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boom pole operation upgrade

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Craig Alan
boom pole operation upgrade
on Feb 16, 2016 at 8:07:59 pm

looking for high quality boom poles - light weight - smooth lock unlock sections - durable.

do not want internal cables.

I also want to be able to give the boom bole operator a way to monitor the audio. our xlr cord still goes to the audio mixer tech. who has their own headphones. What is the best way to provide this?

just a simple xlr split off the mike? with a headphone amp on the boom pole ops belt? in the past it was recommended to use the rolls pm55?

Or maybe the audio tech and boom pole operator could stay close together and we could do a headphone output split off the mixer.?

also (this is minor) is there a field stand of some sort so when taking a break the boom and attached mike and cord are not leaning against something or laying down on something?

also what's the best xlr cables. I like the thinner ones but not at the expense of quality or an increase in interference. 30 feet seems to be a good length for us. 25 is fine too.

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Richard Crowley
Re: boom pole operation upgrade
on Feb 16, 2016 at 11:21:25 pm

http://ktekpro.com/ would be first on my list of boom pole vendors. They make a wide variety of very nice products at sensible prices. I have one of their poles with internal cable and I much prefer it to the primitive way of doing business.

There are basically three ways of having the boom operator hear what they are doing.
1) Use a local monitor amplifier like the Rolls PM55 or, if you have deeper pockets and more up-scale tastes, the SoundDevices MP-1. And there are likely other similar options.
2) As you mention, you can use a "split" off of the mixer's headphone monitor.
3) If you are "broadcasting" production audio (as on a "ComTek" system or equivalent), then the boom operator could listen on that source.

However, the problem with (2) and (3) are that the boom operator won't necessarily hear the result of their own microphone positioning, but may hear more of the mix which could be confusing and misleading. IMHO (1) is prefered.

Yes there are a few kinds of "boom cradle" which can hold the pole when not being used. For example:
http://ktekpro.com/products/audio/audio-accessories/boom-cradle/
http://www.filmtools.com/ikan-audio-boom-cradle-mount.html
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=boom%20cradle

There are dozens of choices for mic cable. As with most things you must make a trade-off decision for flexibility vs. durability. I have made all my own cables now for almost 50 years. I buy cable and connectors from http://www.redco.com. They also offer a custom service where you can select which cable, which connectors, and the desired length and they will make your cable for a modest charge. 25-30 ft is pretty short for some of us. All my cables are 50 or 100 ft. And I regularly have mic cable runs of 100s of ft.


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Craig Alan
Re: boom pole operation upgrade
on Feb 17, 2016 at 5:22:59 am

Thanks so much Richard. Big help.

The poles are used by a lot of people and the coiled cables end up getting hopelessly twisted. But I like the ones where you can use a straight cable that comes out the bottom side of the pole so the boom op can rest the foot down. Plus easy to switch out cable.

Yes I was leaning toward the first solution for a number of reasons.

The mm1 looks good but does this effect the gain to the audio mixer? I'd rather the boom pole operator left that to the audio tech and instead just be able to listen what they are picking up. How's the battery life on the rolls? I want either a separate xlr going to the boom op or a passthrough to the audio mixer and just a headphone amp for the boom op. Does that make sense?

So do I have one length xlr from the mike to the rolls and another from the rolls to the mixer? Or split the xor from the mike so the headphone amp and mixer each get one?

I'm not looking for a boom cradle. Just a way to rest the boom when the team is taking a break or getting a visual only shot.

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Richard Crowley
Re: boom pole operation upgrade
on Feb 17, 2016 at 2:03:24 pm
Last Edited By Richard Crowley on Feb 17, 2016 at 2:13:27 pm

The Rolls PM55 is more suitable for boom operator monitoring as the mic signal is just a "pass-thru" and unaffected on its way to the mixer/recorder/camera.

Typically you would have a short cable from the microphone to the PM55, and then a long cable from the PM55 back to the mixer/recorder/camera.

If you use google image search for: production sound cart, you will see that many of them have simple PVC pipes attached to the sides for holding boom poles when not in use.

There are also special pockets and clips made for holding boom poles: http://www.filmtools.com/sounboomhol.html


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Craig Alan
Re: boom pole operation upgrade
on Feb 17, 2016 at 3:01:17 pm

Sounds good. I'll go with the PM55. It does pass thru the phantom power from the mixer, correct?

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Richard Crowley
Re: boom pole operation upgrade
on Feb 17, 2016 at 5:18:36 pm

Yes, it passes through the phantom power. It cannot power the microphone on its own.


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Craig Alan
Re: boom pole operation upgrade
on Feb 17, 2016 at 6:50:31 pm

Thanks again. The pm55 has been replaced with the PM55P which they say is stereo.

A typical set up for us is one boom mike to input one output left channel from the SD 302 to input 2 on our camcorders. This produces dual mono recorded to the media card.

