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Old January 29th, 2009, 02:32 PM   #1
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Broomstick for boomstick?

This may seem like a stupid question but:

Painters' poles creak.
PVC wobbles.

But is there any problem with using a wooden broomstick? A run of the mill, ordinary wooden broomstick, with a screw drilled into the end?
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Old January 29th, 2009, 02:48 PM   #2
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Is true they used a Nimbus 2000 for a boom in the Harry Potter films?
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Old January 29th, 2009, 03:06 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Boyko View Post
This may seem like a stupid question but:

Painters' poles creak.
PVC wobbles.

But is there any problem with using a wooden broomstick? A run of the mill, ordinary wooden broomstick, with a screw drilled into the end?
Too heavy and too short. Gaffer tape a mic and mic mount to the end of one and hold it over your head for 10 minutes - how's your shoulders feel? Looks amateurish - for better or worse, looking the part is important if you're seeking paying gigs.
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Old January 29th, 2009, 04:11 PM   #4
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I made a boom pole out of one of those light-bulb-removal poles that Home Depot sells for people in big houses...it was, I think, $15. While I did machine an adapter for an Audio Techica shock mount (metal is my hobby), it would not be hard to make an adapter for the shockmount with a dowel and a machine screw. My version lets me run the cable up inside the pole, which one could also do by drilling a couple of well-placed holes in the pole...disadvantage is it is only a two-section pole so it doesn't collapse very far...but t is light and rigid.../Battle Vaughan / miamiherald.com video team
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Old January 29th, 2009, 06:31 PM   #5
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My first boom was one that I made out of a piece of bamboo. It was light and strong. I epoxyed a threaded insert and was good to go. It was by far the lightest pole I've had. I've since gone on to a carbon fibre VDB. Probably because the 12 foot bamboo wouldn't break down. It was hard to get into interiors and was always in the way.
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Old January 29th, 2009, 08:47 PM   #6
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Good grief guys, I think you can still buy a carbon fibre real boompole for around U.S. $250.00, its not really a major expenditure unless you get a top of the line K-tek or something.

This is a perfect example of a time when you are being penny wise and pound foolish in most cases. I am cheap and I am the first one to buy Harbor Freight dimmers and Contico plastic tool boxes and I built my own Kinos from scratch. But in this case, your sound is 70% of your product so why use tools that are wrong for the purpose?

I highly recommend ponying up the dough for a real boom pole.

Dan
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Old January 29th, 2009, 09:06 PM   #7
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A $250 pole for a $150 microphone?

I'll hold off for right now on purchases. I've made a "telescoping painter's pole" boom (was pretty simple too) and now all I have to do is find a way to connect the 3/8" male end of the pole to some sort of shoe.
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Old January 30th, 2009, 12:44 AM   #8
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As much as I like DIY stuff, the Rode boom pole was a great deal for me at 85. Sure, it's a little heavier than the $500 carbon poles, but for occasional use it's great and looks pro in front of clients.
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Old January 30th, 2009, 07:13 AM   #9
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I gotta say, I side with Dan on this. Making due with a creaking painter's pole strikes me as silly no matter what the mic costs.
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Old January 30th, 2009, 08:27 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marco Leavitt View Post
I gotta say, I side with Dan on this. Making due with a creaking painter's pole strikes me as silly no matter what the mic costs.
The cost of these poles, even the cheap ones is more than I spend on any individual production currently... I've done this:

http://yafiunderground.com/Images/blimp/mike1.jpg
http://yafiunderground.com/Images/blimp/mike2.jpg
http://yafiunderground.com/Images/blimp/mike3.jpg
http://yafiunderground.com/Images/blimp/mike4.jpg

I use a 16' aluminum painter's pole. I have a shockmount made from roof gutter screen, hobby wire, costume fur, chopsticks and rubberbands. I challenge you to show me that my $20 solution doesn't provide anything a $200 boom pole provides (barring a coiled in-pole cable, and a bit of squeak that the shock mount all but eliminates). Except that I would get to spend $180 more on my project... which is still more than I spend on any given project.
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Old January 30th, 2009, 09:03 AM   #11
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Well, I'm a little taken aback that someone would buy an XL series camera and have so little respect for audio as to utterly deny the value of even a modest expense on halfway decent gear.

At least the kid holding the boom in your pictures is getting good placement, in one of the photos anyway. I'll give you that, as it's 98 percent of the battle. Still, I wouldn't expect him to be able to hold it there very long given how heavy that thing looks and the poor positioning of his arms.

As far as the benefits go, a real pole:

is less prone to creaking and handling noise that will ruin a take;
can be quickly and easily extended and taken in (sometimes even during a take), allowing your boom op to efficiently adapt to each setup, which can be quite fast paced;
way stiffer, giving you less handling noise and enabling your boom op to more quickly and accurately cover the scene;
is much lighter so your boom op's arms don't get tired as fast;
let's your cast and crew know that you take the project seriously and intend to make a reasonable attempt to produce something everyone can be proud of.

