, test them and adjust the gain if you have not done so already..secure the various doors or switches if you cannot power-lock on the pack, slip the condom on put the pack in its belt holder. A good TRICK for the mic cable is to tape a small 1"-2" loop to the top of the mic connector at the body-pack--this acts as a strain relief against the actor pulling the little cable against the connector and damaging its connection. Adjust the SQUELCH if you need to on your reciever (another little screw like the gain screw) on the reciever. This makes sure you have a good solid signal with no interference. Check your reciever by turning OFF or muting the transmitter and making sure you have no SHHHHHHH or other signal on your reciever when the transmitter is not on. Next--adjust your gain in the body pack and get ready to test your mic. Your goal when checking gains on your mic is that it is balanced equally to the rest of the mic's and is not too sensitive which could result in distortion or saturation. Over-gain on the mic can make the mic break up or get distorted when the person wearing it sings or yells. You want signal that you can use and adjust pr bring up opn teh console for level--not saturation that you cannot back down at the console. You want to make sure you tape or power-lock the belt pack into the ON position--several times and during costume changes an actor can bump or switch off the belt pack--this is bad as you have no control over the situation and the actor will be the last person think they did something wrong in the whole technical end of things. It will depend on your situation and your preferences and some of you may be fine with letting actors do the switches themselves--however I find it a better idea to be in charge of the sound and let the actor NOT touch the switches or forget to. As you get to work with more professionals who are used to handling their own mics, you can let actors do the switching...but for most shows--iI feel its best to be in control of the situation. Many of the newer bodypacks that have selectable frequency's and channels have a POWERLOCK ON/OFF function--check your manual to see if the feature is present and how to do it. If not--gaff tape works well over the switch. Make sure you put in FRESH batteries for all shows (especially double shows in one day), and you should battery up and check them, IMO, no more then 2 hours before showtime. Actors should do their sound check before 1/2hr when doors open, or 1 hour to performance, but AFTER they have done full make-up and wardrobe. Heat and sweat and use will run the battery harder--so you want battery's as fresh as possible for the show.

    MIC PLACEMENT: While the body pack transmitter will get worn in a mic-belt under the costume in the small of the back, or worn inside a special pocket sewn into the costume usually in the small of the back, there are other area's for body pack transmitters to be placed when situations arise. Some of the more unconventional but effective area for body pack placement are in suit jacket inside-vest pockets. Additionally, a harness can be made to wear the pack under the armpit, or even worn as an arm-band. Additionally, some instances need another area--and a should-blade harness can be made, or a side-waistband that sits over the hip can also be done. These situations are common when evening gowns or backless dresses need to be worn as costumes and no area for a body-pack can be done in the back--so an arm-pit, side-waist band or shoulder harness can work. When actors are in wheel chairs for shows--there can be a strain put on the body-pack at the point where the mic plug goes into the bodypack--and it can cause damage from the bend of being sat on or squashed. Additionally there may be uncomfortable placement in the small of the back that an actor, while fidgiting around in a chair for the duration of the show, can experience for long periods of time. So Under-arm or vest pocket areas can be a prime source solution. A note about alternate locations--make sure you powerlock or tape the on-off switch...body-fat rolls (love handles), costume facing or other parts of the costume when a person sits can rub the top of a mic pack and switch it off--make sure you tape it on or power-lock on.