Any problems with this for a mono mike. It has a switchable stereo/mono 1/4" monitor input jack. But we are using xlr.

Unless BH just doesn't sell the right model?

http://www.rolls.com/pdf/M_PM55P.pdf

MONITOR LEVEL: Adjusts the level of the incoming signal from the Monitor Input.

But that won't change the pass thru levels right?

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Richard Crowley
Re: boom pole operation upgrade
on Feb 17, 2016 at 7:13:25 pm

The microphone connection is hard-wired from the female input XLR over to the male output XLR connector. The Rolls box does nothing to the mic signal.

I don't understand your question about the connector. The microphone IN and OUT connections are XLR.


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Craig Alan
Re: boom pole operation upgrade
on Feb 18, 2016 at 5:13:01 am

Ok let me rephrase this is the pm55P the best PM55 model for this purpose. It seems to have more features than the previous model and that's fine but want to make sure it serves my primary purpose for its use.

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Richard Crowley
Re: boom pole operation upgrade
on Feb 18, 2016 at 5:33:25 am

BOTH models meet your primary requirement. Not clear why there is any confusion?


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Craig Alan
Re: boom pole operation upgrade
on Feb 19, 2016 at 4:52:06 am

Well there isn't now. Thanks. Just wasn't sure about the stereo vs mono.

Many years ago I ordered some kind of adapter cable that ended not working due to a mono or stereo plug where we needed the other. Don't remember the details but remember wondering why it wasn't working.

Anyway I'm ordering 5 of these and looking forward to using them. I looked into other solutions and they were way more expensive and added features I was trying to avoid. Surprised there isn't more choices for this obvious need.

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Eric Toline
Re: boom pole operation upgrade
on Feb 21, 2016 at 3:39:42 am

A duplex mic cable will do the job. It's a 2 pair cable with one pair for the mic signal going to the mixer and the other pair for the HP return from the mixer. A small passive 2 connector box connects the mic & the headphone return, the box should have a belt clip for the boom op to wear on their belt. Both the mic & headphones get connected to the box.

The other end of the cable connects to an input of the mixer and the HP output on the mixer. If there's only one HP connection on the mixer then a HP splitter cable is required for both people to hear the signal.

"I push the RECORD button and hope for the best"


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Craig Alan
Re: boom pole operation upgrade
on Feb 21, 2016 at 5:41:00 pm

Thanks Eric,
I was considering this but ran into a couple of limitations to this solution. Th duplex cables are relatively expensive. I would go that route if it added significant production value for our use.

It also increased the weight of the cable going to the mixer and I have three teams moving on every shot and the XLRs require quite a bit of cord management.

The passive box for audio tech is needed anyway The only one I see around

(please suggest another if you know ion a better one)

is the Rolls PM55P. all the others seem to have gain control for the actual feed to the mixer which I don't want.

Once I have the Rolls I don't see any advantage to the duplex because I want the boom pole operator to be listening to the audio from that single boom not the mix that the audio tech is sending to the camera.

The camera op and audio tech will already be monitoring the soundest and arriving at the camera. If I were to use a snake it would be between the split headphone out the camera to the mixer which does have the ability to monitor RTN.

I know on larger scale productions and higher end mixers with more inputs, the duplex cables will allow headphone communication between the head audio tech and the audio boom pole operators. But our SD 302s don't allow for this AFAIK. If this could be done I'd get duplex kits for a three camera shoot when we shoot live events rather than our short form movies.

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Richard Crowley
Re: boom pole operation upgrade
on Feb 22, 2016 at 1:28:49 am

Duplex cable appears to be around 40 cents per foot.
http://www.redco.com/Gepco-D61801EZGF.html
http://www.redco.com/Gepco-D72401EZ.html

Not sure what is your definition of "relatively expensive"?


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Craig Alan
Re: boom pole operation upgrade
on Feb 22, 2016 at 5:57:53 am

No doubt I could save some money if I could learn how to make my own. But I was referring to the duplex kits that include the boxes for both the audio tech and the boom op. along with headphones with mikes and the pass through boxes and so forth. I was getting quotes for several hundred dollars compared to $80 for the rolls PM55P.

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Craig Alan
Re: boom pole operation upgrade
on Feb 28, 2016 at 4:43:32 pm

Thanks Richard,

I went with the K-tek classic stage poles. It allows me to run any xlr cord through the pole internally without having to learn Soldering.

The top screws off allowing you to put the xlr through the pole. and the other end comes out the bottom side of the pole to go to the boom op's headphone amp. Easy to replace and re-configure with different lengths.

Also ordered the boom box which is an overpriced apple box with the center cut out so you can rest the pole in this cradle when taking breaks and then use it as an apple box during a shoot. Nice design.

I also went with the Rolls PM55P so the boom op can monitor but not effect gain to mixer. The stage poles are graphite and 4-5 sections. Looking forward to using them.

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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