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Sound Track: The Invisible Mike

Sound Track: The Invisible Mike

Sometimes, mikes should be heard and not seen.

Viewers indulge the display of the tools of our trade in certain types of videos. A handheld mike here, a tripod there--the occasional intrusion of equipment doesn't affect the message much. In most cases, though, our goal is to make viewers forget they're watching a video. The accidental reflection of yourself, your camcorder and a blinking red light in a car window doesn't exactly help sustain the illusion that this is real life.

The same goes for microphones. An on-the-street interview gains some credibility when your talent holds a professional-looking mike. A quiet, romantic discussion between two young lovers, on the other hand, is hard to swallow when there's a microphone clearly visible between them.

This month, we'll explore ways to get great-sounding audio from external mikes your viewers will never know are there. We'll get our money's worth from one simple principle: if the camcorder doesn't see it, it doesn't exist.

Hiding Out
One of the best ways to get clean, up-close sound and dialog is to hide a mike on-screen with your talent. This works best when your talent is stationary, giving you the chance to plant a mike somewhere in your "set."

Remember that your camcorder captures a two-dimensional image from a single vantage point. If one object obscures another, the obscured object doesn't exist as far as the camcorder is concerned. The real key to stealth miking is finding surfaces or objects behind which you can place a mike.

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Tags:  January 1998
Thu, 01/01/1998 - 12:00am