This installment of our blog series on Basic Audio Techniques for Video provides more solutions for hiding lavalier microphones while rigging talent.
In our previous blog we demonstrated how to use sticky triangles made from cloth camera tape when hiding lavalier microphones. Another common technique involves using a strip of moleskin and a safety pin.
Preparing the Rig
Safety pins can be easily attached to the inside of clothing and the soft texture of moleskin reduces clothing friction while insulating the microphone from vibrations. These pin on mounts are ideal for t-shirts, hats, beach wear, athletic clothing and a wide variety of costuming.
Step 1: Form a small loop of cable, close to the mic head, about the size of a nickel. This loop is critical, as it blocks cable noise and vibrations.
Step 2: Tie off the loop with a small piece of string or thread. Cloth camera or gaffers tape can be used if necessary. Wrap the tape with the clean side facing the cable and the sticky side facing out.
Step 3: Tie the loop so it’s loose enough to breathe when tugged. This provides some emergency slack if the talent pulls the cable accidentally.
Step 4: Wrap the moleskin around the microphone several times, sticky side against the mic and soft side facing out; this will prevent the safety pin from hitting the mic. Note: Use standard thin sheets, not the special double thick variety.
Step 5: Insert an open safety pin and finish your wrap. Ensure that the locking guard of the pin is secured and pointing downward.
Always follow proper etiquette by using only new, clean safety pins when preparing your rig. Safety pins are sharp and accidents do happen, so protect against infection by never re-using dirty pins. Some sound mixers prefer to store their pins in small bottles of diluted bleach or alcohol.
Should you prick your finger with a safety pin, remember that you have alcohol prep wipes in your lav rigging kit!
Just like with the previous technique, take care to not seal or block the open sound ports at the top of your microphone. If you’re using a lavalier with a side address or side-facing configuration be sure to not block the opening. When possible, simply wrap the moleskin lower, leaving the top portion of the mic exposed.
For larger lavaliers, a second safety pin can be used on the opposite side to provide additional support. These pin-on techniques are ideal for attaching to the inside of t-shirts and other closed-front clothing, simply catch a few threads and close the pin.
To better conceal your rig, take advantage of logos or other design elements on clothing that will distract from the telltale signs caused by pinning or taping.
Always anchor and strain relief the rig by taping down the wire below the loop.
As with the sticky tape rig, you can go sideways under a collar, inside of a bra or halter-top. Additional rigging locations include: shoulder straps, neck wraps and towels.
With these tips you’ll be able to rig talent like a pro!