Hiding lavs in collars

So the first technique I want to show you in this series is two different ways to hide a lav mic on a button down shirt, so this is a very common type of wardrobe that people might have. My friend Nick has volunteered to help us out here, so he’s going to let me hide these microphones on him. What do we need to do this? Ideally we want again, some moleskin. And the reason we want moleskin, just to be clear, is because it’s going to be a little bit quieter, so if this does rub against the clothing, it’s not going to make nearly as noise as it would if you used a piece of gaffer’s tape.

So you can certainly use gaffer’s tape if that’s all you have, plenty of my students do, however, it’ll definitely be quieter if you use some moleskin. So that’s what we’re going to use, and in my case, because he has a darker shirt, I’m going to go with this black moleskin which we got from filmtools.com. So we’re going to go ahead and start with our microphone, first thing we want to do with our mic is go ahead and remove the wind screen, we don’t need that, and we don’t need our tie clip. Make sure you put these in a safe place by the way. These are very commonly lost, I’ve lost a ton of them in my day, so hopefully we’ll keep those around, but we don’t need em when we’re doing this part.

So go ahead and unbutton your top button right there. And where we’re going to put this by the way is between the second and third button right here from the top. If they had the shirt buttoned up all the way, I might go a little higher, but I think this is going to be fine for what it is that we’re doing, so I’m going to have Nick go ahead, and pull this up, through the bottom of his shirt. And just leave it dangling out there. And you can hold onto this right there for me. And what I did, was I went ahead and pre-cut a piece of moleskin. This is about, a little bit longer than an inch. Maybe an inch and a half long, half inch wide.

Now whatever size works, it’s probably a little bit longer than I need, I’m going to snip off a little bit right there, just so it’ll fit between the buttons. And I’m going to go ahead and peel the back off of the moleskin. So you will need a little bit of finger nails to pull this one off. So there’s our moleskin, nice and sticky. I’m going to place the moleskin on the microphone and I’m going to place it on the inside of his shirt near the edge. I want it near the edge so it’s picking up audio, but I don’t want it sticking out so far so that people can see it. So I think that’s about far enough in right there.

Most important thing when you’re placing this on the clothing is making sure that you don’t cover up the little holes that are on the front of the microphone because that is where it actually picks up audio. So you can put moleskin on the side of here all day long, but don’t cover up the front of that mic. So I’m going to go ahead and tuck that back in and I’m going to go ahead and have Nick button up the front of his shirt. And excess cable just gets tucked in. Let me just fix that up there. Excess cable just gets tucked into your waistline. And then we’ll turn and have him. It’s fallen loose there. Let me go ahead and get that back in place. And I’m going to have Nick turn to the camera. And we’ll see if you can see where that is. And if I’ve done my job properly, you shouldn’t be able to tell exactly where this is within his shirt right there.

So, that is one technique for putting it between the buttons. Now if you have a polo shirt, same exact technique. It just goes between that bottom button of the polo and the little divot in the shirt right there. Now the other technique I want to show you using a button down shirt is using the collar. This is a little more, you know, this one isn’t quite as useful but does come in handy from time to time. You never know. Again it’s always good, I think, to have an arsenal of tricks. I don’t like to be just a one trick pony. I like to be a six, seven trick pony whenever possible because you never know what resources you’re going to have on set.

So, this I’m going to go ahead and have him turn around, let me show you guys what I did ahead of time right here. Was ahead of time, with his wardrobe, we cut a little slit in the back of his shirt right there. The reason we put that slit there is because we gotta hide this in the body pack inside of his shirt. So, I’m going to go ahead and, sorry if I’m making you a little, uncomfortable here and Nick, we’re going to stuff some of these wires down there in the back of your shirt. And we’re just going to pull this out through the hole. And we’ll get to body packs later. So don’t worry about the body packs for now, but I just want to show you how this one works.

So it goes under the collar, and we can turn back around towards the camera. And I’m going to get another piece of moleskin. Just cut that right there. And the same exact thing only this time, it’s going to go under the collar right here near the front. I’m going to tear off a piece of moleskin there and I’m going to get my little trim mic, and what I want to be careful of is that I don’t again cover up the area of the microphone where it’s picking up the audio. So I’m going to go ahead and put that right on the other side of there. And I’m going to stick it on the inside of his collar.

We got that right there underneath and now we’re going to just turn around. And you guys can see, you probably can’t see that under there. If you can, I’ll just tuck it in a little bit further. Turn back around there. So, the big thing about this technique that you have to be careful with is you can see that it favours only one side. So, this is on his right side. So, if I have a dialogue scene where he’s sitting on the bench talking to somebody sitting on his right, no problem. He turns and delivers dialogue this way, there’s going to be a noticeable difference in the sound perspective and he’s going to sound a little bit softer. So, be very careful if you use this collar technique.

It really only works for dialogue delivered on one side and not dialog delivered on the other, but those are two quick and easy techniques that you can use to hide a lav mic on any type of button down shirt or polo shirt.

Artis, Anthony Q. (2014) Hiding lavs in collars. Retrieved from https://www.lynda.com/Shooting-Video-tutorials/Hiding-lavs-collars/129017/170736-4.html?autoplay=true