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Old December 12th, 2009, 07:17 AM   #1
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Zoom H4n on Boom Pole

I was wondering if anyone has any experience using the Zoom H4N, and if anyone has placed it on a boom pole before instead of making use of the XLR.

I just ordered one Zoom H4N, and I was hoping it will not be necessary to purchase a microphone as well. Will the Zoom provide professional quality audio? Will it act as a good substitute for a microphone of the same price?

This is for Documentary purposes, mostly interviews within hangars and offices.
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Old December 12th, 2009, 10:12 AM   #2
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The biggest challenge will be control. If you have a mic on a pole and the H4n (or any other recorder) at your side, you can check levels constantly and change settings quickly. With the entire unit many feet away, you can't see if your levels are too hot or too low. Depending on your needs, use, and other gear, you'll need to make sure your headphones reach that far, too, and are rigged so that they don't slap against the boom (just as if you had a cable going from a mic to the recorder along the boom pole).

Finally, the H4n (if I'm not mistaken) has a 1/4-20 screw thread, and boom poles are usually 3/8", so you may need need an adapter that's secure and doesn't unscrew just from the weight of the H4n shifting around on the end of the boom.

You can do it, but in real-world production, it would seem pretty far from ideal. I'm stoked that you want to get the mics closer to the action, though, that's the right spirit! If you want to go through with this approach, I'd recommend trying it on your own several times before getting in front of a subject...in case you find the setup untenable.
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Old December 12th, 2009, 10:46 AM   #3
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Thanks for the advice, I really appreciate it.

I will definitely test it out beforehand, and figure out a way to safely rig up the Zoom H4N. I'm guessing you haven't tried it out yourself though, since you own high end microphones already?

I am relatively new to using "Prosumer" video/audio-shooting/recording equipment (recently acquired Canon 7D), I've only been involved mostly in post production (special effects)
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Old December 12th, 2009, 10:56 AM   #4
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I think you will find the Zoom H4N too heavy and unwieldy at the end of a boom pole. Shotgun and cardioid variant microphones weight just a few ounces while the Zoom H4N weighs better than a pound with batteries in it.

You would be much better off running an inexpensive, high quality shotgun like the AudioTechnica AT875r to the Zoom from the boom pole. What is the AT875r? Only the best kept secret in cheap shotguns. Nobody knows about or uses it because it was designed and marketed as an on-camera shotgun but it is very good on a boom pole and retails well under U.S. $200.00 You can hear it here As I Hear It - Choosing the Right Microphone

I am leaving for a shoot in Europe today and the 875r is in my backpack. Best bang for the buck on the market.

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Old December 12th, 2009, 02:09 PM   #5
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I'll second that. The AT875r is perfect for use for an on-camera mounted shotgun, too. It's super small, but the quality surpasses anything else in the price range.
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Old December 12th, 2009, 03:33 PM   #6
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We did this once for a recent doc shoot... just put the H4n on a carbon fiber monopod. Worked fine, except for the one interview where the sound guy put it into standby instead of record - and couldn't see that because it was up on the boom. So, yeah... we probably won't be doing that again. Better to have the Zoom down where you can see it.
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Old December 13th, 2009, 12:16 PM   #7
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I did get a remote for the H4N zoom, so if the cord is long enough, that would make it easier if I put it on a boom pole or monopod.

Does the quality of the AT875r microphone match that of the H4N Zoom mic?

I really appreciate all the great advice, thanks guys!
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Old December 13th, 2009, 04:30 PM   #8
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I have both the AT875r mic (for JVC HM100) and the Zoom, they both sound very good, but of course the 875r picks up a lot more ambient noise. At least in my case since I am not experience with audio yet.
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Old May 1st, 2010, 03:55 AM   #9
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Zoom on a boom

I just did that on a 2.5 m boompole . Was great, I was in a demonstration and needed to record the ambient sounds. Did not have any problems, just had the zoom on the tip of the pole with its mic cover. Everything was expected in terms of leveling ( hardly any transients) , placed a limiter for signal protection and voila, I was recording angry protesters.
I have the remote for it with an extras cable extension but never used it.
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Old May 7th, 2010, 07:12 PM   #10
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You really shouldn't record dialog in stereo.
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