Hiding a Mic in Plain Sight

Hiding a Mic in Plain Sight


Hey indie filmmakers—Griffin here. Today I want to make this shot sound better. I’m hearing too much room right now,
because it’s a really wide shot and my mic has to be
farther away than I’d like. Of course I could get much closer
with a lav mic, but I don’t want to see this in the shot, and I don’t always like the sound I get
with a lav. It can be really bassy against my chest, and it can rub against clothing. Let’s bring the mic into the shot, all the
way down into the shot. Now I sound much clearer! So today I’ll show you how easy it is to
cover this thing up, but still get all the benefits from a close,
invisible mic. Most of the time,
I shoot interviews pretty close, and it’s easy to keep the mic
just below the frame. But as you can see in this interview from
my film Sriracha, in a wider shot, sometimes I mess it up. Nick: Back up a little bit for me. Nick: Back the mic out a little bit for me. Luckily, most of my interviews are on tripod, and all I have to do is find one clean part
of the shot, mask that on top, and no one knows how often I make mistakes. Here’s how we can get rid of this offending
microphone in Final Cut Pro X. I’ll start by holding option
and dragging this clip. That quickly creates a duplicate. I’ll lower the audio on this extra one. And then, I’ll bring up the T tool. That’s the Trim tool. And if I drag across the clip, it’ll change
the in and out points at the same time, and I can find a part of the clip that
doesn’t have a microphone in it. Just a clean plate—this part’s perfect. Now if I go to Effects, under Masks, and drag
Draw Mask onto this clip, I can now draw an area just around the microphone. So I’ll disable this clip with V first, just
so I can see the microphone again. And now I can draw around it. I’ll set some control points here. And now when I re-enable this clip, it hides
the microphone. And I could add some feathering, just to make
sure that no one will ever see this mask. Five years ago, I shot a commercial with a
lot of chicken noise in the background, so this is the first time I realized I could
put a mic blatantly in the shot. As long as none of these chickens fly up into
the top part of the frame, masking out the mic is easy. I’m still using that technique today. When I interviewed photographer Ben Grunow
in Switzerland, I placed myself right in the locked down shot,
so I could control his eyeline. I wanted his eyes looking near the camera,
and I’d also love the best audio possible. Just be careful that hands don’t move behind
this invisible microphone, or anything else moving in the background. So you know the drill: Find a clean frame,
draw a mask, and cover the secret microphone. It may feel like cheating, but don’t feel
bad about it. Hollywood has a tradition
of hiding mics in plain sight. “There’s a microphone right there
in the bush. You have to talk into it.” Thanks for watching, and if you’re
curious about the mics that I’m using, you can go to griffinhammond.com/gear for
a full list of the equipment that I use, including this Rode NTG-3 microphone. And if you missed it last week, here’s a link to watch
my review of the SpiderLight holster. [to Andy the cat]
Hey friend!

100 thoughts on “Hiding a Mic in Plain Sight

  1. I learn something new and useful with every video you upload. Didn't even know about dragging with the trim tool! Thanks for always making great and easy to understand tutorials.

  2. I accidentally discovered this technique a few years go while filming a doc about my grandmother. As I interviewed her, the boom mic slowly dipped into frame. A little masking saved the project. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I just recently used this same trick to take care of a flickering light in the background of an interview shot. I felt like griffin, when I got to the edit I was like, "how can I problem solve this?"

  4. A method I've used involved moving tree leaves so I took the clip from right after the Mic left the shot, time reversed it, dragged it to match up with the start of the original and masked accordingly. It worked seamlessly

  5. I recall you giving this tip in another video before. Great tip! Something that I've learned from you and used myself. Thanks Griffin.

  6. Nice explanation. I've done some DIY videos and just left the microphone in the shot, but I'm going to do this going forward.

  7. This is good for masking out people walking in the background in some situations, or distracting shadow movement (blend the still frame with the video – you can make the shadow less prominent).

  8. Some vfx guys may consider this basic but I always love how griffin shows creative examples I would have never thought of

  9. I’ve been doing this for years now, but In a much more difficult way. I take a screen shot then remove what I want in photoshop and save it as a png file. Then I overlay it back in final cut. I think from now on I’ll use your method, it’s quicker.

  10. Great tip! But what about changing light? For example if the sun goes behind a cloud? The light will change everywhere except for where you put the mask.

  11. I'm not sure if you already posted a similar video before, but it's a great trick! The problem is when shooting outside and the clouds block the sun. But it's just a little bit of work.

    Anyway, this trick saved me a lot of cropping and weird changes of camera.
    Thanks for sharing your knowledge, Griffin! =D

  12. Just found this channel through NoFilmSchool and what a rad tip! Will definitely use in the future, thanks for the tip. I'm excited to dig through your other content man!

  13. Hi,
    it really feels good to find someone like you too use this trick like many of us. Some times I crop / mask the same clip and run them simultaneously at different speed to get certain creative effects. Tools are wonderful if we know to use them rightly. Please do share more of your tricks….

  14. Hi Griffin. I am having trouble understanding how to perform this trick. Where can I go to learn this technique ? Thank you

  15. Oh man, that really helped! Can you make a video showing how you adjust audio levels in FCPX after the the record, and what extra check you do before exporting the file for youtube upload ?

  16. Hey, Griffin!
    I have the opportunity of shooting video ads for some businesses in my city.

    Many of them Require Liability insurance.

    What company do you recommend for short term (1 day) insurance and or long term (6mos – year) policies at an affordable price?

  17. There's a mic in this bush…you have to talk into it. Actor proceeds to bending into the mic whenever she speaks, gold! XD.

  18. Is this even real 4k? Joking apart, in your video about Ben Grunow you can see a fly that's suddenly appearing at 2:25. But I wouldn't have noticed it without seeing this video first. I hope it makes Nick happy :D.

    I've been using this technique to make several things disappear (e.g. people walking through my shot). But I never thought about using it for better audio, what a great idea!

  19. A lot of people I've worked with thought it was crazy that I did this. A few hours of masking is well worth the vastly improved audio in my opinion.

  20. I really enjoyed this video. Well done, nice sense of humor, I never would have thought about masking out a mic. Cool.

  21. wow, i learn a new amazing techincs, i will tryit some day , i like see the quality of your videos, super like 🙂

  22. how do they film movies where its a wide shot and the camera is moving and 2 people are talking from a distance , are they being laved up?

  23. Thanks for the hint, mate!! It can be risky though especially when you shoot outside and with light changes. All of a sudden you have tha mask that lighter or darker than the rest. But in a room it is definitely THE winning trick. Cheers!

  24. This is a good idea and it sounds great, but also remember that you shouldn't use a shotgun Mic Indoors and that you should use a hypercardioid. Always capture sound from above pointing down at the source not from the side… Ive done shots like this a lot for interviews and with the right stand you don't need to be doing post like this!! But he is right sounds WAY better than a lav. Just remember folks Sound travels up and out. You are losing information if you boom straight at the subject! Doing location sound, ive had to capture quality sound in the worst weather so trust me when I say this.

  25. Thanks for this Griffin! I’ll definitely be using this technique! I wish I knew about it earlier. I love shooting wide interviews but that usually meant the microphone had to be further away.

  26. love it love it !!!!! please bring back more episodes of Cheap VS Expensive Things !!!!!!!!!

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