July 15, 2011, 7:40 p.m.
posted by sunlight
Reduce a Microphone's Wind Noise
Many sports fanatics have probably seen cameramen flanked by a group of personnel, one holding a long pole with a funny-looking, furry object hanging off the end. Well, both the pole and the fuzzy object have an important role in capturing quality audio. The pole, better known as a boom [Hack #53], helps position the fuzzy object, better known as a microphone (covered in a windsock), to capture the necessary audio.
Designing a Windsock
The first step in creating a windsock is to purchase the necessary fabric. Many fabric stores carry fake fur, which provides the best wind noise reduction. In fact, the longer the hair, the better. And while you're at it, get some of the gaudiest stuff you can find, because it's not going to show up on camera anyhow. (Okay, that last part isn't necessary, but it's fun!)
The amount of fabric you need to purchase depends on the type and size of microphone you are going to cover. If you purchase one-quarter to one-half yard of fabric, you should have plenty of material to work with. You can always explain to a salesperson what you are trying to do, if you have questions. (I know I'm a little out of my element inside a fabric store.)
Once you've got your fabric, lay it out, fur-side down, and place your microphone on top of it. Then trace two outlines of your microphone, allowing a little extra room for what will become the seam. This is usually about 5/8 of an inch. After tracing your microphone, cut out the two sections, as shown in Figure.
Two halves (left) and a completed windsock (right)
Place the two sections fur-side to fur-side and sew around the edge of the pattern. After sewing the two sides together, turn your new windsock right-side out and slide it onto your microphone. If the sock is too loose, you will probably have to rip the stitching and sew the sock again, this time with a larger seam.
The best time to use your windsock is, well, in the wind. Seriously, though, you can use a windsock in most situations to simply reduce the amount of extraneous audio your microphone can pick up.
Creating a Windsock in a Pinch
You might find there are times where you don't have a windsock with you, either because you haven't made one yet, you lost it, or you simply forgot it. Fortunately, not all is lost in such a situation. If you, or someone around you, are wearing athletic socks, you're in luck.
The in-a-pinch windsock is easy to create. Turn your athletic sock inside-out. Then, place the sock over your microphone and proceed as if you've created a perfectly normal windsock.