    After you have the belt pack on the actor, your next thing is to figure out where on the head you need to place the mic. After running the cable up the persons back, you will want to secure it at the base of the neck right where the spine of the back is. A piece of tegaderm or topstick works well for this. Leave yourself enough head-turning room on the cable. If youare new to doing this--place your mic first in its place, and then run the cable on the side or top of the head to the back of the neck where you can secure it--have the actor turn their head and twist so there is no snag. Clip any excess into the wig or hairline with some adheasive tape or bobby pin. Placement of the mic can be in one of several places given your situation and the type of mic you have. Most of the wig and microminiature mic's are omni-directional, and some are round while others are flat squares with a small "dot" opening. Whichever you decide or have to use, each one of them can go in any of the following positions: Over the ear / sideburn area, On the Temple, At the Center of the forehead at the hairline, on the side of the cheekbone, or just behind the ear on the lobe of the head. Any of these positions works very well and are fairly standard areas, but you willfind that some wig mic's (the flat square ones) will work better in the "vibration places" like the ear, temple, and behind the ear areas. Most common areas that many use overall tho are the forehead, temple, and over-the-ear / sideburn area for mic'ing. Attaching the mic via TEGADERM or TOP-STICK is simple as affixing the mic cable, about 1 inch just below the mic element, to the tape and to the actor. 1/2" strip of the adheasive is usually enough. You can let the mic then stick out forward so it is not directly in contact with the body. Obviously the close to the mouth you can get the mic the better..but sometimes aesthetics and looks of the actor is more important to the director. Excellent sound quality can be achieved with these mic's in these locations, but the key to getting good sound out of them lies in the gain sensitivity you set the body pack for, and the actor projecting their lines. Positioning the mics on the head so far from the mouth seems ineffective but it is not so--the head is in essence a giant water-ball that resonates when we speak. While the sound comes from out mouths--the entire head and skull act as a speaker, and resonate our sounds just as well as our mouths do--suffecient enough for today's mics to work very well in those positions. Our mouths and noses (yep noses--air comes out of them too) just act as a focus point to direct the bulk of the sound out in a direction. Find this a bit hard to understand--plug your ears and talk--you can still "hear" yourself thru the vibrations in your head...now close your mouth and hum..you still make sounds--then pinch your nose--sound goes away. Open your mouth or unpinch your nose---and sound comes back. Placement of these mic's on these area's is best. You don't wish to put mic's in clothes due to clothing noise. Of the other areas, Cheekbone position works but is the least favorable place due to aesthetics and sweat, and behind the ear is next least favorable because head-turns will be most extreme for vocal clarity drop-outs at this position. When dealing with wigs--the mic goes on the head on the forehead area or temple area, and cable is attached to the hairnet or with bobby-pins, and the mic sticks out on the forhead or temple area just under the wig. When using 1/2 bald caps--place the mic on the side by the temple or ear where the hair is. When using full bald-caps, the mic placement will go either under the bald-cap and stick out at the forehead, or over the ear in front of the ear by the sideburn area. When using flat-square wig mics on wigs, you will notice that one side has an opening "dot" and the other side is closed--the "dot" is the mic-element...preference for this is when on the forhead that the mic "dot" face down flat-outward over the face if it sticks out--or if it must sit flat you should face the dot outward with the blank side against the head, however when using this style of mic on an over-the-ear area, you want the "dot" facing outward towards the front of the face as best as possible. Excess cable on the mic can be stuffed into the beltpocket, the condom, or into the costume. I don't reccomend coiling up and taping the excess together--it just makes for one larger bulky thing that can irritate or get caught on something. Stuff excess by the beltpack.

    Microminiature headsets which are used on most tours and broadway shows are expensive but give the best sound as the mic is thin, can be cosmetically made up to match the make up on the actor, and essentially become invisible to the audience. Getting some directors and wardrobe director novices past the idea of a headset mic--since most of their ideas of headsets are that of Madonna or Brittney Spears big honkin rock & roll headset mic's, is difficult...but if you can convince them and have the budget--it will make your sound-duties a ton easier and the overall quality much much better. Theatrical headset mic's are of much smaller less-visable designs and better quality then the popular rock and roll big & bulky headsets worn by pop stars.

    TIPS: When mic'ing for fight scenes, you need to make sure no cables are loose or will be pulled, and that the beltpack holder is below the waistband and secured. Instruct the actors where the mic's are--so they can choreograph their grabs and moves away from this. If an actor is going to get slammed onto his back--and the beltpack, you may want to consider an under-arm holster. When actors will close dance or embrace, remember that most people hug or embrace to the right side of the body and face--make sure your mic is the opposite side to avoid bumps or picking up the other persons lines and breath sounds. If its opposite--make sure you know this.


    PRE-Production stuff for mic'ing and so forth..

    When You are in charge of your actors and discussing things as mic's and so on, as the sound person in charge you must set your rules forward so mic's do not get mistreated, and so things do not go wrong. If you are going to allow the actors to control their mic's being on or off--you must let them know your expectations and their responsibilities, and you must let them know your responsibilities. If you are going to let actor's put the mic's on after you teach them--this must be conveyed as well. A good thing to do is to give actors an introduction to microphones during one of the rehearsal times. Tell them the do's and don't, explain why the mic goes in a certain area on the head, why the belt pack is wrapped ina condom and taped, where you will set out mic's and expect to have them returned to you and so forth. Set this up with your SM to discuss mic's and so forth with the actors for 15-20 minutes or more between rehearsals. Discuss the dangers of make up and how mic's should and should not be treated. Discuss how you will mute them when off stage, or how you will allow them to turn mic's on and off if that is what you prefer. Show the actors the mic's, how they work, and the adheasives used--Tegaderm or Topstick or whatever you prefer..and reassure them that it is hypoallergenic and safe and will not be an irritant to their skin--get this out of the way first or you will get a few who complain regardless. If you are going to show each actor how to mic themselves--do so globally at first for that meeting, and then again individually in pre-production rehearsal, so they get used to doing it and ask questions they may feel stupid about asking in a group. Otherwise set up some kind of schedule and allow 3 minutes max per actor for micing at a specific time before show. Usually--I can mic an actor in under 1 minute...practice makes perfect. Sometimes you can give the actor the mic element and cable so they can go to wardrobe and have it to put on after they are done--and when they come out to Sound Check they can get their belt pack all ready to go...IOW, beltpacks can be plugged in later....or you can just keep everything together--it all depends on how you wish to run things. Some sound folks will set their body mic's out and allow the actors to take them when they are ready. Post a sign when mic's are ready or set up a table and lay them out with number when you are done with setting them up--each actor should have their own numbered mic and know which number is theirs. Actors should be shown and told to turn in their mic's at the end of the show at the same spot they pick them up at, and before they go to get out of costume. A good way to keep body mic's in order is to use a shoe-tree...one of those hanging pieces of fabric with 10-12 pockets that you can buy for $3 at Walmart. Each body pack, belt and mic can be assembled with condom etc and put in the belt pack and go into an individual shoe pocket with the actors name or number on it. This can then be hung outside dresssingrooms or greenrooms.

