• Mic Now, or Forever Ruin Your Audio


 
Wedding season is upon us y’all!

And while everyone loves a beautiful wedding film, it’s equally important that they sound beautiful too.

Even though sound is so important, it’s something that can easily go overlooked when so much focus is put into capturing the perfect image. But if you don’t put the work into getting proper audio, the quality of your film will suffer.

If you want your wedding feature to have great audio, you need to think about when to mic the bride and groom, and you need to know how to mic them properly.

Which parts of the wedding do I mic?

Basically, you want to mic the bride and groom as much as you can throughout the shoot, because it’s going to help you tell a more intimate, real story. Obviously you can’t mic them all the time, but it’s not going to be enough if you just mic the ceremony.

Try to get mics on them at different points during the days leading up to the ceremony as well, like during rehearsal dinners and other events that might be taking place in the brief time that you’ll be there filming.

Beginners will often make the mistake of only micing the ceremony. If you don’t mic the bride, groom, and other members of the family you think will be essential to telling the story, then you’re going to miss out on the good stuff.

Seriously — if you take the extra time and put in the extra effort to mic the bride and groom at other times during the festivities, like during the first look scene you see in the tutorial, you’ll be amazed at the intimate conversations and moments you’ll encounter.

Catching these moments are going to allow you to tell a deeper and more personal story about your couple.

So how do I actually mic them?

We wanted to make this tutorial because we know that there are a few different ways audio can screw up your wedding feature.

If you don’t hide the mic properly, it’s going to show up in your film. But if you hide it in a way that will cause it to rub against clothing, you’re audio is going to sound like crap.

In this tutorial, Ray recommends the Sennheiser G3 Wireless Kit or the Countryman B6 for wireless micing.

Here are the best techniques we have for keeping mics hidden while avoiding rubbing against clothing:

How to mic the Groom:

  • Just inside the natural gap of the collar. Hiding the mic in the gap of the collar is going to give it the space it needs to avoid brushing against the clothing. Stick the mic underneath the natural gap of the collar, and run the wire under the collar and down the back of your guy.
  • Underneath the tie. The mic is more centered here, and the tie acts as a natural wind block. Be sure to find a spot where there is the least amount of contact with the tie and the dress shirt — just under the knot is best. Drop the audio recorder in the inside pocket of the jacket.

How to mic the Bride:

  • Wrap a lite wireless audio recorder with a hairband and secure it with gaff tape. This will be worn around the bride’s thigh. Plug the lav mic into the recorder, and run the mic up the bride’s dress, and use medical tape to secure it in the middle cleavage area of her dress.

But remember…


With various dresses, mics, people, and situations, you’ll always need to be ready to get creative. But for the most part we find that these methods for micing work great.

Do you have any creative methods for hiding a mic in a wedding film?

(Or hiding a mic even if it wasn’t a wedding film?)

Let us know below!

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37 Thoughts on “Mic Now, or Forever Ruin
Your Audio

  1. My brides would never let me mic her expensive dress like that, let alone touch her boobs :) Personally I think micing the bride is taking it a bit extreme, I don’t want my bride to remember an uncomfortable mic on her wedding day. The groom mic is more than sufficient as she’s usually standing right in front of her husband looking directly at him speaking into his mic while giving vows. RX3 for clean-up in worst case scenarios and I have good audio and a happy bride.

    • I think that is mighty presumptuous that all those wedding filmmakers out there who do mic brides are 1. working with people who don’t have dresses they care very much about, and 2. that mic’ing them needs to be a bad experience.

      Certainly been far from it, in our experience. And sure, there are a tons of shortcuts you can take in any production. But every concession is a step away from the strongest story.

      P.

  2. Do you have any trouble with the B6 lav mic popping out of the mp3 recorder because it has a screw cap on it? I believe Countryman makes the same version with a standard 3.5 plug.

  3. Hi, I was wondering what your opinion whas on this audio issue I’ve been trying to troubleshoot. Often at weddings when we use a Seinheiser Lav plugged into a zoom h4n we get a squelch sound very often. It almost sounds like someone is swiping there hand across the lav but if you look no one is moving or touching the lav. It seems worse when the officiant and groom talk at the same time. (We pin the lav on the groom). In all of these situations there was a microphone (not ours) for the officiant so I’m wondering if that’s causing the problem or is the problem because we have been leaving the receiver too far away? Regardless it’s making me feel like wedding audio is impossible sometimes!

    Any insight greatly appreciated!

