5

In a recent video project I came across some "popping" which I believe was in part due to the person being too close to the mic.

Without verbally prompting them, what would help remind them to keep the correct distance? Any tips, devices etc.?

  • 1
    Is the mic standing on a stand or are people holding the mic in their hands? – Saaru Lindestøkke Jan 23 '13 at 10:54
  • +1 Good question @Bart Arondson - the former - the mic standing on a stand. – therobyouknow Jan 23 '13 at 12:37
4

Something that helps in recording studios is to get people to sing over the mic rather than directly into it. You'll notice that they generally hang a condensor mic from the roof and position it at eye level, higher than the mouth. This gets rid of all sorts of pops and plosives, as the wind generated from speaking doesn't crash into the mic.

For a speaking engagement, you can simply set up two mics – one that is a little closer and higher, which you turn right down, and position the real mic underneath it. This helps for people who naturally want to go right up to the mic and talk directly into it – which never sounds as nice as talking over it and turning the mic up a little more. I'd also look at getting a foam 'sock' for the mic, and using a high quality dynamic mic, for example an SM-57.

Hope this has helped.

  • +1 upvote and accepted answer, thank you Ben! Sorry it took so long to respond with feedback (this apology also applies to the other answer posters - thank you to you too!). Reason for accepted answer is that your solution requires no briefing beforehand to the person speaking. This is particularly useful for on-the-spot vox pop interviewing of the public who might not understand or would forget non-verbal signalling. Also a physical barrier may not be available. That's not to say these aren't good ideas but they might not be possible. 1 / 2 – therobyouknow Aug 1 at 19:46
  • 2 / 2 Finally your solution of having 2 mics gives the choice of using the audio from one or the other, or a blend. Thank you again. Sorry to see that you are not active on this group (greyed out profile) at the moment. I certainly appreciate your answer! – therobyouknow Aug 1 at 19:47
9

As the mic is mounted on a stand a pop-filter would be a very easy solution.
If this is visually not acceptable (as it's a video project) you could think of adding a physical barrier between the person and the stand. For example a (DIY version of) this barrier.

  • +1 For the physical barrier. I'll leave the question open for a few more responses and try to close a bit later. Thanks. – therobyouknow Jan 23 '13 at 14:43
  • +1 upvote added - don't know why this upvote didn't register the first time, thank you! – therobyouknow Aug 1 at 19:41
4

Sometimes a pop filter is not enough.

If you have an audio engineer on site monitoring the signal while the singers are recording this live or in a studio have the engineer work out a hand signal that can be interpreted as "back off from the mic".

Perhaps a reverse high five or a simple hand retracting would work. The key here is to have both the audio engineer and the talent on the same page to whatever gesture is chosen.

Think about how professional baseball players use hand signals all the time to communicate from coaches to players and players to players e.g. catcher and pitcher. When you think about the complicated signals these guys use this seems like a walk in the park.

  • +1 upvote thank you for the non-verbal signalling tip! – therobyouknow Aug 1 at 19:42
3

Is the audio level clipping or is it actually a pop from breath or spit or something? If the audio level is simply clipping, then a gain adjustment may be all that is needed. If it is actually a problem with breathing on the mic or spit hitting the diaphragm, then you either have to tell them or use some kind of barrier. I don't know any other options.

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