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Old March 2nd, 2004, 01:54 PM   #1
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Homemade Boom Pole!

I just finished my el cheapo Home Depot Boom Pole "project". Others used a Painters Pole which would work just about as well but I chose to use the Light Bulb replacing pole (it costs the same amount, 19.99) but is a little lighter and can range from 5 ft to 11ft with the same twist and extend mechanism as expensive boom poles. Now, these are specific directions for my Mic Mount that came with the Mic, the Audio Technica AT897 which I think is a fairly common mic around here but I believe the screw in size is fairly universal for other actual shock mounts.

http://www4.ncsu.edu/~berobert/Boom Pole 5.jpg

Anyways, while your at the Home Depot, go to the plumbing connector section and pick up a flared coupling. It's part A-177, PB46 "Flare to Female Pipe Coupling" by Watts (brass fitting pictured above]. The threading is a little different but because the plastic at the end of the pole is a little softer rubberish plastic, the brass fitting will thread itself into place. You really want to only do this once and have this thing be permanent so pick up some Mirror Adhesive [see pic below]

http://www4.ncsu.edu/~berobert/Boom Pole 4.jpg

This will make it a permanent bond. Now you just screw on your shock mount or the mount that came with your mic - NOTE: the threading does not quite match but you can make the fit very tight, just don't excessively twist the coupling into place or you may damage the threading on your shock mount or mic mount. Here are some finished pics....

http://www4.ncsu.edu/~berobert/Boom Pole 1.jpg
http://www4.ncsu.edu/~berobert/Boom Pole 2.jpg

So now you've spent like 25 bucks total on a great alternative to an expensive boom pole. Next step - wrap the main section of pole with gaffer's tape to give a softer and grippier feel and tone down the bright yellow theme you've got going. As for your mic cable, you can gaffer it to the pole with a single small piece of the tape towards the top of the pole then twist the remaining slack around the pole to stop any chord taps. If you have ever boomed before, you know that you can hold a boom pole with your finger tips and have zero handling noise so unless you plan on doing a great deal of walking around with someone in a shot, a shock mount is rather useless unless you have a shaky elderly neighbor booming your film....

Sorry for the utter lack of quality in my DIGI pics - my canon a40 is starting to show its age with macro focusing and I didn't feel like trying to make the pics look good :) - when you're reading a post called "suck it boom pole" you can't expect too much time in picture taking...
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Old March 2nd, 2004, 02:25 PM   #2
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I love these home built projects...they make this hobby a tad more affordable and accessible to the average joe...great work!

Thanks for posting pics
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Old March 2nd, 2004, 09:47 PM   #3
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Very cool.

You can change out the head and make it a golf ball retriever when you're not shooting!

"The future ain't what it used to be." Yogi Berra.
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Old March 3rd, 2004, 12:04 AM   #4
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A painter's pole is still pretty heavy and probably too rigid to make as good a mic boom as, say, a sea fishing pole.
All the best,
Robert K S

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Old March 3rd, 2004, 10:09 AM   #5
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Robert - i see what you're saying - i think that for an extra cheap alternative and for the simple ease of connecting a shock mount or mic mount with a single pipe connector that can be bought in the same trip, this method beats out a fishing pole. The weight is really much less than you might expect. I'd say it's very close to a professional boom pole I used on a film set this past January plus if you're really going to use this alternative then you're obviously tight on cash and probobaly won't mind the slight extra weight to save some dough. Plus keep in mind the Audio Technica 897 is a rather small shotgun mic (I was surprised at its very short length when it arrived) and makes the pole look larger than it really is.
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Old March 5th, 2004, 09:16 AM   #6
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that is awesome
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Old March 5th, 2004, 05:39 PM   #7
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I think you want rigid. I want the microphone very close to the frame and if it were wiggling around, it would inevitably find its way into the frame.

I hate rotoscoping out microphones!
Mike Rehmus
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Old March 6th, 2004, 08:36 AM   #8
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I picked up a "Contractor Grade" paint pole from Sherwin Williams for about $20 (they are roughly the same diameter as a pro boom pole and they come in different lengths and styles). Next, I went to a dollar store and got a paint roller. I yanked the handle off of it and threw the roller part away. I drilled the existing hole in the handle to a 3/8" hole and ran a carriage bolt through it. The paint handle, naturally, screws perfectly onto the end of the paint pole and my Oktava MC012 screws perfectly onto the carriage bolt. I get almost zero handling noise for a total of about $22 spent.