    Laura

  4. What model of IRiver MP3 player is that for the bride? Because like Andy said, I’m having a hard time finding a small mp3 player like that that has a MIC In port for the mic. I know you said that’s an old model, but are there some newer models out there that would work and are small with the MIC in port?

    • We have the old IFP series – 700 to 900 i believe. We are talking 3 to 4 years before any have been manufactured. We haven’t seen other mp3 players that off a mic in and levels with a good recording quality.

      A smart lav from Rode is a neat solution – plugs into an ipod or iphone and has an easy interface with great options. Get an arm band for workouts and you can hide the device well too.

      P.

  5. Which B6 version do you guys use? The one for “standard use” or one with “extra headroom”? I understand that it comes in two versions?

  6. Hey guys,

    At 4:36, you show an audio recorder that you use with a strap for the bride (the one on the left). I’ve searched for it online for quite some time and have come to the conclusion that it doesn’t exist. Yeah, please tell me where I can find this…

    • Yo Andy!

      So that recorder is actually an iRiver mp3 player that also records audio. That model is quite a few years old now, they probably have newer versions of it. We used that one so that the bride would be comfortable — it’s small and light, good for attaching to someone’s upper thigh.

    • Margaret! Thank you sooo much…so many of those small mp3 players do not have an audio in plug. This will help a ton. Thanks again!

  7. I’m having trouble finding a recorder that I can plug my Sennheiser G2 lavalier into without it popping back out (because of the locking connector). Any suggestions?

  8. thank you so much for this video! i have had great success so far with your recommendation of the seinhesser lav system, and it has increased the professionalism in my story-telling.

    one question: i know its as often as possible. but LITERALLY, when do you mic the bride and groom? if you mic them both for the first look, and the ceremony is an hour away – do you just leave it on?

    …do brides freak out when they realize they’ll have a transmitter/recorder strapped to their thigh?

    …or do you only mic the bride for special moments, as opposed to the entire ceremony?

    • We mic the bride right after she gets her dress on. We can then turn the recorder off and on as needed. If that means the first look right away and 2 hours until the ceremony, we just go off and on in between. Anything less than an hour and we roll straight through. We’ve never had any brides freak out or have a negative reaction. This is all explained a long time before, and it is well placed so that it is very easy to get comfortable with.

      For the groom, it is often right after he is dressed and ready. That too would stay on. With a Sennheiser wireless and lithium batteries you can run all day on the transmitter. Proper mic placement on the groom and he can’t see or feel it.

      P.

  9. I’m trying to rent/purchase the B6 Lav but the sales rep says this: “The Countryman needs 1-3
    volts of power”.

    Which voice recorder provides 1-3 volts of power via the 3.5mm jack?

  10. Thank you Still Motion Team for a very insightful tutorial! One suggestion is if you could please slo-mo the actual wiring of the mics on the models. (I got a little confused as to how to snake the wires down the clothing… like specifically where does it go when you drop it? Also, what if the mic moves?) Also just a request but one day, can you please show us newbies what common audio epic fails are like (and how to correct them?) Thanks again! :-)

    • In terms of wiring talent, I do the following:

      0 – Make sure you have fresh batteries in your receiver and transmitter packs and ensure they are working properly…. Last thing you want to do after spending 5 min wiring someone up is to have to undo your entire setup because your mic isn’t working.

      1 – Affix a rycote undercover (adhesive + fabric) to your mic.

      2 – Let the power of gravity work with you and feed the mic connector through the shirt – falling down towards the ground (I ask them to untuck their shirt before this).

      3 – Once the mic connector is through the shirt, pull the slack cable to make it taught. Stick the adhesive side of the mic to one of the positions above or anywhere else you can hide it and still get good sound. Optimally the mic is not blocked by any fabric.

      4 – Plug the mic into your transmitter pack and clip onto their belt / pants. You can then have the talent tuck their shirt back in.

      5 – Give a once over and make sure that everything is completely hidden. Make sure the transmitter pack is turned on and hidden with fabric from the shirt or jacket from behind.

      6 – Check your sound!

      If you’re worried about your lav coming undone or moving around (for example if you’re shooting someone who’s going to be running around a lot) I would reinforce your adhesive attachment with a small piece of gaff tape.

      Hope that helps!

  11. A question, once you mic up the bride and groom with their own recorders, rather than a wireless transmitter feeding a recorder, you just turn on the recorder and go, right?

    Do you end up with a two or three-hour audio file, uninterrupted? How do you handle the work flow on that? Do you take that big file and cut it up into pieces of audio that you think you will use, and then sync it with Plural Eyes, or by hand? No clapper slate to help you, if by hand, right?

