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Author Topic: Etiquette for putting countryman/lav style mics on the talent  (Read 4099 times)

Philip Norman

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Is there any standard etiquette (in the big pro world) for rigging headsets, earsets, lapels etc on the talent in terms of:

Would you be expected to wear gloves or something of that nature? Some people can be touchy about other people touching them so just thinking about making the talent feel comfortable. (On the other side of this idea is that some people would freak out if you approached them at a show wearing sterilized gloves, holding a small thin object....)

How much can/should/do the talent assist with rigging the mic?

What if you really need to install a countryman style earset on the talent and they feel it is very uncomfortable: are there any suggests for dealing with this?

Obviously these questions will apply more easily to people not so accustomed to wearing mics, like the jittery CEO at the corpy or the organizer at the fundraiser etc

Many Thanks!
Phil
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Kyle Van Sandt

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Re: Etiquette for putting countryman/lav style mics on the talent
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2014, 02:21:19 pm »

Usually what I do is give them the pack, tell them how it works, where it should go, and go from there.  If they ask for help, I dive right in.  If they don't and they have it on right, we leave it at that.  I also try to drop off the packs as early as possible so they can take their time putting it on.  If they don't have it on right I tell them what needs to happen.  By that time usually they just ask me to do it.  If you do have one of the jittery types and you can get out infront of it, getting a mic check done before house opens is always optimal... puts them at ease and you can get what you need without a "your on in 3 minutes" type thing. 

Now, for an actor I usually give them the pack and check their work.  If they have something really weird in wigs or makeup you can help then. 

I would avoid the gloves at all costs though.  No reason for that.  All it is going to do is make people uncomfortable. 
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brian maddox

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Re: Etiquette for putting countryman/lav style mics on the talent
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2014, 02:39:35 pm »

basic rules.

1.  No Gloves.  yeah, just no.

2.  Be polite but also feel free to just wade right in.  Most people just think of you as a professional doing a job so even though they may not like having you in their space, they'll understand and be fine with it.

3.  I usually kinda talk my way through it as i go as well.  'i'm just gonna run this wire down the back of your shirt' kinda thing.  And if it's really awkward, i'll just tell them exactly where it needs to go and have them do it themselves and then check their work.  Pack placement on females with flimsy clothes can get tricky.

4.  Breath mints!  Use them.

Thats all i got right now....
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Justice C. Bigler

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Re: Etiquette for putting countryman/lav style mics on the talent
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2014, 03:10:06 pm »

Yeah, you tell your A2 to do it while you go "check something" at FOH...lol  ;)


Seriously though; if it's a one off, you talk them through it. If it's a long running theatre or music show, you usually have walked through the process with wardrobe, stage management on your A2 and sound designer to make sure the placement works for everybody.


As for gloves, I wish we could use them. But if there is any tape involved, all it does is stick to the gloves and makes your job more difficult. But I really hate having to deal with sweaty and make up covered actors at the end of a show without gloves...it's just nasty.  :-\
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Justice C. Bigler
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Justice C. Bigler

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Re: Etiquette for putting countryman/lav style mics on the talent
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2014, 03:15:18 pm »

Also, I think it needs to be mentioned that you should NEVER, EVER, mic up a child, whether the same sex as you or not, by your self. ALWAYS have a parent, or ward, or wardrobe rep present. This protect you and them.
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Philip Norman

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Re: Etiquette for putting countryman/lav style mics on the talent
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2014, 03:32:22 pm »

As for gloves, I wish we could use them. But if there is any tape involved, all it does is stick to the gloves and makes your job more difficult. But I really hate having to deal with sweaty and make up covered actors at the end of a show without gloves...it's just nasty.  :-\

Yeah this is why I actually had the weird idea that some people might use gloves, wacky idea, anyways glad to hear some info on how its done it the pro world!:)

I agree no mic'ing a child is common sense.

The way I have been doing it is using a unit to demonstrate while they put their units on.. for some people though it really is a challenge.....
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Jordan Wolf

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Re: Etiquette for putting countryman/lav style mics on the talent
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2014, 04:07:50 pm »

Phil,

This keeps on growing in length, but I keep thinking of things to add...sorry  ::)

I work in Corporate AV full-time, so I am very used to miking up people who are used to it, and also those who are not used to it.  I also do some theatre work and most of this still applies when using clothing-mounted lavs and earset/headset mics.

What I do:
 - Introduce myself as "the sound guy" and that I will be helping them with their mics.

Lavs:
 - Men w/ Ties: Wire runs down the back of the tie and through the loop/tag that hold the smaller, free end.  Bodypack goes in lower chest pocket of jacket if receivers are at FOH (small/medium rooms); centered on back of pants if receivers are backstage with remote antennas.

 - Men w/o Ties get the connector of the lav dropped down their outer shirt between the 2nd and 3rd button, and pull it out near their waistband; I do not assist with "finding the end" unless they ask me to.  Beltpack placement same as above.

 - Women w/ pant suit get mounted in the same manner as Men w/o ties; beltpack goes centered on back of pants (form over function...they'll probably just move it there anyway).

 - Women in dresses (oy!): Lav mounted center-mass and the wire is run over the shoulder (clip to back of collar if possible); beltpack is either: handheld (ick), mounted - facing inward - to back of dress, or (with permission and, possibly, assistance) mounted to the bra strap.

