Baffles for Outdoor Interviews


Dear All,

I know Colin Hart does this quite a bit but I wanted to ask if you guys know what I can use to baffle a voice better.

I am going to be doing some live interviews in an outdoor environment near a crowd of people.

I am most likely going to use a CMIT 5U and an SM57. There is a possibility I am going to have to use a Senn 416 but I really hope I get a CMIT 5U for this job.

Anyway, what are some clever things I can do to baffle the person?

I'll position the person so as to get the best null spot on the mic (which a shotgun does pick up more in the back than on the sides I read recently),

but is there a material I can bring and put up to help lessen the echo of the nearby brick walls of a building and the noise of the crowd which will be about 25 yards away?

Someone offered using some plexyglass but I thought that will just make it sound too phasey and sound horrible.

Look forward to your responses.

  • Ryan


Posted 2010-08-06T21:02:53.000

Reputation: 14 155

I've always found explaining the inner workings of a quadratic equation works very well to baffle someone. – ianjpalmer – 2010-08-07T09:26:07.167

Most shotgun microphones do pickup more from the rear than the sides because of the way the capsules are designed. Apparently the new Schoeps SUPER CMIT has a preset mode that almost eliminates the rear lobe of sensitivity using DSP, although the Schoeps website does say that you can occasionaly get artifacts. – Haydn Payne – 2010-08-07T09:40:22.920

I checked out the Super at NAB and the extreme setting sounded MP3-ish to me. – Utopia – 2010-08-07T20:33:15.883



There's a fabric called "black out" material. It's for blocking light coming in through windows, but it's just hefty enough to provide some help in situations like the one you're describing. I've used it a few times in the past to reasonable effect. The only issue is you need some way to hang it, kind of like a curtain. You'll have to experiment a little for the are you're in to get the best results, and it may require a 2nd (or even 3rd) layer spaced a few inches apart.

It's the best thing I know of next to building actual baffles, but the logistics involved here aren't all that much simpler. Of course, also watch out for strong winds if you do use these.

Shaun Farley

Posted 2010-08-06T21:02:53.000

Reputation: 14 704

Thanks! There's going to be a full production crew there so I'll scope it out. – Utopia – 2010-08-07T01:47:50.083

I just realized how silly the "watch out for strong winds" line is. haha. the biggest problem with this solution is that you may need a bunch of grip gear to set it up. it can be a pain in the butt. it's not a great return on investment by any means, but sometimes you take what you can get. – Shaun Farley – 2010-08-07T02:01:44.797