Author Topic: Tips: Handling Wireless Microphones  (Read 3221 times)

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Tips: Handling Wireless Microphones
« on: Nov 04, 2006, 08:44 pm »
It's the job every sound tech loves, coming into human contact with the human piece of feedback. It is often quite difficult to mic an actor properly. This article will hopefully show you how to / how not to mic up an actor.

So many times, I walk into a show and I see the local crew mic up actors and place the mic at the same level as the nose on your cheek so it looks like the biggest wart you have ever seen. This is fine, but it does look tacky.

I personally mic people just placing the head of the lapel mic next to the top of their ear so the cable begins behind their ear, you then follow their hairline until you get to the bare patch (which is hopefully covered by a collar) and then down their back. Tape the cable with 'skin tape' or the US equivalent (In Australia, we call it skin tape). Finally, attach the pack with a waist belt or something similar so the pack doesn't fall off and become a prop on stage right. Make sure that the excess cable is wound up and placed behind the pack, so if need be (if the actor jerks his/her head unexpectedly) the mic will follow. DON'T TAPE THE CABLE as if everything is tight, something will come off.

To mic up someone in their hair, use the same method up till the collar area. Once you get to the collar, run through the centre of the head and hold the mic and cable in place with hairpins. make sure the mic is placed under a section of hair or in a section where it will not stick out.

Keep in mind that:
A - Actors will leave expensive sound equipment on a chair or on the floor so make sure no actor with a mic leaves the stage at the end of the show until you take it

B - Make Up / Hairspray can be applied after Mic Up however make sure the mic head is covered by a small tissue or a piece of plastic, make up in the mic head is a bad bad thing

C - Change the batteries EVERY night, even if the show is run on a budget of
-$500, make sure new batteries are used, there's nothing worse that a mic going dead during a scene

D - Mic's dont come off during the show. No actor should remove their own mic, if mic changes are required, we specify three technicians back stage, one prompt side, one OP side and one in the green room to make sure changes are done properly

E - Frequencies... Make sure you maxamise the space you have available. If you have frequencies too close together, you could get cross-talk. We once did a show where we use 32 radio mics. It's okay but the school across the road was having their sports carnival with radio mics. Half way through "The Impossible Dream", we heard that John Smith had won the 100m race. Believe me the audience cheered and clapped.

Contributed by Tom Warnecke


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