Montreal-based broadcast rental company Productions Headroom, which specializes in equipping TV productions, has developed a unique application of Point Source Audio microphones to capture the audio of contestants on the Canadian verison of the “Love Island” reality program.
The ‘always-on’ nature of reality TV filming meant that the cost of repairing or replacing microphones would quickly add up and this led to the team looking for a more robust approach. “The breakage we were having was at the element and it was due to manipulation — the cast would manipulate the microphones every day three or four times a day getting in and out of the pool — which is always hard on the equipment,” explains Jean-Sébastien Roy, founder of Productions Headroom.
“I was using Point Source Audio waterproof mics a couple of years ago for another TV show so decided to reach out,” he continues. “We did some testing with the CO-8WLh high-sensitivity omnidirectional lavalier, and compared to other more expensive miniature mics, we couldn’t tell the difference in sound quality.”
Since the contestants can be bare skin at times, the waterproof lavalier microphone would not be able to be worn with a traditional clip. Roy engineered custom necklaces containing the mics that could be worn subtly. The mic goes inside a bead, between weights and windscreen foam, so there is double protection from the wind. To steady the mic wire, rubber rings were added on the outside.
“I’ve seen a lot of necklace mics around, they are often super-ugly and not very easy for the contestant to put on or take off,” Roy says. “This one is nice because it’s neat. You know it’s a mic, but it’s not obvious.”
The necklace mics got a thorough test on the show and came through with flying colors. “After three quarters of the season only two mics had broken, which is a miracle,” Roy concludes “With our experience in the field, we know that with other brands, we would’ve needed a lot more mics to cover the losses.”