Okay, that last one was snarky, but seriously, if you don't want to spend the money fine, but please don't pretend that cobbling together a creation like that is somehow just as good as using quality gear. If it sounds like I'm getting my back up a little over this it's because the whole assertion represents the casual, even dismissive, attitude that so many filmmakers exude towards audio in general.
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Old January 30th, 2009, 09:22 AM   #12
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I spent all my money on the camera before I understood the value of the sound... I'm working on remedying that situation... but you've read the newspapers or turned on the news right? Economy sucks, layoffs rampant, some of us are living on 1/4 the household income we were living on just a couple of years ago. I can make things affordably that wouldn't be an option for me otherwise.

I always see the "Why don't you just spend the money to get real gear" argument on here alot. I always have the same reaction to that. In a perfect world, circumstances ideal, we'd all have top of the line gear... but for an individual to accumulate all of their own gear for what is slowly turning into a career option (oh, to have the luxury of living in a hotbed of cinema activity and have access to those resources - I pine)... takes time and money. Without gear, it becomes a non-event. If you're willing to fund our upgrades, by all means, I'll give you a credit in my next auditorily pristine short film... until then, I'll have to suffice with what I have as it's the only access to gaining experience that I'm able to utilize.

That is why I post cheap alternatives (which ultimately get roasted by a large amount of professionals, but I persist - I'm stubborn like that). Cheap alternatives are what I have to offer.

I also didn't pay full price for my used XL series camera either... had I done so, I wouldn't own one - mouths to feed, mortgage to pay, even back when I had gainful employment. What I have now is more time to pursue my cinematic endeavors... learning to operate with a noisy boom (thus far with a relatively crappy microphone as well, slowly piecing the Sony ECM-672 together as I can afford parts... which will probably ultimately cost as much as a new one, but again, access to small amounts of money as I get gigs precludes just buying one outright) will make my operation of a professional boom that much quieter in the long run. I think you may be a bit (spoiled-not the right word, but I can't think of the right one - so that, but less insulting please) and have either lost track (or never got to experience) what it takes to start from nothing with cheap as hell equipment.

If the OP is asking about using a broom stick, $100 is most likely out of the possible budget range for that piece of equipment, insisting over and over again that they're never going to be happy with the results if they don't buy pro gear is simply unnecessarily discouraging.
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Old January 30th, 2009, 10:30 AM   #13
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This gets into a different can of worms, but what it comes down to is that the pro gear is meant for pros. That is - $250 for a "modestly price" piece of gear is NOTHING if you plan to make $50,000 on your next project, and a good investment if you plan to make $1000 on your next project.

But there are some of us whose return on investment in damn-near zero. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

I make indie documentaries.

No, let me rephrase that.

I make indie documentaries for the web.

Actually, maybe I'm not making it perfectly clear.

I make indie documentaries for the web in my spare time.

To you, a $250 boom pole is an essential piece of gear necessary to your livelihood and well being.

To me, it's an expensive toy.

To you, you have the skills in video and audio to make the most of that $250 boom pole.

To me, it's something I'm going to have to learn how to use.

Don't get me wrong, I understand that paying for the pro gear once is usually better than finding out the cheap gear is unusable and buying the pro gear anyway. But to improve audio quality, the $250 can be better spent in other ways - namely, a better microphone (I had been using the Rode Videomic) or a new mixer.

It's not professional. But I'm not a professional.
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Old January 30th, 2009, 10:47 AM   #14
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I made one out of a window squeegee washer pole. It has an allow extendable pole and foam hand grips, I mounted a mic ferrule on the end and it is very light and ideal as a short boom for interviews etc. It cost less than $10
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Old January 30th, 2009, 10:53 AM   #15
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Okay, I would agree that people can get over zealous with the "buy pro or nothing" argument. It's not as if you can't get good sound if you can't afford a Schoeps. But I also started with nothing and limited means and have made wise and poor choices over the years as I've accumulated gear.

In general, I've found cobbling together strange Frankenstein-like solutions to be a waste of time, energy and even money in the long and short term. Choose wisely, and you can find affordable gear that will last you for years.

While it's nice to have an expensive microphone, in the end, placement is way more important. To that end, the pole is critical, and if I were starting from scratch I'd put it at the very top of the list.

For starters, a $250 pole isn't top end. True professional poles are more than twice that. As much as it may seem expensive, it is at best the point where the law of diminishing returns start to set in, and tight as things are (believe me, I'm feeling it too), it's the most reasonable investment you're going to find in this business. Still, if $250 is just too much, there are other nice poles for cheaper.

My point is, from all of my years of experience doing this, and I am a professional audio person, I feel that having a decent pole, at least something more serviceable than a broomstick or paintpole, is more important than the other gear. For Brian, I'd say keep that Videomic (it's pretty decent) and hold off on the mixer. Get a decent pole first before you start adding other things.
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