At the USITT 2019 Tech Talk, James Lamb, President of Point Source Audio boiled down decades of audio knowledge into 5 handy key takeaways for ensuring production perfection. Given the audience response, we thought this was worth repeating.
Point Source Audio’s work with numerous sound professionals over the last decade has resulted in groundbreaking microphone developments such as the EMBRACE™ and the CO2 Confidence Collection microphones. Throughout this process, we have identified 5 key considerations that will help ensure you are choosing the perfect tool for each and every cast member and individual production.
You’ve found your sound, now what?
Picking the right microphone is not just about the purity of the sound it produces. While that is paramount and desired, in a real-world production there are other external factors that will affect the mic you choose. Some of these considerations you may not have any control over, and some will present themselves to be fun challenges to overcome.
What makes one mic better than another? There are numerous considerations, but we’ve identified these 5 to be consistent in nearly every successful production (from a microphone standpoint.)
1) Projection: What will you be doing with your mic?
Speaking – You want to capture the innate character of the person’s inflections and expressions.
Singing – The singing voice is the speaking voice with wider ranges in frequency and volume.
Amplifying – The microphone must be able to project the complex overtones of the instrument without altering their natural acoustic characteristics.
2) Placement: Where does your mic NEED to be worn?
Clothing – Easy to hide but causes concerns for staying in pattern and body noise.
Hairline – Stays in pattern but can be more visible and the element can drift.
Earmount – Stays in position and easy to hide but can capture less direct sound source.
3) Profile: How “low” do you NEED to go?
Blend – Sometimes a boom mic can blend seamlessly with facial hair or can completely disappear but be careful of the mic scratching against the beard.
Hide – Sometimes production demands require the microphones not be noticed by the audience.
Disappear – Other times, production demands require the mic not be seen at all.
4) Performers: Will your mics be “caught” in the act?
While your actors have got the moves (a lot of them), your microphones can’t be caught up in them. Securing the microphone at a consistent distance to the mouth is a persistent challenge of every audio technician. While your local art supply store will have tons of tape options, there may be some better alternatives than the unpleasant and unsightly taping of mics to the face.
Action – What physical challenges will the actors go through that affect mic performance?
Emotion – Your job is to capture the artists’ emotions, but movement and expressions can move the physical placement of the mic.
5) Props: Blood, Sweat, Tears & Rain
Make sure your mics can withstand the demands required by the production, even when the demands are not written in the script, remember that your job is to capture the story … no matter what that may include!
Checkout this video showing our microphones standing up to blood, sweat, tears and rain:
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About Point Source Audio
Point Source Audio (@PSA_audio) manufactures and distributes worldwide their SERIES8, EMBRACE, and CONFIDENCE collection of miniature microphones — a unique line of headset, earworn and earmounted microphones known for their robust bendable boom and waterproof features. The company also holds two patents for the EMBRACE concealable microphone as well as the patent for the world’s first modular in-ear comms headset that is supporting the hearing health for audio, lighting and camera techs using headsets everywhere from sports to space. Founded in 2004, Point Source Audio is headquartered in Petaluma, California. For more information call (415) 226-1122 or visit www.point-sourceaudio.com. Follow the company on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PSA_audio.
Picking the right microphone is not just about the purity of the sound it produces.