One of the worst mistakes you can make when recording location sound is to rely on a boom shotgun mic without an operator. Shotgun mics actually have a very narrow sweet spot for good audio and with actors having the nasty habit of moving around as they emote, well, you need a boom operator who can roll with the action.
Yes, you can buy boom holders to statically position a boom, but unless your talent is in a neck brace it’s unlikely to pick up a solid performance.
Instead, in the absence of a dedicated operator you’ll need to fall back to using a lavaliere mic. Clipping it to the talent’s shirt works for basic interviews, but for dramatized pieces the intrusion of set rigging always destroys an audience’s sense of realism.
But wait: there is a solution to using a lavaliere mic on set without giving the game away. It’s tan and sticky and goes by the name of Moleskin.
You may have seen your Aunt May use Moleskin to keep her bunions from rubbing against her shoes, but this magical substance actually works three wonders for location audio.
Firstly, the strong adhesive fixes a lavaliere mic tightly and snugly to the skin of the talent (check for skin allergies before applying). Secondly, the thick material helps to absorb vibrations and the rustling of clothing against the mic. And thirdly, the skin tone color of the moleskin helps to disguise it even if it occasionally makes it into the shot (unless you’re working in 4K, in which case the VFX crew will be painting it out for you in post).
And it’s not only for audio work. Moleskin can help pin down awkwardly-fitting outfits when there’s no tailor on set.
For ease of use, check out the 12″x12″ packs available at Filmtools.com