Just like to say, this is quickly becoming my favorite site.

I know this is more of a Q and A for post-production, but I've seen many people have production sound experience too. Not to mention the production sound on this is directly correlated with the post.

I'm doing all the sound for a reality webisode series. And I've never done 'reality tv' work. How do you capture the chaos cleanly?

I have a gameplan, but I'm curious to know if anyone has experience with a few points.

1.) There will be up to 3 or 4 cameras running at a time. I may need to use the dialogue of things that are happening at the same time. Am I stuck relying on the camera mics? How have you found the quality to be? (these are higher end HD camera's w/ mini shotguns on them).

2.) There is a kitchen. A tight, busy spot. Hard enough to get a camera in let alone one w/ a boom mic and operator tagging along. I'm thinking a boundary mic would help. Can anyone confirm if that will work? or will there be too much noise for a mic that is omni and not focused? Maybe something like a countryman, or an AKG 414 mounted in a corner? Something with more direction to minimize early reflections an omni would surely capture.

I will be using wireless lav's on 2 main characters and possibly 2 or 3 more for secondary characters.

3.) Lastly, I don't watch reality tv (I'm going to have to force myself to watch it, I shudder at the idea). Do they sweeten the enviroment with foley? Being so focused on capturing clean dialog, I'm planning on doing so. I'll be recording room tones and numerious sounds of things at the location when it's not busy.

Sorry for the length, thanks for reading.

  • It's not at all a Q&A site aimed at post-prod... it's anything sound related ;-) your question is awesome. Commented Aug 22, 2010 at 19:33
  • @Andrew Thanks man, feels good readin' that from the man's keyboard himself.
    – Auddity
    Commented Aug 25, 2010 at 7:27
  • Regarding boundary mics, nearly any omnidirectional dynamic mic will turn into a boundary microphone if it's placed against a hard surface. They take a little more tweaking to get the sound right than a dedicated boundary mic, but it might help keep your budget down. Commented Aug 25, 2010 at 11:43
  • I'm a little behind on this post, but I just asked myself the same question. I'm in college for film, and just got done with my sound class, and was wondering how reality TV would be mic'ed. Take the show Survivor for instance. They're supposedly in the wild fending for themselves, so how do you mic something like that? My first guess was lavs, but sometimes they don't have a shirt, or they'll be on water. Plant mics were my second guess, but that wouldn't really work either because there's times where they're in water, or when they go on random walks. It'd be pretty impractical to have a boom
    – user1018
    Commented Apr 25, 2011 at 5:33

1 Answer 1


Yes, you'll definitely need a good set of lavaliers for the important characters. If you can get a boom/boom op in there, you may want to use that as your backup (I know this sounds counter-intuitive, since we usually prefer shotguns to lavs) or as a means to capture secondary/tertiary characters who aren't already covered.

A lot of television programs, reality and non included, use a vast array of planted mics around the set; especially in heavy congregation areas. Omni lavs can work well for this as well. If you're allowed to drill holes in things, you can easily hide those mics and have them peeking out where you need them. If you're not, then you can always tape or mount in some other fashion (i.e. the underside of the cabinets in the kitchen might be a good spot to set up a little array of mics). Unless you're really lazy in your placement, you can get away with some very out in the open mics that most people won't notice in the shots.

  • DAP Blue Stik (formerly know as Tun Tac) is a good non-destructive, no residue solution for temporarily mounting lightweight objects like lavs. Commented Aug 22, 2010 at 18:44
  • @Shaun Oh yeah, Blue Tac we called it at my old studio, good stuff. Thanks for the array idea. I'll probably implement that. I can't drill holes unfortunatly. Most likely be a series of three cardiod mics in each third of the room. I had a chance to view the room and found some good spots to hide mics.
    – Auddity
    Commented Aug 25, 2010 at 7:44

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