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Boom Mic Operation

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Justin Leyba
Boom Mic Operation
on Feb 25, 2011 at 4:17:06 am

I am a director and I can't hold the boom mic and direct/control the camera at the same time. So I asked my friend to be my boom operator and he said yes. And now, I want to teach him how to use the boom mic/pole to get great audio. Not that I am only serious with the picture, I am also very serious with the sound.
I've been researching on where should boom mics be pointed at. I've seen that it should be pointed at the mouth, some say point it at the throat.

So the question is, where should a boom mic be pointed at to get really great audio?
Any tips for boom operation is always good! =))


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Brian Reynolds
Re: Boom Mic Operation
on Feb 25, 2011 at 7:49:15 am

What sort of mic are you using?
How far would you normally position the microphone away from the talents mouth?
What are you using for a boom pole?

Just asking the questions so we know which direction to take the replies.


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Justin Leyba
Re: Boom Mic Operation
on Feb 25, 2011 at 3:54:20 pm

[Brian Reynolds] "What sort of mic are you using?
How far would you normally position the microphone away from the talents mouth?
What are you using for a boom pole?"


Well, I have the Rode Mono Videomic. I would normally position the mic as close to the talent as possible without being in the frame. And I would normally tell them to point it at the HEART.
And I just use a DIY Boompole (painter's pole= very effective).


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Bob Kessler
Re: Boom Mic Operation
on Feb 25, 2011 at 1:43:08 pm

Even amongst professional boom-ops there are differences of opinion regarding technique. The only thing I know is that being a boom-op is one of the toughest jobs on the set. S/he has to hold a boom-pole overhead for hours at a time, constantly and noiselessly "swinging" the boom so that the mic is properly aimed at the actor speaking their lines while avoiding props, while keeping the mic out of the frame and not casting any noticeable shadows.

Here's a few decent articles:

http://www.thompsound.com/old-site/Articles/QSFT/zen_boom.pdf

http://www.colinhartonline.com/?p=336

http://www.equipmentemporium.com/sound/tutorials-boompoles.php

The forum below is for professional production sound mixers, but there are a few threads on swinging a boom.

http://www.jwsound.net/SMF/index.php

Peace,

Bob
____________________________________________________________________
Filmmaking is the art of the invisible;
If anyone notices your work you haven't done your job right.


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Alan Lloyd
Re: Boom Mic Operation
on Feb 25, 2011 at 4:12:07 pm

I've had occasion to "break in" a couple new sound people.

The thing I found really effective was to give them the boom and mixer, have them put the headphones on, and then walk around while talking to them, having them follow me while listening carefully to what they were picking up. It also forces them to be aware of their surroundings and their personal safety, as I did this in parks, with uneven ground, trees, and the Mississippi River nearby.

I'd tell them what to listen for, from extraneous ambient sound to "cable slap" inside the boom, and also continually remind them of not tripping over anything - while randomly changing speed and direction as I walked.

It worked.


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Eric Toline
Re: Boom Mic Operation
on Feb 25, 2011 at 5:10:49 pm

Another good way to train potential boom ops is get a small "Mag Light" and fix it to the end of a boom pole like a mic and have them keep the small circle of light focused on your face.


Eric


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Justin Leyba
Re: Boom Mic Operation
on Mar 22, 2011 at 2:24:48 am

THANKS GUYS FOR THE HELP!

One more quick question though. You know that recorder boom operators carry with them all the time? Do they act like as the sound mixers? 'Cause don't they have to watch the levels to make sure the sound is not distorted?
'Cause I have the Zoom H2 with the Rode Mic. And I'm wondering if I should get someone to hold the Zoom recorder to watch the levels and stuff while someone booming the mic. Or should I just give the recorder to the boom operator through a bag or something and let him handle all the work.

Any suggestions??


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