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Title: Mics and plastic masks.
Post by: Kevin Maxwell on May 14, 2021, 10:02:37 am
Mics and plastic masks.

This is for live shows with audiences. What are your experiences with micing up actors with masks on? Any techniques that you found that work best? The mics are all ear set mics. Mostly Countryman E6 mics. One place I saw them using a mask that is a combination of normal surgical type of mask with a clear plastic center. A friend showed me a formed all plastic mask and he put it on and talked. To me he sounded ok but he said to himself it sounded like an old phone sound effect, all tinny. 

One director wants to put the mic inside of the mask. I was wondering if in this scenario it would be best to tape the mic near the element to the plastic so it wonít rattle around inside of the mask. And I wonder if that might actually help, almost turning the mic into a boundary mic. I wonder what it would sound like taped to the outside of the mask. He may be trying out a completely plastic one that looks like the one my friend tried and it sounded bad inside of it. They want to have something so the audience (limited attendance allowed) can see the mouths of the actors.     

Any suggestions?

Title: Re: Mics and plastic masks.
Post by: Tim Weaver on May 14, 2021, 11:30:39 am
Mics and plastic masks.

This is for live shows with audiences. What are your experiences with micing up actors with masks on? Any techniques that you found that work best? The mics are all ear set mics. Mostly Countryman E6 mics. One place I saw them using a mask that is a combination of normal surgical type of mask with a clear plastic center. A friend showed me a formed all plastic mask and he put it on and talked. To me he sounded ok but he said to himself it sounded like an old phone sound effect, all tinny. 

One director wants to put the mic inside of the mask. I was wondering if in this scenario it would be best to tape the mic near the element to the plastic so it wonít rattle around inside of the mask. And I wonder if that might actually help, almost turning the mic into a boundary mic. I wonder what it would sound like taped to the outside of the mask. He may be trying out a completely plastic one that looks like the one my friend tried and it sounded bad inside of it. They want to have something so the audience (limited attendance allowed) can see the mouths of the actors.     

Any suggestions?

Don't know where you are, but if they are vaccinated, the fed has dropped the reccomendation to wear a mask.

I don't want to make this political. Just an option to think about.
Title: Re: Mics and plastic masks.
Post by: Tim McCulloch on May 14, 2021, 11:31:41 am
Mics and plastic masks.

This is for live shows with audiences. What are your experiences with micing up actors with masks on? Any techniques that you found that work best? The mics are all ear set mics. Mostly Countryman E6 mics. One place I saw them using a mask that is a combination of normal surgical type of mask with a clear plastic center. A friend showed me a formed all plastic mask and he put it on and talked. To me he sounded ok but he said to himself it sounded like an old phone sound effect, all tinny. 

One director wants to put the mic inside of the mask. I was wondering if in this scenario it would be best to tape the mic near the element to the plastic so it wonít rattle around inside of the mask. And I wonder if that might actually help, almost turning the mic into a boundary mic. I wonder what it would sound like taped to the outside of the mask. He may be trying out a completely plastic one that looks like the one my friend tried and it sounded bad inside of it. They want to have something so the audience (limited attendance allowed) can see the mouths of the actors.     

Any suggestions?

Get a mic and a mask and record it.  Position will probably be even more critical and maintaining it will likely be more challenging.
Title: Re: Mics and plastic masks.
Post by: David Simpson on May 14, 2021, 11:56:14 am
We have done a few events this year using these types of masks. Anything inside the mask is not going to work. We have B3's and, for the most part, found that mounting them higher up near the temple / high cheek area worked best for us. Perhaps you can approximate that as much as possible with the earset. The EQ was very different than we were use to, but it was OK. It will not yield wonderful sound, but that is probably not possible with any mask.

Good luck!

~Dave
Title: Re: Mics and plastic masks.
Post by: Milt Hathaway on May 14, 2021, 11:59:54 am
Did a Madrigal a few months ago with everyone wearing cloth masks. We were using B3s and I just had them clip them on the upper string holding the mask on. Basically it was a mask version of taping the B3 just in front of the ear with the cable pulled over the earlobe. There were variations of muffling due to the masks fitting differently on different people, but there was nothing we couldn't get past with a little EQ.

Local orchestra conductor is wearing one of those clear plastic masks so the players can read his lips while he's conducting. "Old phone" is a good description. I use an earthworks gooseneck on him, but it did take quite a bit of EQ to put some life back into his voice.
Title: Re: Mics and plastic masks.
Post by: Kevin Maxwell on May 15, 2021, 12:00:45 am
I tried a test with one of the actors wearing a Countryman E6 under a mask and it wasnít bad. It was HORRIBLE. It was much worse than I thought it would be. I expected it to be bad but not that bad. The mask is the type with a plastic window over the mouth. I donít think for this situation that there is a way to make an E6 work with these masks.
Title: Re: Mics and plastic masks.
Post by: Russell Ault on May 15, 2021, 01:23:12 am
I tried a test with one of the actors wearing a Countryman E6 under a mask and it wasnít bad. It was HORRIBLE. It was much worse than I thought it would be. I expected it to be bad but not that bad. The mask is the type with a plastic window over the mouth. I donít think for this situation that there is a way to make an E6 work with these masks.

That makes sense, now that I think about it: with the mic inside the mask you get all the reflections off the window with none of the attenuation that the mask itself provides.

I don't know what your GBF requirements are, but I'd be sorely tempted to start with the basics and see how a lav on the forehead sounds. If nothing else, it should accurately pickup the sound being made by the actor (although whether or not that's of benefit in this situation is, admittedly, an open question).

-Russ
Title: Re: Mics and plastic masks.
Post by: Helge A Bentsen on May 15, 2021, 06:37:37 am
Mics in masks (of any fabric) sounds unbelievable terrible.
Done a few streaming gigs where the presenters wear masks until they walk up on stage, PLFing the mic sounds horrible if they put the mask over the mic.

Did a gig where the presenter had to use a mask, clipped a DPA 4061 on his shirt, worked well. Speech intelligibility was ok, sound wasn't horrible, but not exactly perfect. No PA in the room, so GBF was no issue.
I think a mic in the forehead could work well for moving actors.