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Old March 12th, 2005, 08:17 PM   #1
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Boompole procedures and techniques

So what are your standard boompole procedures and techniques?

I know generally you're just pointing at the sound source, but what other things do you do to make sure you get the sound you want.

For example, if I'm booming downward, I push the mic forward in the shockmount so the weight of the mic naturally points it downward, or I push it backward into the shockmount if I'm booming up towards the sound source.
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Old March 13th, 2005, 12:57 AM   #2
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Cable management:
For equipment I have access to, the XLR cables have cable ties on them. I use the cable tie to secure the XLR cable at the mic-end of the boom pole. You could also do a strain relief thing there too. The rest of the cable is not too hard to wrap around the boom pole. The women's ponytail elastics with the two balls on them can also work in a similar fashion.

Have a carabiner or cable tie/pigtail thingie at the waist to hold excess cable.


I try to get good aim at the mouth so dialogue doesn't sound weird/colored. Listen on headphones and hear the changes at the mic gets off-axis from the sound source. The amount of off-axis coloration gets worse with cheaper mics.

For scenes with two people, I just aim in the middle. The alternative route is to point the mic before the next actor delivers his/her line. This works as long as the boom op knows all the cues and there's no overlapping dialogue. For actors who are close together I can't really hear the difference between the pointing method versus the 'middle' method.

You could adjust the distance/angle for the two speakers to balance out their levels.

For medium close-ups, you might not want to back off a little with the mic to get proper audio perspective for the scene (a little more reverb to fit the shot).

When booming actors, I try to be slightly in front of them so the head doesn't block some of the sound. This is when booming from above.

Make sure you hold it comfortably and relax your shoulder muscles as much as possible. Appleboxes (or anything else you can stand on) rock for gaining height so you can hold the boom across your chest, or rest it on your head.
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Old March 14th, 2005, 07:11 PM   #3
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Stay away from flourescent lights bceause they will give you a buzz. Don't forget to work out them arms of yours because it can get pretty heavy when your holding it for long periods of time. You better be in great shape if you want good sound. :)
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Old March 14th, 2005, 08:43 PM   #4
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I'm not a soundguy, but I have worked alongside too many to count. The single thing I see NOT happening on most "indie" or low budget shoots is getting the mike close enough. A good boom man will try to get as close as possible, often riding the frame line to achieve his results. Communication between the camera and boom operators is encouraged and crucial--they are not there to bone each other! If you are booming, check the monitor to see what the framing is going to be and bring that sucker down as close as possible. If you are operating, let the boom guy know if you intend to do something other than standard framing so he doesn't blow the shot by dipping in.

I have just seen too many low budget shoots with a guy in headphones standing somewhere near the set, boom slung casually over his shoulders and the mike pointing roughly towards the action (and heard the results...)

Oh yes, and if you are shooting with two cameras, be aware that a wide master and a closeup may be convenient to shoot simultaneously, but they can't both be properly boomed. Keeping roughly in the rule of "two's", i.e. the difference in focal lengths between the two cameras is no more than a factor of 2x, and the sound should be fine.
Charles Papert
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Old March 14th, 2005, 10:20 PM   #5
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I found this site to be helpful.
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