Kicking myself for not asking this here sooner, but I'm starting on a film which will involve a number of scenes where both cameras and the actors are on roller blades.

This poses some challenges for recording dialogue. At the moment I am thinking of doing a combination of using a super long pole and making long arcing moves. Where that doesn't work I will be putting felt bottoms on my softest shoes, using a short boom pole and following on foot.

Depending on the blocking these aren't the ultimate solutions and will likely be rather tiring. If anyone else has suggestions on how to approach this I would love to hear them. I don't have wireless mics in my kit, but just in case someone else does, mic placement tips would be appreciated. Given all the body movement involved in skating I am thinking that mounting to the helmet might be best - though very few characters are wearing helmets.

Given the noise roller skates make, it may just be recording for ADR reference, but I want to try to get the best possible recording on set. Time permitting I will also endeavor to get wild recording of dialogue that is masked by skating noises. Have I missed anything?

4 Answers 4


One thing you might want to consider re: the noisiness of the 'blades, would be to bring along some bearing lubricant. Generally speaking, it'll be the bearing that makes the largest amount of noise. The wheels themselves are usually quite soft and quiet on a smooth surface.

If you can sneak a look at the rollerblades before shooting starts and find that they are a bit noisy, you could make yourself the hero of the production by suggesting that they at least change up the bearings, which shouldn't be very expensive. You'd be amazed the difference it'll make for the camera to have a super-smooth ride, not to mention actors who may, or may not be too great on 8 wheels.


definitely wildtrack everything. Get some radio mics, use stickies from rycote and place them around the solar pleuxs, capture boom too. Search mic placement on the forum, there was a great discussion recently about good lav mic placement.


This one of the few cases that you actually want a mic on the camera. It will never be good enough for a final production track, but it will work as a guide track for ADR.

A simple video mic like the Rode Video Mic Pro would be ideal.

With the camera on roller blades you won't be able to boom close enough, as there is no way of knowing what the camera is covering, as blocking will not be accurate.

I would also use radio mics and make sure that you are out of the way so that there is no chance of you ruining a shot.

  • Heresy! Sacrilege! Blasphemy!
    – g.a.harry
    Commented Aug 5, 2011 at 11:11

Off my head, the only film I remember with skates and dialogue is Boogie Nights, where Roller Girl skates everywhere...

Lords of Dogtown and Elephant had lots of skateboards but the bulk of their dialogue was delivered when they were off their boards, which leads me to think that it may be the same for your film? Realistically, if I was blading, I don't usually speak, much less hold a conversation. But if I do have a friend with me, we do yell out to one another. Definitely not complex and long sentences, so you may get away with a boom mic.

I reckon even if you are using the location sound as a guide track, the wireless mics may go a long way in the long run. If the camera is constantly moving, I doubt you can get in too close to the talents without knowing the shot composition and size. Moreover, if they end up doing long takes where the characters talk, move off to the next place, stop and talk again, you'll be pretty screwed moving with that boom. I doubt you'll be on wheels, and if you run with them, that's gonna be another can of worms.

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