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How should I mike a video shoot?

I'm going to shoot a digital video in my apartment and need to mic the actors. I was considering rigging a hanging mic; usually the actors don't move around too much (it's a confined area), but occasionally we do have action shots. I'm worried about background hum (from the refrigerator and camera) and noise from neighbors. What approach do you recommend, such as hanging the mic or placing it on the floor? What models that would help with my situation?

Reply: To reduce background noise, try these suggestions:

  • Keep the mic(s) as close to the actors' mouths as possible.
  • Use directional mics (cardioid, supercardioid, hypercardioid).
  • Record at a time when there is little background noise.
  • Turn off appliances and air conditioning while recording.

The Crown CM-31 supercardioid hanging mic should work well. You could hang it as close to the actors' mouths as possible without it getting in the camera shot. Because it rejects sounds to the sides and rear, try to stage most of the action in front of the mic.

Video professionals would use lavalier (clip-on) wireless mics on each actor (such as the Crown GLM-100E), with the receiver signals run into a mixer. Or they would use a shotgun mic, and have a mic operator aim the mic at each person speaking.

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