Do-it-Yourself Hoop Windscreen

WS01It's time to record the narration for your next video production. You want to produce the best audio quality possible, keeping your narration free of plosives, but can't bring yourself to part with $30 to purchase a hoop-style windscreen like the pros use.

If you could build one for $2, would you? Good! Let's get started.

The first step is a trip to your local discount-mart store. After you've picked up some blank tape and shampoo, go to the craft section and get a 6-inch embroidery hoop (plastic works best) - cost: $1.46. Next, stop in the ladies hosiery section and find a generic brand of knee-high hose. They are usually located on an end-cap display. Packaged in an egg-shaped container, the stockings come in several colors cost: 33 cents.

The final item you need for this project is a cheap microphone holder. Don't use a good one, it won't work for this application. The ideal mike holder for the project will be lightweight and flimsy, with two-piece construction. The key design factor is a single mounting piece on the base of the clip, not a dual yoke-style like most mike clips. Check with your church's sound technician or a friend who is in a band. They will likely have several broken clips to choose from.

Construction

Back at home, you need a drill, a 3/16-inch drill bit, a screwdriver and a pair of scissors. Loosen the thumbscrew on the hoop and remove the inner ring. WithWS02 the screw facing down, find the horizontal center of the hoop and drill a 3/16-inch hole through each side.

WS03Next, slide the inner ring of the hoop into one of the stockings - about midway. Stretch the stocking and use the scissors to cut off the toe and upper band. From the inside of the outer hoop, carefully thread the cut ends through the drilled holes. Stretch the stocking again; give it a good pull, but not too much. Finally, tie a knot in each end of the sock right at the edge of the hoop and trim the excess. This will keep the hose from slipping back through. If you are concerned about the knots coming undone later, just heat them with a lighter or soldering iron to melt (not burn) the material.

WS05Disassemble the microphone clip and throw away the top part (where the microphone would slide). Remove the thumbscrew from the embroidery hoop and WS06slide the bottom part of the mike clip into place between the plastic ends of the hoop. Tighten the thumbscrew and you're finished. If the mike clip moves too easily, shim it with a couple of small washers.

In Use

Professional narrators like to get as close to the microphone as possible without sacrificing quality. But, as you get closer, you increase the likelihood that breath pops will ruin the recording. Place your new windscreen an inch or two in front of the microphone to reduce or eliminate the problem altogether. The double layer of nylon stocking makes an excellent barrier for wind noise. Record your narration with headphones so you can hear the effect of different positions. The old "Peter Piper" tongue twister is an excellent test. There you have it. A $2 solution for million-dollar audio.

WS07TOOLS & PARTS
• Screwdriver
• Scissors
• Knee-high hose
• 6-inch embroidery hoop (plastic works best)
• Drill and 3/16-inch bit
• Cheap microphone holder