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-   -   How about some more on BOOM POLES? (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/all-things-audio/18844-how-about-some-more-boom-poles.html)

Matt Gettemeier December 26th, 2003 05:59 PM

How about some more on BOOM POLES?
At the suggestion of Ken and Mike, I'm starting another thread full of questions and hopefully some opinions. My other thread about the me66 started to turn into a pretty good boom pole thread so let's keep it easy to find for those that search the archives. I already searched "boom pole" and I still think we need some more info/opinions.

What brand/type/length of boom should I get? Originally I considered a LightWave from B&H for $155 uncabled and $245 internally cabled. But now I've got input that suggests, "don't".

VDB is probably out of my price range, but they sure look nice.

I'm considering a K-Tek news pole. At 8' 9" I think that would be good for most MCU and CU shots? For anything WA I expect to use another mic or else hide a shotgun wireless within the shot.

Length has been a hard thing to decide on also. Ideally I would expect 12' to be a good length which should collapse short enough but yet give enough spare distance for booming wider scenes.

I would love it if some of you guys who have bought a boom would tell us what you like, don't like, and wish you had done differently? I know a lot of you have made your own boom and you are happy with it, but I'd rather have the thoughts of people who PAID for a boom... If you bought a boom AND made a boom then I'd love to hear why... As far as making a painter's pole work, I could probably do that, but I don't expect that I will...

Sooo, thoughts?

Matt Gettemeier December 26th, 2003 06:05 PM

To get this moving, some of my concerns are:

It seems like sometimes a super light pole doesn't really feel that light when you use it because the center of gravity is all the way out at the mic... so you perceive extra weight due to the downforce.

Some people weight the butt of the pole to counteract that force, which is called the Hodges effect. A heavier pole at the butt feels lighter due to moving the balance point closer to your hands.

So I'm thinking that perhaps total weight may not be that big of a deal? Or am I wrong on that?

Also have you had times where you were p/o because you didn't have enough reach, or did you have a time where the extra length saved you? (Insert jokes here)

Another thing I'm intrigued by is the jointed poles, but for the extra cost I expect that to just stay a novelty for me.

Rather then have a pole with a side xlr on the base I thought an end xlr at the butt would be good so I could plug my transmitter onto that... or would you automatically want the transmitter directly off the shotgun?

Answer questions and add opinions at will...

Arthur John December 26th, 2003 10:31 PM

I hope I can save you a boatload of cash here.

Find your local hardware store and either go the the painting section or the window washing section and find the aluminum extension poles they have.

I'm picking up a really nice 8 foot locking aluminum extension pole for $11. I think you can pick up a 14 foot version for around $25.

Now for my way of thinking, aluminum is aluminum. You don't get some fancy shmancy aluminum by spending huge amounts of money, and a bunch of velcro or plastic wire holders can be picked up inexpensively to keep the cable in check.

Making a shockmount for the tip isn't all that hard if you put your mind into it, and you can make one that is lightweight and extremely professional looking if you want to.

Adding a weight or weight system to the back end of the pole can be done by using a simple 2.5 or 5lb vecro wriststrap weight you can find at the local exercise store.

It all boils down to value and how much money you really want to spend.

If I had say $250 to spend, I'd get an inexpensive pole such as the one I described above, and spend the rest on another nice mic or lav.

Just my 2 cents :)

Jay Massengill December 26th, 2003 11:03 PM

I guess I'm a bit odd in this department because I don't have strong opinions on boom brands. All the decent name-brand poles seem to work well for me. I'll add some other comments though.
The main advantage of a real boom versus a painter pole conversion is the minimum length. Being able to go to 3 feet for tight interior sets is certainly better than doing a 3 Stooges routine with a 5+ foot painter pole that's collapsed all the way. If you are doing all exteriors, a painter pole can actually work very well, especially where budgets are very tight.
To cover everything efficiently, most pros have two poles. Obviously you've got to have one long enough to handle your major situations, but most of the time you don't need anything beyond 9 or 10 feet for independent film work. There's no need spending all day holding up a 16 foot boom when all you needed was 8 feet.
I know this is obvious, but the shorter booms are much lighter because they are made up from the lighter outer sections rather than just having fewer sections extending out from the same heavy-duty base as a long pole.
I will add a dumbbell collar to the end of a pole if I need to use my right hand to make adjustments and will be holding the pole with my left hand only for 5 seconds or so. Otherwise, proper boom holding technique is the key to battling downforce.
Trimming weight from the mic end is even more critical. That's why I never use a pistol grip attached to the end of the boom just for convenience, nor do I use a plug-on transmitter anywhere on the boom. I'll wear it on my belt. This generally gives better stability of reception too because the transmitter isn't constantly moving about or interacting with the boom itself. Anything that's conductive and rod shaped will influence the radio field as it is emitted by the transmitter.
Take the battery out of the mic if you have a source of phantom power too. Any ounce you can save from the mic end will help tremendously. Ok, enough general rambling on this thread that was asking for specifics...

