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Old April 22nd, 2007, 02:54 PM   #1
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Boompole suggestions . . .

Hey Everyone,

Would like to get some quick opinions on boompoles for small sized independent productions (I'm talking a crew of like 2-3 guys max).

Does anyone prefer wired over non-wired poles?

Any recommendations for brands?

Since we're talking independent we're also talking budget. Any poles that are good bang for the buck?

Thanks so much for your time.

J
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Old April 22nd, 2007, 09:08 PM   #2
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Bang for buck goes to the Rode Boom Pole.

http://www.rodemic.com/?pagename=Pro...oduct=BoomPole

Rough Pricing
http://www.zzounds.com/item--RODBOOMPOLE
http://dvcreators.net/rode-10-aluminum-boompole/
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Old April 22nd, 2007, 10:17 PM   #3
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I always laugh at the prices of these things. C'mon people...it's a telescoping rod of metal. $20 at Home Depot.
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Old April 22nd, 2007, 10:39 PM   #4
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Yeah, but that pole has to be light enough to hold over your head for an hour at a time.

It also has to have zero noise when it flexes. Any little creaks will be amplified greatly when picked up by the mic.

Painter's poles are great for screwing around when paid jobs aren't on the line, but they don't cut it when it either needs to work perfectly or you don't get rehired.
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Old April 22nd, 2007, 10:51 PM   #5
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Listen to what Nate says.

Look, boom poles started out as broomsticks and painters poles and such. Then the folks who's livelyhood depended on getting sound recorded correctly started making improvements. After generation after generation, trial and error has led to better lighter materials, better operational engineering, and has solved countless hassles and problems that working pros have gotten ticked off about and demanded answers for.

If you don't want to pay the price of a professional boom pole that benefits from these decades of experience that's totally cool.

But for a lot of folks who realize that ONE otherwise PERFECT take where the actors NAILED the scene - screwed up by rattling cables or a sudden off axis mess created when the mic holder came loose and swung toward the ground is simply not worth the short term savings.

Good gear costs good money because it's GOOD GEAR.

And once you spend the money for it, you can safely FORGET about it, cuz it just works right every time. And not having to worry about minor stuff like whether your boom is going to crap out - is, from my perspective, much of what makes shoots a joy instead of a chore.

My 2 cents anyway.
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Old April 22nd, 2007, 10:55 PM   #6
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Check out the new Gitzo carbon pole, 12' and around $250.
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Old April 22nd, 2007, 11:21 PM   #7
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This:
http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actio...056&lpage=none

Plus this:

male 3/8" flare to female 1/2" pipe fitting adaptor
also from lowes or homedepot

Covered with flat black spray paint.

Total price, ~$40 Works like a champ!
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Old April 22nd, 2007, 11:37 PM   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Winter View Post
I always laugh at the prices of these things. C'mon people...it's a telescoping rod of metal. $20 at Home Depot.
Not so. Bill's post lays it out nicely. You might as well say "It's a 20.00 microphone from Radio Shack." Good boompoles are balanced, built to be noise free/noise minimal to prevent transmitting noise up the pole (not really possible, but certainly diminishable), and built for comfort. Metal poles for example, aren't pleasant to hold in the cold, and are sometimes slippery in the hands of the sweaty-palmed boom op. Carbon is lighter, equally/nearly as strong/stronger (depending on the manufacturer), and you can't put a cable/buttplug in a light-change pole very easily. Plus, it's all about looking cool, right? :-)
Seriously, the DIY stuff is great for the home or low budget production, but it won't make the grade on a paying gig. Dan Selakovich, the Hollywood KING of DIY, also has commonly used, store-bought gear for the "real paying jobs."
If you're really into DIY, you might wanna check out his "Killer Camera Rigs" book.
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 04:40 AM   #9
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On Doco work I'm happy to use a small k-tek pole but soon as I get into any form of Drama/Film work I only like to use Panamic poles (made here in the UK), never ever been happy with anything else but them, by the way if you have to ask the price then don't, especially with the very weak dollar at the mo.