If there is any way to let people know what to wear prior to them showing up, do it.  Otherwise, have a handheld available for them to use...it's not often worth the hassle.

Earsets/Headsets: same as above, basically.  Add tape/clips and improvise as necessary.

When dealing with minors of any gender, absolutely have them or their parent/guardian help them with mounting bodypacks, and be specific and descriptive with how/where you want things done.  I am volunteering to help with the sound at a high school play, and make sure that everyone understands what needs to be done and how to go about it.  The fact that everyone knows I also do this for a living help a lot...that professionalism goes a long way to making everyone comfortable, especially parents.

Also, be aware of how the bodypack antennas are oriented - unless you're using helical antennas, you'll want them in the same physical plane (horizontal, vertical, etc.) as the receiver antennas.

There are also smaller bodypacks that are easier to mount/hide...the Shure UR1M comes to mind.  It's about the size of a 4-pack of Duracell ProCell batteries.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2014, 04:14:38 pm by Jordan Wolf »
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Spenser Hamilton

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Re: Etiquette for putting countryman/lav style mics on the talent
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2014, 05:54:48 pm »

Also, I think it needs to be mentioned that you should NEVER, EVER, mic up a child, whether the same sex as you or not, by your self. ALWAYS have a parent, or ward, or wardrobe rep present. This protect you and them.

This.
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Kristian Stevenson

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Re: Etiquette for putting countryman/lav style mics on the talent
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2014, 09:41:34 pm »

Let me start by saying that while I don't know everything, this is what I have found works best for us.

I mic up 2 to 3 different guest speakers a week at our weekly convocation services and like you say, it can be awkward depending on the person. Like others' have mentioned, I always introduce myself and talk through everything I am doing in case they aren't accustom to getting miked. And like Brian said, breathe mints are a must.

I usually start by handing them the pack and saying it can go in their back pocket or on their belt (works fine for our side-stage wireless setup). I usually mic the speakers up 20 minutes before show starts and turn the pack on then (and lock it) so there's no chance of it being forgotten about. This also takes some responsibility from the speaker and gives them one less thing to think about. I just tell them they don't need to touch the pack and we will turn it on when they step up to speak.

We primarily use a DPA 4066 headset (but our convocation host always asks if they have a mic preference ahead of time; fixed podium mic, lavalier, or handheld but we try to stick with the DPA). I find that a lot of people don't know how the double ear design goes on their head and often have to place it for them (again, talking through what I'm doing as I place it over their ears from behind). While adjusting the headset, I always make sure I'm not poking them or making them uncomfortable with the ear pieces. If they are wearing a suit jacket, I'll usually ask them if they plan on wearing it on stage (99% of the time they will realize this question has to do with running the cord down their back and will proceed to take it off to make my life easier with the cord). If they aren't wearing a suit jacket (or have on a sweater or t-shirt, I'll ask them and drop the cord down behind that layer of clothing and have them catch the connector (so I'm not the one fishing up their shirt for it).

Once the cord is run, I like to be the one to connect it to the pack to ensure the connection is solid. Once they put their jacket back on (if they have one), I'll adjust mic placement and pull a little wire slack back up so when they move their head, the wire doesn't tug on the mic. Afterwards, I thank them for their time and make sure they don't have any questions for me.

If there is a female speaker, we have a female crew member trained in all of this to do the miking. I let her get creative with any pack placement on dresses, bra straps, and the like. Makes for a less awkward situation for both parties.

Hopefully this gives you some ideas.
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Kristian Stevenson

Bill Schnake

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Re: Etiquette for putting countryman/lav style mics on the talent
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2014, 11:36:22 am »

Is there any standard etiquette (in the big pro world) for rigging headsets, earsets, lapels etc on the talent in terms of:

Would you be expected to wear gloves or something of that nature? Some people can be touchy about other people touching them so just thinking about making the talent feel comfortable. (On the other side of this idea is that some people would freak out if you approached them at a show wearing sterilized gloves, holding a small thin object....)

How much can/should/do the talent assist with rigging the mic?

What if you really need to install a countryman style earset on the talent and they feel it is very uncomfortable: are there any suggests for dealing with this?

Obviously these questions will apply more easily to people not so accustomed to wearing mics, like the jittery CEO at the corpy or the organizer at the fundraiser etc

Many Thanks!
Phil

Phil, I have been putting body and mics on people for about 25 years or so.  Here are my simple rules:

Introduce yourself and explain where the mic is going and why.  This also includes belt packs.

If you are putting a mic on someone who is 18 or older ask them if they are comfortable with you putting the mic on them or if they would like to get someone who can follow your direction

If you are putting the mic on them beware that touch, however professional, can be misconstrued

Always verify that when you have finished the mic doesn't pull or 'feel weird' to the individual

Always make sure you have fresh batteries in the pack prior to the pack being placed on the body

Children under the age of 18 or over the age of 18, but are still students:

My contract clearly requires that a parent, teacher or adult other than I put the mic on the child and make any adjustments to the system at my request.  There is way to much risk and liability in perceived wrong doing with a minor.

Good Luck.

Bill  8)
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