    Also, do you get nervous not having a way to monitor the audio while it is being recorded? And if the recorder failed during the ceremony and you didn’t know it, do you have a doomsday backup plan? I guess ADR is out of the question . . .

    Great tutorial, by the way, thanks! Getting good audio is so hard!

    • Yes indeed – you will end up with some very long audio files :)

      Via Pluraleyes and manual syncing you can put together some great sounding audio for the whole day. I haven’t had too many problems that syncing by hand couldn’t fix if does Pluraleyes fail.

      I also recommend other recorders in addition to the lav on a recorder – you can put a lav on the podium mic with a small recorder. You could split the signal off the board into a recorder – all while having the officiant and groom wired on lavs…. Once in a while these small recorders can freeze up while writing a long 4 hour file. Don’t panic; let the recorder finish and usually you’ll be fine.

      If the recorder were to ever fail – that’s why you’re using plenty of backup sources :)

      As for slates / clapping – I always add a spoken slate to a recorder I’m just placing. I include the date, couple’s name and what is being recorded (e.g.: “Jenny and Joel, reception, podium mic”). This way in post you have something that instantly identifies the track at the beginning.

      And in terms of sync slate – I like to try and clap or snap near the mic while cameras are rolling pointed at you (this really depends on the situation and isn’t always practical or appropriate).

  12. You hit on my #1 question in shoot wedding videos – PLEASE tell me how you keep the photographers out of your videos?? I have done a great job of building a great relationship with them, but I still can’t keep them from fighting for the same shot. Do you let them have the “real” first look, and then “stage” another take? Do you ask them to not go past a certain point or rehearse the camera movements before hand? Or do you just step in their way and hope they don’t get mad? Also – How do you deal with who is “in-charge” for the pre-ceremony coverage – it is always a crazy day no matter how organized and on time the bride is?

    • As Pat always says, know your STORY to the detail of which line of the vows you want to film and how you will cut them in post.

      And explain this passionately to the photographers. Most likely they won’t know these details as well as you will so it will give you priority in filming these elements.

      Also communicate which parts of the wedding you need to film (relating to your STORY) and let the photographers know that you will back off as soon as you get to film these elements. So for instance if you only need two lines from the vows, let the photographers know that as soon as you capture these two critical lines you will back off and the rest of the vows is “all yours”.

      And contact the photographers ASAP, try not to wait during the wedding day.

  13. Toupee tape as a base to stick to the shirt, lay down the mic, then moleskin (Dr. Scholl’s) over the top.

    One benefit with using a recorder instead of wireless is not having to argue with a venue over the use of frequencies, as they sometimes run their own for use with sound system (especially for the officiant) and can be concerned about outsiders mucking up their vibe :P

    • Very true – especially when going between multiple locations, the wired mic solution is a fantastic way to set it and forget it :)

  14. Great tutorial! I recently attached a mic under the collar like you were showing here, but it sounded very muffled. Did you have that problem as well?

    • Usually minor adjustments of angling the mic so that it can “peak” just outside the tie will solve this. Play around and see what works best for you.

    • Set your levels before the ceremony/first look. Usually people don’t yell super loud and if they do and it peaks the mic you can default to your on-camera mic. I set it to get mid-low level speaking. To prevent the recorder from turning off make sure you have fresh batteries. Most recorders like the Olympus DM-620 (highly recommended, because it’s tiny) or the Tascam DR-05 have a “hold” switch so buttons cannot be pressed. Make sure to gaff tape your cord into the recorder though so it doesn’t accidentally get unplugged!

    • Use auto-level for audio. For $100 you can pay an audio engineer to clean up any noise from the pre-amp. It is more important that we not complicate the story-capturing process by worrying about manual audio levels during a live event like a wedding.

      Also if you are using an external recorder like the H4N, then chances are you will be working with a fairly clean pre-amp anyways, so auto-levels isn’t an issue for AGC noise.

    • Yes indeed – setting your levels first for general speech is best.

      Use high capacity batteries for your recorder and make sure the “hold” switch is enabled once you’re up and running.

      While auto gain can taint the sound of your source, it is a great way to capture sound in a moving environment.

    • Nick, you’re comment about not worrying about the levels is not correct. Manually setting levels to the medium range will eliminate clipped auto, and no one can salvage audio that’s been clipped.

    • Not really an issue Greg. I put my Zoom H1 at level 60 (mic dependant) recorded at 24bit & you get crisp clean sound when you boost level in post. After going with a recorder I’ve never looked back. I still have my wireless systems but use them seldom. The new Tascam DR-10 also has the ability to record a back-up track at a lower volume.

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