    When trying to determine mic scheduling--who gets what mics and who has to change out mic's, do your primary actors first or the actors who have the most lines first as getting permanent mic's, and then rotate the rest. Thus you have the least amount of mic's being swapped out between scenes.

    Hopefully this little bit of info will help you expand your knowledge of body mic styles and techniques, and help you apply them in your situations to a more professional result. Hope you found this article of interest and benefit to your learning. questions and comments are always welcome...


    -wolf

    P.S. Now to the bonus question--while you wish to mic up an actor after they are out of make up and wardrobe, the main reason for this has to do with the damage that can be done to mic's by make up and other cosmetics. Additionally--you can find the bestposition and locations for mic's seeing the full costume. While Mic cables are easily applied make-up to blend them, however the mic elements are very sensitive and should not be treated with make-up to blend. Most cosmetics use fats and oils that can clog mic elements, but Hair-spray is the WORSE thing in the world for a mic to have happen to it. It is very common for untrained wardrobe folks to spray an actor with hairspray after they have been mic'ed up. The hairspray gets into the mic element and stiffens it up and kills it. Once this happens the mic element is trash...and nothing you do will fix it except replace it. As the sound person for the show it is up to you to discuss the dangers of this with the wardrobe persons AND the actors--as many actors do apply their own make up and hair sprays. Be warned...and make sure actors know the reasons and mic up after wardrobe and make up. I saw an entire show of mic's once (9 mics in all) get destroyed on opening nite because a wardrobe person sprayed the actors down with hairspray after they got mic'ed--in spite of the instructions both she and the actors were given...the mic's immediately failed, the show could not replace the mic's over that weekend, and the wardrobe person lost her job after being yelled at by the sound man for violating his instructions, and by the director for costing the show a HUGE sum of money to replace those mic's and ruining the opening weekend, and the SM chewed out the cast for allowing it to happen.
     
  17. Inaki

    Inaki Member

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    Location:
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    We use Sennheiser and Shure bodypacks, as well as some AT occasionally. Doing a lot of schools we use custom made headsets painted skin color, this aids in the quick changes. If not, we stick the capsule halfway between the ear and mouth, although my favorite still remains at the hair line. It all comes down to feedback after a while, some actors just can't produce much volume, so you HAVE to move the mic closer to his mouth. As for the packs, we recomend making "pockets" for them on the inside of costumes, if not, it just goes with the clip on the inside of their pants so they won't bee seen or banged as much. We put mics after makeup and costumes becaus it prevents them from moving the mic anywhere, although if we stick the mic we ussualy put makeup on the medical tape.
     
  18. wolf825

    wolf825 Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Location:
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    Hiya,
    Thanks for adding the great information and about your experiences. Hope you found the info and the tutorial beneficial as well.

    -wolf
     
  19. XPSGuy

    XPSGuy Member

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    Location:
    Kinston, NC
    I always have trouble figuring out which mic is which, When you have 8 or 9 mics. I always get the crew to grab the actor and turn the mic to standby.
     
  20. Nephilim

    Nephilim Active Member

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    Location:
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    Use your scribble strip and label each channel by character name or actor, whichever you're more comfortable with. If you aren't familiar enough with the show to know which character is which... well... ;)

    Ah, experiences with lav mics. When we went to CETA we brought our 6 and compined powers with 12 of the host's lavs for 18 mics. I spent the night before marking mute and unmute cues in the book so that all my assistant had to do is cue me to mute/unmute some numbers and I did so. But that's a very specific situation, the show was never mic'd in our original space, so I wasn't used to that; we just numbered every pack and worked off that. For most shows I would recommend labeling by character or actor name.
     

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