John Locke December 27th, 2003 12:54 AM


I have a pretty efficient boom/mic setup. It consists of:
  • a Lightwave boom that extends up to almost 10 ft., collapses down to 30", weighs 30 oz., and has the wire threaded inside
  • a Lightwave mini-mount that's compact, lightweight, and sturdy
  • a Lightwave Miniscreen that does the same job as the big boys but takes up a LOT less real estate
  • a Lightwave Super Sock that, again, does the same as the big bushy types and takes up a lot less space (meaning you can put it closer to the subject without getting a bit of fuzz in the picture)
  • an Audio-Technica AT815B shotgun mic which is a good, lightweight, affordable mic
  • a Sennheiser Evolution 100 series transmitter that plugs right onto the end of the boom pole which allows wireless boom work. The receiver connects to the camera and plugs into either the XLR or mini-plug jack.

This type of setup is great for either shooting alone, when no boom operator is available (just set it up on a stand, no need to worry about cables) and when a boom operator is available. Another advantage is that it's all so compact and lightweight that you really don't get tired at all holding it.

Other crews with their traditional huge fuzzy booms will smirk a bit when they see how compact this model is, but when they realize the sound quality is good and my arms aren't tired, they stop smirking and start asking questions.

That's my two cents worth.

Matthew de Jongh December 27th, 2003 09:02 AM

for the evolution receiver, do you use the one that is meant to go on the end of a handheld? or do you use the box shaped one?

i just got the evolution 500 set with both transmitters and i haven't had a chance to do a lot of testing to see how well it transmits when you don't have a metal bodied mic attached to act as the transmitter.

on my box transmitter it only takes the 1/8th inch plug, i guess you could get an adaptor to go from xlr to that.


John Locke December 27th, 2003 09:41 AM


Click the Sennheiser link above and you'll see the same model that I use to attach to the end of the boom pole. It works fine (no adapter needed)...I guess all that length of coiled cord and the boom pole body help it to transmit.

I tested it with a friend. I turned on the receiver on my XL-1 and went out on my balcony, then he took the boom down the elevator 11 floors to the ground level, out the front door of the building, and then about 100-200 feet away to a little park area...I could hear everything fine. Surprised me.

Matt Gettemeier December 27th, 2003 09:59 AM

John, I had another board member mention having some difficulty regarding the locking mechanisms of the LightWave pole. Have you experienced no such problems?

As far as the first member to reply to this thread. I certainly understand the desire for economy regarding many of the items put to use in dv... but my personal rule for improvising is that I first try to get a professional product IF it is something that stays on my person/crew.

I improvise on lights, dollies, and other set equipment... but at $155 (uncabled) I think that the LightWave pole is too cheap to improvise a different solution.

John Locke December 27th, 2003 10:32 AM


At first, I did have a problem with locking down the poles. That was until I discovered how you're supposed to do it, which isn't immediately obvious.

You have to grab the lower section in one hand and the grip for each section in the other and crank them in opposite directions. When I first got it, I kept trying to do the same thing but by holding the upper section which, at first glance, seems more logical. Once you get the hang of it, it's fast and easy...and it locks down tight and secure.

It is cheap compared to other poles, but it's definitely sturdy and well-designed. I do recommend the cabled version if you plan to use the wireless transmitter.

Matthew de Jongh December 27th, 2003 05:26 PM


that is the same thing i have, i have the 500 evo with the plug on adaptor + the belt pack transmitter and the me2? lav.

i need to get to b&h in person to see the boom poles, i have to decide if it is worth the extra money for a carbon fiber, plus i need something that will collapse fairly small to travel well on the airlines.


Bryan Beasleigh December 27th, 2003 06:30 PM


here's a reasonable source. I have the price list

Marty Wein December 27th, 2003 10:13 PM

The new Gitzo Carbon Fiber poles are of great value (if you dont need the poles to be cabled.)

Aaron Koolen January 19th, 2004 03:53 PM

Marty have you used these poles? Are they good?

I think I'll get one I just need to decide if I should get the 2.75 metre one or the 3.84 metre one. The former is about 1/2Kg and the latter about 0.9Kg. They both shrink to the same shortest length - 83cm.

I would think that the 3.84m one is more versatile cause of it's extra length, but was wondering if the fact it weighs almost twice as much as the shorter one is really going to be a pain when using it?

Anyone have any experience? Matt, did you end up getting a boom in the end?


Matthew de Jongh January 19th, 2004 03:59 PM

i ended up getting the

Gitzo G-557C Sport 4-Section Carbon Fiber Boompole - Measuring 2.7 - 9'

it seems really nice, i have played with it but haven't used it in anything real yet.


Matt Gettemeier January 19th, 2004 06:48 PM

I'm going to get the 557c also... I would love a review on this and I'll be a lot of other people would too... A 9' carbon pole well under two bills is hard to beat.

