Creative Communities of the World Forums

The peer to peer support community for media production professionals.

Forums Field Production Mic choice and placement Filming live Theatre

  • Mic choice and placement Filming live Theatre

     Bill Davis updated 6 years, 2 months ago 3 Members · 4 Posts
  • Luke Younge

    June 17, 2014 at 2:57 pm


    I’m going to be filming a piece of live theatre soon and need some help planning the audio capture.

    I plan to shoot on 3 cameras.

    There are 5 actors.

    The main character is wearing underwear only and hence he doesn’t have much place to keep a radio mic. He roves all over the stage, at times standing on tables, lying on his back, jumping around etc. Not easy…

    I had thought to just get 5 radio mice, one per actor, but after hearing about the underwear thing I’m considering using short shotguns at the footlight positions and possibly some hanging mics…

    Thoughts? Ideas? ridicule? 🙂


  • nick ring

    June 25, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    There are others who can speak to this with far more expertise than me (and this may be too late to be useful), but…

    – Be mindful of the 3:1 rule (description 1, 2)
    – Hanging chorus mics can be useful, but if they are too high above the actor’s heads, you might end up getting more room tone than useful signal (and lighting buzz, AC vent noise, proximity to reinforcement speakers depending on location of those)
    – The more mics you have open the more you are increasing the room tone noise relative to the signal you’re trying to capture

    If you can map out the space and the actors’ marks that can really help you identify optimal mic placement. Will you have a dedicated sound mixer?


  • Luke Younge

    June 26, 2014 at 10:09 am

    Thank you so much Nick

    I’d never heard of the 3:1 rule and now understand much better what may go wrong.

    Practically speaking hanging the mics may be too high up, so there’s a problem there that you highlight too.

    I’m wondering now if I should just place one on each side of the stage, on a stand.

    Is that the best course?


  • Bill Davis

    July 3, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    Your initial instinct is totally correct. 5 radio mics into a multitrack recording system will net you the BEST audio recordings, hands down.

    As to the briefly costumed character (pun intended) this isn’t that odd. The singer Sam Harris did a lengthy tour in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and had a whole segment clad in nothing but a brief loincloth.

    I’ll pass along the technique described to me by one of the Sennheiser guys at NAB one year. Mic gets hair placement. Smallest possible transmitter placed in his briefs in a sewed-in pouch that allows for as much movement and comfort as possible. (costuming has to be on board, since you’ll likely need to make compromises between aesthetics and practicality. Experienced actors understand this and seldom give it a second thought since the point is to deliver their performance to the audience as well as possible.) Run the wire down the back adjacent to the spine, Use Moleskin to cover the wire – and then makeup to blend it into the skin tones.

    Particularly with tight briefs it’s not easy – but it IS possible.

    Good luck.

    Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out – video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.

Viewing 1 - 4 of 4 posts

Log in to reply.

We use anonymous cookies to give you the best experience we can. Our Privacy policy | GDPR Policy