Monday, October 27, 2008

Presentation Fashion Tips from an audio guy

I was running audio for an event yesterday in a small room and it was being video taped.
The main doctor arrived and to my dismay, she was wearing a white blouse with Ruffles down the center. It looked pretty, but I knew it was going to cause me problems all day.

ruffled blouse for work

You might ask, what does the audio guy care about the presenter's blouse?

Have you ever been to a presentation where the presenter stood on stage and the lavaliere microphone was clipped to the lapel of their sport coat? When they were looking straight ahead the volume of their voice was one level, as they looked at the audience to their left, the volume got louder because now their mouth was closer to the microphone, and then they shoot their head to the right, and the level almost drops out.

This is the audio engineers nightmare to deal with.

The best place to place the lavaliere microphone is about 4 inches under the chin, clipped onto the presenters shirt or blouse.
This way the microphone is close to the origin of the sound, and because it is center, when the presenter turns their head to speak, it stays pretty close to the same distance from their mouth.

Their are other techniques that can be used quite successfully if you have the right microphones, but most of the time, you get whatever the AV company that you rented them from had on the shelf.

So, Gentlemen presenters, wear a shirt that has a buttoned collar, for a casual presentation, wear a polo shirt. Do not wear a Black T-shirt under a sport coat. You may think it looks cool, but there is no place to put the microphone in the center. If you clip the mic to the top of the T-shirt, then odds are, it is going to mash against your neck and make all sorts of jabba-the-hut sounds.

The men are a lot easier to deal with than the ladies. Usually, the men show up to present with a tie on, or at least a dress shirt, so it makes it pretty easy.
Women have 6,423,891 different blouse styles that have been created just to challenge the audio guy during the presentation.
So, ladies, even though it looks sexy, low cut blouses don't work for using lavaliere microphones. When you clip the mic to the center, it is 10+ inches from the source of the audio... Your mouth. Ruffles in the center... they look pretty. They sound horrible. Every time you move, the entire audience is going to hear the Ruffles... Rustle! Necklaces that are big and noisy should be left for the day of the conference when you are not presenting.

Oh, and lastly, Take off the lanyard with your name tag on it. The lanyard hits the head of the microphone and makes a ton of noise that is distracting.

The moral of the story here is:
The success of the presentation does not only lie with the crew. The presenter has responsibilities just like the Audio Engineer, Lighting Director, and Stage hand. As you pack your suitcase, take a second to choose the clothing that will best accomplish a successful presentation even if you really wish you could wear that flashy new outfit you just got.

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