There are lots of choices when it comes to microphones. We are a big fan of the lavalier, lav microphone, or lapel mic.
These types of microphones are the perfect device for recording dialogue. If you want to have clean and clear audio then lav mics placed close to the interviewee’s mouth is important.
Two things to consider when using a lav mic are:
- How to position it
- How to connect it to your recording device
Let’s take a look at how to position your lav mic. It is important to think about the mic’s proximity to the sound (usually someone’s mouth). Lav mics typically feature an omnidirectional capsule, which means they will pick up sound from all directions. A good rule of thumb is to position the mic on the chest about one hand span from the mouth.
All lav microphones come with a clip that allows you to attach them to a piece of clothing. The easiest is when there is an edge of clothing to secure the clip to. Men’s clothing is the easiest with things like lapels, the seam of a button-up shirt, or even the edge of a tie. You’ll have to think creatively with women’s blouses.
If you don’t want to carry a million types of tape for every situation pull out your gaffer’s tape to hold the wires in place. Be aware of the rubbing of clothing and things like necklaces.
Keep in mind that a majority of people you are going to film aren’t used to being mic’d up. They can feel uncomfortable having a stranger run a lav up their shirt. So make sure you keep it professional. We typically ask them to run the mic up their shirt. After that, you can get it into the right position.
Your choice of lav microphone will dictate how you connect it to your device. Make sure you read up on the best way and test it out before you start filming.
For our documentary-style video production, we use a Sennheiser wireless omnidirectional with a camera mount.
Our Producer Aaron has a great video about audio. Check out the video “Let’s Get Candid about Audio.”