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Bumping the mic: unselfconscious? cynical?
Old 10th September 2012
  #1
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joelpatterson's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Bumping the mic: unselfconscious? cynical?

Hopefully, my musings will stop somewhere shy of THE most manipulative angle I can imagine... but I noticed last week at the DNC convention, both Biden and Obama at key crucial moments in their speeches inadvertently knocked the mic with their outstretched, pleading hands.

A whole series of thoughts cascaded through my wee little brain: (1) obviously they rehearsed these speeches. Did they rehearse their reactions to the roar of the crowd? Pausing, in silence? Do they have interns who play the roaring crowd? (2) The whole current style rebels against rehearsed speeches, with its whiff of forgery. We want to think these are improvised. (3) Does any single thing say 'unrehearsed, unforged, made-up-and-offered-on-the-spot' more than hitting the mic? (4) Wouldn't it be even better if suddenly mic contact was lost, and they had to step out infront of the podium, and holler to the crowd?

Do I have a future as a consultant?
Old 10th September 2012
  #2
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Richard Crowley's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
That's why they keep the teleprompters out of arm's reach. There was likely a cue in the teleprompter script "*STRIKE MICROPHONE*".

After all, the "it is carried" was scripted on the teleprompter BEFORE they took the Jerusalem vote. It reinforces my concept that the entire show was phony from start to finish.
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Old 10th September 2012
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Just my $.02, but I think you're overthinking it.

On the applause angle, any politician who has been in the game for years develops an instinct for working with crowd applause, and how to time the delivery of their lines. It's just experience, like the way a good standup comic handles audience laughter. You don't need to rehearse with canned applause or interns when you've given enough of these speeches in the past.

Concerning the mic knocks... I think that's just a result of having to work with many different podium setups during the course of a campaign, and also maybe from rehearsing the speeches in hotel rooms away from the podium. In a high-pressure speech where you're trying to connect with a national prime-time TV audience, the exact position of the mic is probably one of the last things you're thinking about.

I doubt anyone would use it as an intentional effect. While it might convey the look of an un-rehearsed speech, it also looks unprofessional; like you're a newb at public speaking, not used to working big events. That's not the impression any politician wants to deliver. Voters of either party want to feel like their guy is "one of us," but they also want to feel that their guy knows how to be a professional if they get the gig.
Old 10th September 2012
  #4
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edva's Avatar
 
26 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Bumping the mic: unselfconscious? cynical?

I'd say you're being a tad cynical there. These folks are human. They rehearse, use technology to assist them, and try to perform as best they can. It is what it is. But IMHO it's not plotted to the point of things like intended mic bumps.
Old 11th September 2012
  #5
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joelpatterson's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Well, if it's not... then it certainly should be!
Old 11th September 2012
  #6
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hbphotoav's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
In the 40+ years I've watched campaigns and conventions, I can't remember the double- or triple-SM57 "Presidential" rigs ever being touched.

In my meetings AV setups, I avoid the double-gooseneck tiny SDC "podium" mics (with their horrible propensity for huge breath pops and handling noise from "setting" by the speaker, lectern-thumping, and the occasional gesture-whack) by putting up a single Beta87a on a boom over the front edge of the lectern. Breath pops are nonexistent (12-18" from the mouth), feedback is nonexistent (vigorous tweaking of room node cuts and application of a Sabine Intelli-Q's FBX), and the sound quality doesn't change as the presenter moves about behind the lectern. Only thing I like better in that role is a KMS105... but I do not yet own one.
Old 12th September 2012 | Show parent
  #7
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1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by hbphotoav ➑️
In the 40+ years I've watched campaigns and conventions, I can't remember the double- or triple-SM57 "Presidential" rigs ever being touched.

.
These guys are groundbreakers (or mic breakers) in numerous historical respects.

The truly unrehearsed is when somebody unwittingly mutters what they really think in front of an open mic.
Old 19th September 2012
  #8
Gear Guru
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson ➑️
Hopefully, my musings will stop somewhere shy of THE most manipulative angle I can imagine... but I noticed last week at the DNC convention, both Biden and Obama at key crucial moments in their speeches inadvertently knocked the mic with their outstretched, pleading hands.

A whole series of thoughts cascaded through my wee little brain: (1) obviously they rehearsed these speeches. Did they rehearse their reactions to the roar of the crowd? Pausing, in silence? Do they have interns who play the roaring crowd? (2) The whole current style rebels against rehearsed speeches, with its whiff of forgery. We want to think these are improvised. (3) Does any single thing say 'unrehearsed, unforged, made-up-and-offered-on-the-spot' more than hitting the mic? (4) Wouldn't it be even better if suddenly mic contact was lost, and they had to step out infront of the podium, and holler to the crowd?

Do I have a future as a consultant?
The first problem with most conspiracy theories is the assumption of perfect execution on the part of the conspirators. To be in enough control as to deliberately 'accidentally' knock the mic at just the right moment, is to be in superb control. Most politicians need to be trained to even MAKE gestures, never mind not stumble in their speech.

it's like the old joke:

Q: "how can you tell if the CIA has been in your refrigerator?"
A: "you can't"

But this is the same CIA that was SURE the Bay of Pigs Invasion was going to generate a popular uprising against Fidel Castro. They also missed the Tet Offensive, the Iranian Revolution, and on and on.

If secret agents are not capable of perfect execution, how can politicians be expected to be?

The second problem with thinking conspiratorially is that the gain-for-risk equation in these theories are always comically unbalanced.

The potential "gain" for knocking the mic at exactly right moment to incite the crowd or whatever is miniscule.

Planning something "unrehearsed" however is very risky because if you don't pull it off smoothly, you risk looking EVEN STIFFER.

What could be worse than being exposed as "fake spontaneous"?


Another risk would be the distraction from the delivery of the entire rest of the speech - as the politician mentally calculates the distance to the mic and the timing and so on. Like giving a speech and in the back of your mind knowing that at a certain point you are going to have to make a foul shot.

My Inner Conspiracist sees these people as Game Theorists, they tend to take small risks for big gains, not the other way around.
Old 20th September 2012
  #9
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Greg Curtis's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Bumping the mic fantastic.


Sent via iPhone/Tapasquawk
Old 21st September 2012
  #10
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king2070lplaya's Avatar


If i ever get into this arena, I'm going to take advantage of a well-placed "Grab the vent" move. I think some well placed feedback during a political speech could be an effective attention-getter. Maybe some delay on important words, or distortion when I read my contenders list of faults.... Why has nobody done this yet??
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