I still use original Metal Panamic poles due to the very low bend even at full length but I have used there carbon poles and am equally happy with them.

As for budget, well we once had to find some gear for a limited priced production crew and ended up using a metal paint pole, fitted an adaptor in the end (best way to fix it is to epoxy it in to cut all movement in that area out the equation), due to noise the best way to deal with a low quality pole is to have it on full extension, reduces the chance of the pole chattering inside.

As for cabled or non, well you are on a budget so cable it, I worked most my career with a pole cabled and it will teach the crew how to work neat and tidy and how to handle cables, just because it's cabled does not mean you'll be any noiser than without, plus it's an essential part of learning the job, even when you work cableless there are still times you will need to work with a cable, hospitals for instance may not let you use any form of wireless etc etc.
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 09:21 AM   #10
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Why does everyone get all up in arms when low budget DIY solutions are mentioned?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Dirks View Post
Since we're talking independent we're also talking budget.
I'll add a smiley here to convey the snarky attitude ;) So it doesn't blow up as these things tend to do.
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 09:30 AM   #11
 
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No one is "up in arms."
The comment is made "I laugh at the price of these things, C'mon people...it's a telescoping rod of metal. $20 at Home Depot."

That calls to mind that some of us are fools for purchasing very expensive, and production-effective gear.

I've got my share of DIY gear too. :-)
I'd just never show up on a paying gig with it. Heck, I used a homemade dolly for a long, long time, and still have a homemade stabilizer. Nothing wrong with DIY. But it's not accurate to equate a $20.00 light bulb pole with a $300.00 boom pole.
Hopefully we can agree to not get snarky over that point. ;-)
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 11:00 AM   #12
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it does not equate to a $300 boom pole...but for $300, I can buy a boom pole, make a blimp and suspension doohicky and buy a nice XLR shotgun. :) and If I've budgeted $500 for audio rental/purchase, I get $200 to spend in front of the camera which is where I feel alot of our (and my) low budget independant productions lack...set design, costumes...stuff that costs money...which we don't have.

Opportunity cost drives all of my suggestions and budgetting, as I get $$$ for tape stock and that's it for my productions, I get to beg, borrow and steal everything else (although I don't really steal stuff, the phrase sounds hollow with only 2 words). Painter's poles (not light changing poles) are specifically made for being held all day long to work with, you can get graphite ones, 16' long too that don't flex much. They cost a bit more, but it's still $50 to $300 for a pro boom. A 3/8" male flare to 1/2" female plumbing adapter will convert the painter's pole to the correct thread to hold standard audio equipment. That bit is a buck and a half. I see expensive equipment as fine for people who don't have the time or DIY aptitude (which some people genuinely don't...and I don't have a problem with that).

You were right, the other person's comment was a bit digging. although I do agree with the foundation for his statement, just not the tone...I have a car with heated seats too...but it's not absolutely necessary. My chevette delivered pizza for me for 3 years with out causing many problems at all...and when it finally died, it was cheap to replace. I did most of those repairs myself too ;) it's in my blood, I have to tinker with things.

So, what would I buy? I'd love to buy a pro vest and sled...and a 35mm adapter with a rod system and follow focus. These take time to build correctly that I don't want to spend. My rods and 35mm adapter are still not finished...I've had to twiddle more than I wanted to to make it go, but my boom pole took less than an hour to make with the blimp and wind diffuser. If the complaint is just that it doesn't look pro...matte black spray paint (high heat for lighting equipment) solves that problem. Hollywood is built on selling facades as the real thing :) It's all in appearances.

That whole setup cost me $30. The Sony ECM 672 for $100 on ebay needed some soldering (which is why it was only $100 ;) ), but $130 and I've got a 16' boom with blimp and suspension and wind diffuser and a nice $600 microphone. That's almost $500 I can spend in front of the camera on my next shoot (which I won't get anyway as I fund all my own productions...except "Curtain Call" which was funded primarily by Pat, our sound guy. That was our most expensive shoot to date at $250. I still haven't spent enough on any production to afford to put the pro boom pole in my budgets. My feature cost $235 in tape stock...not a dime spent in front of the camera. It shows! When I get to the point where I can spend money on a shoot, I'm going to put it all in front of the camera.
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 01:51 PM   #13
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This really shouldn't be an argument - it's just a discussion of different perspectives.

