Thursday, January 9, 2014

DIY knitted deadcat microphone windscreen


Here's a do-it-yourself project Jeanette came up with that we haven't seen anyone else do on the internet.
Wind noise is the bane of outdoor audio recording, because even with those foam microphone covers, pesky little vortices of wind will slam into the microphone element, creating a noise that's hard to remove in post production. What you need are soft little tendrils to break up the air movements.

Hence the invention of the fuzzy (or "dead cat") windscreen. Unfortunately they often cost more than $25 if you buy them as accessories. Some people make them out of scraps of fake fur, but the fake fur often has a heavy backing that can interfere with the audio.

A cheap and effective solution is to knit a custom sock for the microphone from novelty yarn. At a craft store for less than $5, we found Lion Brand Fun Fur, sometimes known as eyelash yarn, in the "Silver Fox" color. Here it is on Amazon. 

Now here's Jeanette with the details for a nice looking windscreen that is custom fit for a Zoom H1 digital audio recorder (she's going to make one for my lav mike next):

I decided to knit the windscreen in-the-round on 5 needles, like a sock. I needed a slightly heavier plain yarn for the edge of the cuff, so I started with a bit of Red Heart "Sport" acrylic yarn that I had in my stash. With the black acrylic yarn, I cast on 16 stitches, onto 4 size 5 US double-pointed needles. I did 4 rounds of Knit2-Purl2 ribbing. Then I switched to the furry yarn, and stockinette stitch (all knit) and to size 8 US double-pointed needles. At 3", I combined the 16 stitches onto 2 of the needles, then did a 3-needle bind-off. Took about an hour at most. 

9 comments:

T. Arispe said...

That is ingenious. Now I know what to do with my surplus of Fun Fur!

Willow's Quiet Corner said...

Yay, Jeanette! This is ingenious! I also follow the Lion Brand blog . . . and shared the link to this post on their site!

Celia said...

Very creative! Brava Jeanette.

Erik Bongers said...

Why do women always show off with complicated tech-talk to make men feel dumb?
We men never do that.

James Gurney said...

Erik, if you think that tech-talk was hard to understand, you should see how it looks compressed for her Ravelry page. Even the NSA wouldn't be able to decode the jargon (unless they were knitters).

Diana Moses Botkin said...

Thank you for sharing Jeanette's clever and chic creation!

I'm not much of a knitter but I do occasionally use car travel time to make something simple like a neck scarf. I believe I could actually make a mic sock for my musician son.

krystal said...

That's pretty neat, Gurney! Filmmakers are always looking for solutions to problems, especially on the spur of the moment. It's part of why I subscribe to things like cml (even though ack...I really need to stop because it fills up your inbox!); it's a forum whereby people can share their ideas used on shoots that they thought were interesting. Like the squeegee on gel trick on a window to ND it and other little tips. Camera assistants/gaffers/grips/video engineers make a lot of their own stuff all the time that has to be custom fit for each job if you don't have things like hoodmans or lensers for your monitors (and other things) on set. I'm not sure if you're familiar with the bible of cinematography, the "American Cinematographer's Manual" (which is usually given to you by a DP or you can buy one yourself); one of the contributers, S. Barum, was known to have used up to 56 Cstands on a single light to get the shot to look just the way he wanted.

hena said...

That's so cool! Any chance Jeanette wants to share her Ravelry name, so we knitters can friend her?

James Gurney said...

Hena, sure, she's "gurneyknitter"