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Neil Jones4,584 posts since 23 Dec 2001
Central (West) Midlands Today
Here's an interesting thing I've been meaning to post about for a while.

Observe the following video of Jeremy Beadle during a Game For A Laugh type skit on TV-am in 1984:


You'll notice from about 45 seconds in during some of the side shots there is clearly a white cable that runs from Beadle's microphone to somewhere on his person, presumably something in an internal pocket.

We see on many other 70s and 80s shows that with big microphones like these they have a big thick cable that runs off stage somewhere (indeed you can usually see the performers rearranging it so they don't get themselves tangled up) so I presume what Beadle is using here is like a tape recorder of something? At the end of the clip he's back at Camden Lock with a traditional lapel microphone on his tie so I'm going to presume it was a deliberate decision to use a handheld mic on location for this skit.

I presume sound quality has improved since 1984 and modern day lapel mics are better quality than they used to be, but was there any real difference in the 80s quality wise between a 'traditional' microphone and a lapel one?
Steve in Pudsey9,469 posts since 4 Jan 2003
Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
My guess is that the cable goes to a transmitter in Beadle's pocket (similar to the type used with lapel mics), the receiver of which is feeding into the camera either directly or via a portable mixer operated by a sound recordist. Portable tape recorders of that era which were capable of decent quality recording were the likes of Uhers, which were certainly not discrete. Even if you could get a tape recording, getting the recording in sync with the pictures in the edit would be challenging.

I suspect the use of that style of mic was simply that it was more flexible to be able to use the same mic to do interviews.
Last edited by Steve in Pudsey on 22 November 2018 8:55am
Write that down in your copybook now.
Inspector Sands12,727 posts since 25 Aug 2004
At the end of the clip he's back at Camden Lock with a traditional lapel microphone on his tie so I'm going to presume it was a deliberate decision to use a handheld mic on location for this skit.

Yes the only sort of mic he could use for that is a stick mic. He's talking to passers by, so a lapel mic isn't suitable.

The only other option is a boom but that's not really suitable for a hidden camera stunt and is less flexible for Beadle.
noggin13,884 posts since 26 Jun 2001
Yes - almost certainly that is a stick mic plugged into a radio mic transmitter body pack (the same or similar transmitter you'd use with a lapel mic).

These days you often see stick mics with integrated radio transmitters (or the horrible 'plug in the bottom' transmitter bricks) but in those days I suspect you had a small stock of body packs and connected either lapel or stick mics to the same transmitters.

The sound person would probably receive that mic with a radio mic receiver on his mixer so he could monitor levels, possibly record effects on a second track (if they had two track recording) or mix in effects (if it was single track) etc. In that they era may well also have been using uMatic VTRs rather than Betacam camcorders so the sound person may have been carrying that too - or there may have been a separate VT engineer doing that. (When 1" open-reel portable recording was used a VT or Vision engineer was often in the crew to handle tape lacing etc.)
Neil Jones4,584 posts since 23 Dec 2001
Central (West) Midlands Today
Thanks all Smile I presume the wireless distance for outdoor use wasn't particularly large? The camera is never far away from Beadle so I guess it's about the length of an average Bluetooth transmission range today, 10m or so? If the microphones are wireless in the studio I presume they're in a better environment for that.