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Old January 25th, 2006, 06:39 PM   #1
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How do you boom?

A DP we've worked with insists that the correct way to boom is with the pole at full extension, gripped with one hand in the middle at the balance point. You then actively mix using the other hand. Do people actually do this? My booming skills are improving, but I can't imagine booming like this for any length of time. It would work okay for a one-person interview, but how in the heck are you supposed to swing back and forth to cover two or three subjects at varying distances? You'd need like a 20 foot pole for many situations, which must inevitably be banging into all kinds of equipment behind you. Trying to avoid all the shadows is tough enough as it is.
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Old January 25th, 2006, 07:17 PM   #2
 
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That's probably why this guy is a DP, not a sound mixer or boom op.
Poles that have cables in them need to be at full extension, poles that don't, it doesn't matter much. Whether you're in the middle, or at the long end, or at the grip end, doesn't matter much, it depends on what the shot angle calls for, but bottom line is,
I can't imagine booming full time with one hand
I can't imagine not having both hands free to work when I need them
I can't imagine needing to focus on more than just what I'm hearing and feeding to the recorder.

If you're a one-man show, recording to a slung recorder or belt-based recorder, then maybe, just maybe, I can see being "forced" into this workstyle, but otherwise...no. You can't quickly cover multiple locations with one hand and be accurate.
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Old January 26th, 2006, 11:32 AM   #3
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Ya' know...

This DP really should be using a monopod for all of his/her shots, held about 18" down the pole! No fair extending the post to the floor...

Tell him/her you read it on the internet and it must be true!

Although, in fairness, I've seen that technique used once or twice, except that there were two hands at the boom balance point, allowing occassional mixer access.

This was outdoors with plenty of room for a swinging pole and loooong interview takes.
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Old January 26th, 2006, 01:45 PM   #4
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or you could add helium balloons to the shockmount...

Seriously I have added a small weight to the short end of the boom to bring the balance point a little closer to me. You have to strike a "balance" so to speak between reducing the torque you have to exert versus adding more pure weight to the whole rig.
I also wrap the cable all the way to the end of the pole when using an external cable. Then you have that extra pull of the unsupported cable helping you out instead of coming right down your arm if you're using just one hand while making mixer adjustments or if you're choking up towards the center.
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Old January 27th, 2006, 09:18 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Massengill
or you could add helium balloons to the shockmount...
Jay that is brilliant!!!

why would I want to *add* weights when I could subtract weight.

And think of how festive this would be.

And on the way home you could suck the helium and say funny things to your production crew in a chipmunk voice!

I am definitely going to give this a shot.
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Old January 27th, 2006, 10:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marco Leavitt
A DP we've worked with insists that the correct way to boom is with the pole at full extension, gripped with one hand in the middle at the balance point. You then actively mix using the other hand. Do people actually do this? My booming skills are improving, but I can't imagine booming like this for any length of time. It would work okay for a one-person interview, but how in the heck are you supposed to swing back and forth to cover two or three subjects at varying distances? You'd need like a 20 foot pole for many situations, which must inevitably be banging into all kinds of equipment behind you. Trying to avoid all the shadows is tough enough as it is.

Then let HIM boom the job. Whenever possible, I'm in the middle, so leverage is at a minimum. I only extend if absolutely necessary.

Having said that, I have seem some wild, long boom situations that quite amaze me. Some boom ops have incredible upper body strength. Impressive!

For a one person interview, I use a light stand, grip head and a fishing pole gunwhale bracket Eric Toline gave me. I hang the boom in place so I don't have to hold it at all.

Being tall helps. I'm 6' 2". If I get someone tall, I use an apple bpx to stand on. Saves my arms.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old January 28th, 2006, 03:07 AM   #7
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Ty, on the topic of how to boom. I read somewhere that the mic should be pointed straight down in a vertical alignment so that the talent speaks across it, like a handheld mic.

Or are you suppose to point the tip of the mic at an angle directly towards the talents mouth.

Which method and does it apply to hypers and shotguns?

I am a newb.

thanks
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Old January 28th, 2006, 07:11 AM   #8
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Hi Silas,

::Not your real name, I'm guessing:: Are you a weaver?

The position of the boom mic, generally, is down when pointed from above and up when pointed from below. Angles sometimes help reduce nearby noise.

Reflections from walls, furniture and ceilings also may make me change an angle if I can find a better position. It's really all about listening and fishing around until your ears tell you it right. You'll have an easier time with a Schoeps CMC641 because its tight pattern reduces a lot of reflection. With most other mics, positioning is more difficult because they aren't as tight and you never get to that sweet spot because it doesn't exist with them.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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