Working Live: The Hot Mic
Its no secret I love working live! The adrenaline rush is special with everything on the line!
These days a shift has occurred in the live arena that involves teleprompter. If you find yourself broadcasting a cable news show remotely the chances are they're going to ask you to provide a 'hot mic'.
The 'hot mic' refers to a direct, uninterrupted host feed going straight to the teleprompter operator in New York. Scripts are changed and amended on a minute by minute basis these days so the teleprompter feed is no longer local it is part of the return over the satellite.
Heres a look at my recent setup for MSNBC's network stage at the Republican debates.
My Soundboard for The Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd
During these hour block shows I use my 26 x 4 x 2 soundboard to give me the greatest flexibility in routing options. Be careful if the technical manager says that an ENG mixer is all you'll need, that may be true for the number of guest but it won't be true to properly route and control the sound of the show. Here's a look at my rig on a recent several day remote show broadcast with MSNBC.
This is a dedicated IFB to the host with producer interrupt and cues that the guest
won’t hear in their ears. Typically I’ll have several comteks on hand to provide
onsite producers with an ear with an in as well as for myself of course. This is either
a hard line feed to a JK Audio Remote Amp or a feed into a comtek. In this case it was
a hard wire.
Aux 2 – Guest IFB
This is simply a clean show only feed so the guest can hear any tape that’s played or
if a remote crosstalk comes into play. The only interrupt tends to come from audio
in NY to verify the guest is happy and a quick hello from a producer.
Aux 3 & 4 -
Empty in reserve.
Aux 5 – Hot Mic
The hot mic is the direct host mic feed to the teleprompter operator in NY. This is a
big deal for the ‘prompter to be able to hear & focus on the host’s read. If this isn’t
working pucker factors go way up!
Aux 6 – Comtek
This is the Host IFB on the comteks. I wear one as well as the A2’s and any other
onsite producer types.
The beauty of using the Aux Sends is that you have a wonderful array of options.
You can assign anything you want to any of the sends. For example, the crowd is
noisy and the host & guests want to hear each other in their ears its easy to reach
over and pump it into their IFB. During the Daily Rundown Chuck’s mix-minus
dropped out so I was able to grab his aux and bring it down while still monitoring
the comtek in my ear until the situation was resolved.
We had 7 landlines dropped to us and here’s a quick look how those broke down.
Dialer 1 - Host IFB
Dialer 2 - Guest IFB
Dialer 3 - Hot Mic
Dialer 4 - PL / Co-Ord (camera ops)
Dialer 5 - PL / Co-Ord (producers)
Dialer 6 & 7 - Backups
Additionally this was a 3 camera HD shoot so they wanted redundant audio down all paths which meant I was feeding 8 mono sound paths. They would chose the best one in NY and the other 7 would just serve as backups.
www.televisionsound.com / Thom Shafer