The reality is that EVERYONE here probably started out right where Ben's post comes from. We ALL squeezed every nickle out of our dollars when we were learning to do this.

One thing those of us who've been in the business a long time try to do is pass along what we have discovered in our years of work.

Think of it this way. If you're learning to play the piano, it doesn't really matter if you're learning on a bar piano or a Steinway. You just need to learn to play. So the quality of the piano doesn't matter much.

Boom poles are like that too. Using a golf ball retriever WILL get your mic closer to the action and get you better sound - no question.

And if you want to save your money for other things - BY ALL MEANS use the golf ball retriever or anything else you can rig up. The RESULT (and the learning how to GET good results) is all that really matters at that point in your carreer.

But it's also hard to argue that as your skills become more refined, the more you can BENEFIT from better tools. In my piano analogy, as your TOUCH becomes more acute, you better appreciate the keyboard action of the finer pianos. It helps you PLAY BETTER once you've reached that level of expertise.

And if you've really become good at something, you can typically afford to spend more on better tools.

Please guys, don't take this as a slam on DIY approaches. We've all been there and continue to go there when needed.

But also please understand that there is also some value from listening to the experience of people who have been right where you are and have seen issues on the pathway to higher quality and have learned to appreciate solutions at the higher end.

It's not all smoke and mirrors up there.

Sometimes higher end gear REALLY DOES do a better job. Something that you'll learn for yourself as you continue to learn and move up.
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 02:24 PM   #14
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Discussions are arguments, and this is a good and valuable one. Hearing the why's will help inform purchases one way or the other. Generally when these questions are asked, all that is spoken is "Brand X". Knowing the options and the pitfalls of each is important information. Thanks for chiming in for the middle party ;) Douglas, please don't take my DIY fervor as a direct attack, I have the utmost respect for your work that I've seen here in the past.

I'm just really a devil's advocate kind of guy. Fact is, I'd love to be able to buy everything, but starting out, saving $300 will be better spent getting the next step up of microphne...which will REALLY make a difference with the sound, or getting extra cables so you can get the camera farther away when shooting and not have to worry about the tether length :)...(My dad in fact scored about 300' worth of XLR cables from an auction for $5.)

Don't be afraid of used if going with pro equipment...this stuff is built to be beat up. With the DIY stuff, it'll last forever, but I still keep a screwdriver, hammer, pliers and pop-rivets on set for when it fails. From the earlier analogy, my chevette had a resident toolkit in it permanently too...and it got used frequently to keep it running.
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Old April 24th, 2007, 04:40 PM   #15
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Getting back to Jason's original question, part of it depends on what kind of work you are going to be doing. If it's run-and-gun, or sit down interviews, or feature film work then what you are looking for is going to vary. A ton of it is personal preference too, especially in boom poles and how they are configured.

For fast moving stuff, or where I'm boom and mixing, I tend toward shorter poles that are easier to manage. I also prefer coiled internal wiring for those poles. As the poles get longer (above about 10 feet), I tend toward straight internally cabled poles because the long coiled cabling starts to slap against the inside of the pole. Feature films tend toward longer poles (like 16-20 feet). Other folks I know swear by externally cable poles as being easier to manage than internally cabled ones. They are made from both aluminum and carbon fiber. The aluminum is heavier and gets hotter and colder, but is much cheaper.

As for brands, I think there are a bunch of good ones: K-Tek, VDB, PSC, Ambient, and more. There are differences in all of them in terms of materials, locking collar design, etc, etc, etc. If you are anywhere near someplace that you can try a few of them, you can start to decide what you like best.

Oh, and one more thing. You will absolutely want a good shock mount for your boom pole.
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