"I like Mankato just a little bit better than any other town in the world." -Sinclair Lewis
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Old March 8th, 2004, 08:55 PM   #9
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Post some pics!
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Old March 8th, 2004, 10:43 PM   #10
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What I'm curious about, is how much noise is transmitted due to the (usually) loose joints in these telescoping devices...
Can you run the cable down the inside of the pole? Could you put any sort of rubber grip that runs part of the length to make it easier and more comfortable to hold for a length of time? We've got a couple Gitzo booms, but have added pipe insulation foam to the kit so that on longer interviews, it's a softer hold. However, some of the rubbing was somewhat audible, so we use thin velcro strips usually reserved for organizing cable, to hold it tight to the pole.
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Old March 9th, 2004, 09:26 AM   #11
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Well, you've got to pick and choose to find a brand with good joints. The one I have is perfectly solid and quiet. I've found pipe insulation or bicycle handlebar foam or foam tape to work fine for padding. Cable ties hold the foam on pretty tight. I've never tried running a cable through the pole, but it is hollow, so you could give it a try. The pole I have consists of two sections--one plastic and one aluminum. The plastic is better at damping transmitted noises than an all-metal "real" boom pole. Would I like a carbon fiber boom? You bet, but this will do for now.

Barry S
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Old March 9th, 2004, 03:40 PM   #12
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I picked up a light changer pole from Lowe's last weekend and constructed a boom per Bryan's post. It worked flawlessly -- no joint noises or other problems and I'm only out $23 bucks. The joints on the pole I used are pretty tight, and have a lot of friction when adjusting. I'd be happier with a couple of more threads engaged at the mic mount, but it seemed to hold just fine.

Thanks, Bryan!
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Old March 9th, 2004, 07:48 PM   #13
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Pole details

First let me comment on this common misconception about "home depot" fiberglass poles and their weight.

More than once I've seen people say : "Too heavy for serious use."

The recommended 15 foot home depot fiberglass pole is OUNCES LIGHTER THAN THE EQUIVALENT LENGTH GIZMO "pro" boom poles.

Rather than speculate or give misleading prejudiced information, I looked at the actual specifications of the Gizmo poles at B&H, then weighed my Home Depot pole on a digital scale. Mine's lighter.


We shot a feature this spring using this pole and an ME66, and got ZERO handling noise.

Tape down your cables and use some common sense. If cables are threaded iinternally then you have no control over any internal cable rubbing, and this could very well be much harder to control noise then external cables.


You can grip this pole anywhere and get from 1 foot to 15 foot usable length. To change the angle of the mike- rotate the pole in your hand-- it will go 360 degrees. In four months of shooting, there wasn't a single mike position we couldn't get by telling the boom operator to move his feet or hands.


I like the new contribution of the threaded coupling-- thanks!


The pole is not totally laser beam rigid-straight at fully extended length of 15 feet, but certainly close enough and not an issue as this rarely came up. Shorter extensions were just fine, as would be the full extended length.

I think often people (but not all) poo poo a cheaper DIY alternative without really knowing the facts or having used the alternative, or used the wrong alternative. It's a prevalent prejudice and belief that the more you spend, the better your project/equipment will be. This is the biggest myth of all.

It's using your head with whatever you've got that's always been most important, equipment comes next and is always secondary to creativity. The people with real experience and the real money know this as well.

My pictures at:
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Old March 10th, 2004, 12:13 AM   #14
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You rock Neil!
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Old March 10th, 2004, 12:40 AM   #15
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Neil Slade - You are one very "funny" man! Tell me, do you use any tranquilisers when applying the . . . Highland Mike Muff . . Tell me, does your local chapter of the animal rights people know about your approach to Wind Noise Reduction? ;-)

Seriously, nice job . .

Now, do you have a tutorial on how to buid a Fujinon? I've got some washing-up liquid bottles and brown paper and lots of string. Any good? More string? . . . Yeah, thought so . .. Guess I'll have to wait . ..

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