What I really want is a 13' K-Tek... but six bills is a lot of dough for me at this time of year.

Maybe later.

Aaron Koolen January 19th, 2004 06:52 PM

Sounds like we all are going to end up with these. Yeah those K-Tek's look nice but expensive. And I too need the cash for a lot of other stuff at the moment.


Matthew de Jongh January 19th, 2004 07:23 PM

i can't see the value in the other models, i noticed that in the gitzo there are holes if you wanted to run your own cable, but i really prefer having a long xlr cable that i can attach to the boom pole or i can use it for other stuff. one less thing to buy and more importantly, one less thing to lug around.

maybe its just me but i'm big into multi-use things.


Marcia Janine Galles January 20th, 2004 07:00 PM

John, you posted that you use the Lightwave mini mount, but (sorry if I'm a bit clueless) since the thread was on boom poles, can I assume that you bought the "boom swivel carriage" that Lightwave sells as well? Is it as easy/quick to go from camera to boom setup (or otherwise change it out) as their web site implies? I've suffered long enough with a totally lame camera mounted thing. Tried to save money after buying the DVX, and it was a big mistake. To get the darn rubber-bandy contraption tight enough on the camera that it didn't move around, I had to get my husband to loosen it with oil, and lots of muscle, when I need to mount anything else. Def. NOT quick or easy to mess with. Was from Sennheiser, too.

John Locke January 20th, 2004 07:17 PM


Lightwave has changed the MiniMount since I bought mine. The closest model to what I have is this newer one they offer. (Looks like the boom carriage and the MM are sold separately)

Generally, I don't remove/replace items on my camera that often...mainly for time, also because I tend to leave something behind if I take it off, and also because I have the balance points marked for a 3x and 16x setup on my Glidecam (therefore, removing any element changes the balance).

For those reasons, I bought two MiniMounts... one for the camera which stays on all the time, and one for the boom pole which also stays on all the time. If I'm not using the on-camera mic, I just unplug it, but leave it on the camera for the reasons stated above.

Aaron Koolen January 20th, 2004 07:33 PM

I've just ordered the Gitzo 557c from B&H so will do a newbie "initial impressions" rundown when I get it unless someone else wants to do one first.

Be interesting to see if it works well with my current ME66 and AT8415 shockmount (that I just ordered the other day too).


BTW: John, love your SursumFilms logo on the website. Very excellent. Love the animating light.

Marty Wein January 20th, 2004 07:33 PM

<<<-- Originally posted by Marcia Janine Galles : Is it as easy/quick to go from camera to boom setup . -->>>

It is not.....

John Locke January 20th, 2004 07:46 PM

Thanks, Aaron!

Marco Leavitt January 20th, 2004 08:40 PM

I've got the Gitzo G557, which I think is a pretty common boom. I could see how you could be in a situation where you needed a longer boom, but for most every situation (for us so far anyway) it's about the perfect length. It's pretty light too, and for the price, I'm really happy with it. I'm using an Audio Technica 8415 shockmount, and an ME-66 with a K6P module. Sometimes we use a Rycote softie, and the boom doesn't bend too much.

Marcia Janine Galles January 21st, 2004 10:09 AM

Marty, John, thanks for the response. Will continue my hunt, and most likely buy two of whatever.

Matt Gettemeier January 21st, 2004 10:39 AM

I read a post over at dv.com where a guy said that he'd used a K-Tek pole that had zero handling noise... and then the company he was booming for bought an aluminum pole and he said he had a hard time totally avoiding handling noise.

If that's the case then it would be worth the extra couple hundred for the K-Tek in that same length. The guy actually says "graphite pole" rather then K-Tek... but I'm pretty sure for it to be graphite it had to be a K-Tek... almost everything else is carbon or aluminum.

So if the Gitzo has any bending problem compared to other poles I'd like to know... Is it JUST as stiff as a K-Tek?

Also please comment on whether or not you've had any handling noise and if so, is the mic in a proper shockmount?

I'm a very unbiased person... I only tell the truth according to my experience on this forum and I like when others do the same... so with this issue, if the K-Tek really is significantly better in your experience then please do tell.

I'll be happy to get the Gitzo... but if somebody can give me one or two HARD reasons to go with the K-Tek then I'll be happy to pay more and get that.

Marco Leavitt January 21st, 2004 11:14 AM

With the Gitzo, it can be tricky to avoid noise, but I wouldn't blame it on the pole. The cord banging against the pole can be a problem, as can the operators' fingers bumping the metal. Both problems can be avoided by binding the cord to the pole with hairbands, and insisting that the operator never grip the pole anywhere but on the padded handle. We've never experienced any problem with pinging from the locking rings or anything. Carbon fiber poles seem overly extravagant to me, which isn't to say I wouldn't buy one if I had lots of cash.

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