Hiding a Microphone in Plain Sight

Videographer Griffin Hammond (executive producer of Indy Mogul) made a quick video showing you how you can easily improve the sound quality of your videos by getting the boom mic that much closer to your talent while still making it “invisible”.

With microphones, the general rule is that the more you can get the mic closer to your talents mouth (within reason of course) the better sound quality you are going to get (better sound to noise ratio basically).

The problem is that in some cases especially in wider shots the mic can get in the way. Using a lav mic is an option (which you can, of course, hide using various techniques – see here for example), but as we discussed in our recent review of the Deity shotgun mic recently – since most lav mics are omnidirectional – they pick up more of the surrounding noise and you end up with worse sound to noise ratio.

So what is Hammond’s tip for hiding boom mics in wider shots? pretty simple – shoot the mic in the frame close to your talent (on the side or above your talent) and in post-production (Hammond uses Final Cut Pro but you can do this in Premiere as well – see below) using a mask (just like you mask object in Photoshop).

One thing to keep in mind though. You have to be very mindful that the area where you mic will be “hiding” is completely and totally stationary throughout the entire shot (i.e. nothing moves in this area – no birds/planes passing by, no cars and no talent moving his hands or his head to this area). Also, you need to make sure that you have a shot where the mic isn’t in this area and it looks the same so you can use it for the mask (you can mask from a closer area but there could be lighting differences in some cases). Also be careful that the mic will not cast an unwanted shadow that will be visible in your shot.

Bonus video: How to mask out objects in Premiere 

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You can find many more helpful photography tips on our Photography tips section here on and  LensVid. If you like this short video you can check out more of Hammond’s videos, you can check them out here on LensVid.

Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of LensVid.com. He has been a technology reporter working for international publications since the late 1990's and covering photography since 2009. Iddo is also a co-founder of a production company specializing in commercial food and product visual content.

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