Basic Audio Techniques for Video: How to Use a Boompole

Sharing buttons:


if you want to produce a great video

you're going to need great sounding

audio along with your picture in this

video we'll show you some insider tips

from professional boom operators since

the advent of the first talking pictures

film makers have relied upon mounting a

microphone onto a boom pole in order to

position the mic overhead of the actors

and just out of frame this gets the

microphone closer to the actors than

leaving it on top of the camera it also

angles the mic so that ambient noise

striking the sides tends to be rejected

while actual dialogue is in the pickup

zone always use a good shock mount to

isolate any handling noise from the boom

pole don't just insert the mic into the

center opening of this tic-tac-toe grid

you always want to crisscross or

over-under the horizontal bands so that

the mic is securely supported after

inserting the mic connect the audio

cable if necessary wrap the cable a half

turn or a full turn around the pole so

that excess cable slack won't knock

against it professional boom operators

at a small wrap of cloth camera tape

where the rear of the mic plugs into the

cable connector to avoid any mechanical

clicking where the metal parts meet you

should also add a thin strip of camera

tape to the tip of your windscreen this

makes it easier for the camera operator

to see the location of the mic and the


especially when shooting against a dark

background here's another quick tip to

establish your working frame line with a

camera operator begin with your mic

dipped completely in the frame and then

gradually raise it until it just clears

the viewfinder that will get you closer

to your actors then lowering the boom

from way above and asking the camera

person to warn you when approaching the

frame when you extend a boom pole first

you want to slide each section out as

far as it will go until you feel the

stop then back it in a couple of inches

before you tighten it down this is

important so that each section has a

little bit of overlap and gets supported

in two places the end of the inner

tubing as well as the locking collar of

the outer

only tighten down the pole finger tight

otherwise it will take a lot of awkward

straining to re loosen when you need to

adjust length hold the boom pole

completely over your head so the mic

dips down ever so slightly keep the

front arm vertical elbow locked and

tucked close to your head this is the

supporting arm in this position it's

easy to benchpress a couple of pounds if

your front arm goes horizontal then the

pole will feel a lot heavier the rear

arm is the steering and control arm use

it to tilt and swing the pole you can

also move both arms together in order to

make the boom pole reach in or back out

rotate the pole with your fingertips in

order to aim or cue the mic from actor

to actor as much as possible aim the mic

towards the actors nose you want to come

in at a slight angle somewhere between

45 and 90 degrees if there are two or

more actors in a scene then you may need

to move your poles so that you can

alternate from actor to actor or at

least find one position that allows you

to cover both of them equally well it

really helps if the boom operator can

hear the soundtrack on headphones there

are special duplex cables for this

purpose but you could do it with a

simple Y splitter and a headphone

extension cable higher quality condenser

shotgun mics such as the BP 4073 offer a

very smooth transition between their on

axis response and their off axis side

response referred to as being flat off

axis it means that audio from the off

angle will still sound good just at a

lower volume sound mixers in their boom

operators often take advantage of this

if they have to balance two actors who

speak at different volumes by placing

the louder actor slightly off axis it

brings his volume down compared to the

actor who remains centered under the mic

the background sound in the scene what

we call room tone remains constant

because we do not have to alternately

raise or lower our recording volume

holding up a boom pole can get tiring

after a while here are some tips to make

it easier extend your boom pole to

almost its maximum length and then move

your grip closer to the center so the

pole is better balanced and not so front

heavy now your only bench pressing a

couple of pounds instead of fighting

leverage and torque that would work your


if you have to boom a really long scene

grab an unused and and use it as a

support here's the secret

don't use the stand to directly rest the

boom pole use it to rest your elbow and

to take the strain off your supporting

arm you can use a small pillow or

sandbag as a pad that way the pole is

still gently held and controlled by the

fingers and moving the boom pole on and

off the stand will not produce an

audible clunk with these simple tricks

you can boom like a pro in the video

studio or on location Audio Technica has

you covered