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Post Index » STAGE TECHNIC » Pro Sound


Media College (Chương 1 : Âm Thanh) (7,8) - Page 5 PDF Print E-mail
Written by tuyenphuc   
Thursday, 18 March 2010 10:57
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Microphone Stands, Mounts & Clamps

An important consideration is the way the microphone is held or mounted. A poorly mounted mic can lead to all sorts of problems, whereas a well-mounted mic can lift the audio quality significantly. Things to consider when mounting a mic include:

  • The mic obviously needs to be correctly positioned, facing the required direction. You should be able to reposition the mic if necessary.
  • The mic must be safe, i.e. Won't fall over, get knocked, get wet, etc.
  • The mic must be shielded from unwanted noise such as handling noise, vibrations, wind, etc.
  • Cables must be secure and safe. In particular, make sure no one can trip over them.

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Boom Stand

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Tabletop Stand

There are many ways to mount microphones. Let's look at the most common methods...

Microphone Stands

The most obvious mount is the microphone stand. There are three main variations: The straight vertical stand, the boom stand and the small table-top stand.

Boom stands are very useful and versatile. If you are considering buying a general-purpose stand, a boom stand is the logical choice.

Some things to watch out for when setting up a microphone stand:

  • Always position the boom to extend directly above one of the stand legs. This prevents the stand from tipping over.
  • Don't wrap the lead a hundred times around the stand. This serves no purpose except make your life difficult and possibly increase twisting pressure on the lead. One turn around the vertical part of the stand and another turn around the boom is all you need.
  • Never stand on the legs. You will wreck them.
  • Never over-tighten clamps. Do them up until until they are firm - no more. Don't try to adjust clamps while they are tightened - undo them first.

Note: Boom arms controlled by sound operators will be covered on the next page.

 

Clamps

Instead of using a dedicated mic stand, you can use a specialised clamp to piggyback on another stand (or any other object).

Advantages:

  • Less floor space is used, more mics can be squeezed into the same area.
  • Less equipment to carry (clamps are smaller and lighter than stands).
  • Can sometimes be useful reaching difficult positions.

Disadvantages:

  • Can sometimes be tricky to set up and more difficult to get exactly the right positioning. Also more difficult to move or adjust once set up.
  • More likelihood of unwanted vibration noise creeping into the mix.

Clamps are often used in musical situations where there are many stands and many microphones. The classic example is the drum kit which is surrounded by cymbal stands - clamps are well suited to this application.

Clothing Clip

Lavalier (lapel or lap) mics are usually attached to the subject's clothing using a specialised clip. Obviously the preferred position is on the lapel or thereabouts. This provides consistent close-range sound pickup and is ideal for interview situations in which each participant has their own mic. It also means the subject doesn't have to worry about mic technique.

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If you have time, discreetly hide the cable in the clothing. If there is nowhere to place the mic on the subject's chest, try the collar.

Headset

A headset with its own mic works well in situations such as:

  • When the person talking needs to listen as well as speak.
  • When the person talking must be able to move around with their hands free.
  • When there is a lot of background noise, likely to be distracting the the subject.

Headsets are ideal for stage performers, as well as sports commentators, radio announcers, etc. Like lav mics, they provide very consistent audio.

Shock Absorption

In order to minimise unwanted noise caused by vibration of the stand or mount, a shock absorption system may be used. This isolates the mic from the vibrations, usually with foam padding or elastic suspension.

Boom Microphone

The boom microphone is very popular in film and television production. A directional mic is mounted on a boom arm and positioned just out of camera frame, as shown on the right. The cable is wrapped once or twice around the boom arm.

Booms have the advantage of freeing up subjects from having to worry about microphones. They can move freely without disturbing the sound, and concerns about microphone technique are eliminated.

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You can make a simple boom from just about anything which is the right shape. A microphone stand with its legs removed is a good option, or even a broomstick or fishing pole.

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A good boom will have some sort of isolating mechanism for the microphone to prevent vibrations being transferred to the mic. This may involve elastic suspensions, foam padding, etc.

The distance between the microphone and subject must be carefully controlled. The mic must be as close as possible without any chance of getting in frame (you might want to allow a safety margin in case the framing changes unexpectedly). It must also maintain a reasonably consistent distance to avoid fluctuating audio levels.

Make sure the boom doesn't cast a show on the scene.

In the example on the right, the sound operator is also acting as a guide for the camera operator as they walk backwards, keeping a constant distance from the walking subjects.

 

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