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I love the story Ren Klyce tells in his Soundworks profile for Benjamin Button about how one of the field recordists recorded ambiences inside retirement homes to capture completely natural and real conversation and ambience.

I have also heard from a story of a recordist using a pair of glasses with microphones mounted on them to record ambiences of bars and restaurants.

What types of things have you done if you've needed to get ambience in this fashion?

Also, is that glasses set-up (if it exists) expensive?

And one more thing: If people aren't aware they're being recorded for a big-budget feature, will there be legal issues down the road if someone is prominent in the mix and recognizes their voice? (if this could ever happen...)

EDIT: Quick search yielded this: http://www.linkwitzlab.com/images/photos/stereo-mic2.JPG Would this sound good? I own a few small B&K capsules I could possibly do that with...

Maybe I'm making this too complicated... I suppose it would be far better to just use an ORTF or XY bar with a couple mics set up and positioned behind the bar well before it gets busy and call it a day...

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6 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

This place is known for these type of mic setups:

http://www.sonicstudios.com/

Other options:

Hide your zeppelin in a duffel bag or tiny dog carrier.

Lav mics taped to your shoulders, or I like to use a hardshell motorcycle backpack as it doesn't make any cloth noise.

Sanken CUB mics are easily disguised on anything with a flat surface.

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I use the glasses rig all the time. I have 2 Countryman B6s that I tape to the inside of my glasses frame with topstick tape. Works like a charm. Sounds great! No fabric noise, just have to be careful of how loud you breathe / what noises you make with your mouth! It's also a great rig for wiring somebody on set! The mic moves around with the talent's headmovement, and you don't get cloth noise.

You could also use the lavs and tape them by your ears, or use a similar mount to what I did in my blog here.

Or you could buy a pair of those $200 binaural mic sets (don't remember the name, somebody help me out here?)

Also, I have been known to walk around with an MKH50 up my sleeve, conceled by my hand, cable running up my sleeve into a recorder in a messenger bag. People never notice it, especially if you're wearing earbuds!

I think there's a thread about this from a few months back...

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@Colin, do you not get significant shadowing from taping the mics behind the frame? I would have thought so... –  Justin Huss Oct 9 '10 at 9:02
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i believe we've discussed this before. the greatest disguise is your expression. you can hold a mic in your hand pointing at someone and they might still not realise you're recording.

stick stealthy mics on a backpack and have a walk. (mind the wind and the mics' direction)

i like clipping miniature mics to the neck of my (then preferably black) t-shirt and controlling record/stop via remote control. busy people never see what's happening.

a hat is popular for hiding mics too.

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I was at a talk on Wednesday about field recording and one of the panel (field recordist Justin Bennet) was talking about stealth recording. He often uses small Binaural mics (I think he said they were Core Sound mics) and has adapted them to be able to sit in his ears so they look like headphones. No one ever realises he is recording.

You might also want to check out this old post on SSD.

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I use binaural microphones that are attached to my ears. I can upload what I've recorded at new years if you wanna hear. They thought I had ear plugs on for the loud booms or was listening to music because it looks like music ear plugs.

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Both Microphone Madness and Sound Professionals in the USA supply miniature omnis mounted inside croakies, which are spectacle retainers made from a stretchy fabric.

This webpage from Microphone Madness has some product photos to inspect:

Microphone Madness croakie mounts and mics

Their MM-HLSO model consists of Sennheiser MKE-series mics and I've used these with some success in situations where even in-ear binaurals might look out of place. The drawback to them is that they are extremely sensitive to wind noise. Even ceiling fans can be a problem if you're recording right underneath one.

I've also concealed Shure WL-183s inside an acrylic beanie hat and that's worked quite well in colder times of year, and the fabric provides some minimal wind noise reduction at least.

The newish MS-TFB-2 in-ear binaurals from Sound Professionals look very tempting. They're reasonably priced and have a good spec on paper at least. With the beige cabling option, sharp-eyed and inquisitive bystanders might think you're wearing hearing aids of some sort.

MS-TFB-2 mics

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