Solo videographers and camera operators are increasingly turning to Bubblebee Industries’ versatile range of microphone accessories to help them capture audio that matches the quality of their film footage.
Often, either because of budget constraints or the need to keep production crews small and agile, the person behind the camera is also responsible for sound. In these situations, having the necessary knowledge, tools and accessories to be proficient at both tasks is vital.
For photographer and film maker Tom Price, Bubblebee accessories have proved a game changer, especially when he is working outside on location where he has to contend with external factors such as wind noise, clothing rustle and unwanted ambient sounds. Price works for numerous NGOs and charities around the world covering social and environmental causes. He recently returned from the Democratic republic of Congo where he was using Bubblebee concealers with miniature DPA lavalier microphones to capture interview footage.
“NGOs and charities need photography and video content for websites, reports, marketing material and so on, and it is my job to supply it,” he explains. “Usually on overseas trips I am working as both cameraman and sound engineer because the budgets in these sectors don’t allow me to take a dedicated sound engineer with me.
“When I’m shooting video, my motivating principle is to be as immersive and authentic as possible. I don’t want people to think about me or what I am doing, therefore I don’t want them to see the equipment I’m using. I also want to do justice to my subject matter. The dignity of the person I am interviewing is really important to me and I want them to sound as rich and clear as possible.”
Price mainly uses Nikon Z6 and Z72 cameras in conjunction with a recorder. He also has a small Røde shotgun microphone for his camera, as well as DPA 4060 lavalier microphones.
“The Bubblebee concealers for my lavaliers are absolute magic and I haven’t found a quicker or more straightforward way of mic-ing someone,” he explains. “They are so simple and straightforward to use and the best thing I’ve found for reducing clothing rustle and vibrations. They are also a very robust way of fixing a mic to someone without it being visible.”
In some areas of the world mic-ing someone with a lavalier can be difficult because it involves touching them and putting your hands inside their clothing.
“Most men are OK about it, but I always get another woman to mic up my female interviewees,” Price says. “Mic-ing up a sweaty person or someone wearing a stiff waxy fabric can also be difficult. People will accept a degree of intrusion but sometimes it is hard to get under layers of clothing and longer robes. Luckily Bubblebee has plenty of accessories that I can use to solve these problems, including, if all else fails, really strong tape. No kidding, I once had to use this tape on someone because his chest was covered in thick, tightly curled chest hairs. Taking it off was awful. He was very macho about it, but the guy was nearly in tears!”
Another Bubblebee product that Price uses is the Windbubble, which fits over his lavalier microphones and cuts out any wind noise.
“I was recently filming a UK Government minister in London, outside the Ministry for Health and Social Care,” he says. “The wind was howling, and she wanted to have it blowing at her, so her hair wasn’t in her face. I used a lavalier and Windbubble and the result was fantastic, despite the wind blowing directly onto the microphone. You couldn’t hear it at all. It was such a relief to have equipment I could trust.”
Danish freelance TV photographer and editing technician, Thomas Michelsen, is another camera professional who is upping his audio game thanks to Bubblebee accessories.
Michelson, who recently returned from Poland where he was filming a documentary about Ukrainian refugees, says: “My first Bubblebee purchase was a short-haired version of The Windkiller - an imitation fur protector with an inner foam core that fits many different types of shotgun microphones, including the Sennheiser ME66 and Røde NTG2 microphones that I use with my Panasonic HPX3100, Sony FS7 MK2, and Canon C300 cameras. It blocks wind noise, and it works extremely well. I tend to use it when I am filming outdoors, especially in situations where a person is talking to camera, and I haven’t had time to fit a lavalier microphone.”
Michelson recently added a Bubblebee Big Windbubble to his kit bag, using it cover his Sennheiser EW 100 G1 handheld microphone.
“It is strong and easy to use – you just slip it over your microphone, and it is held in place by elastic,” he says. “I often do interviews in different conditions – sometimes indoors, where there is a need to sort out noise from other people, and sometimes outdoors where there might be wind or ambient noise to contend with. Having a proper fur for my handheld microphone is really useful because it means I can capture much better sound.”
As a Dane, Michelson adds that he is especially pleased to be supporting a company that was founded by his own countrymen. “Denmark doesn’t have a massive film and broadcast industry so it’s great that Bubblebee Industries has made such an impact on the world stage,” he says.