Film boom mic: Guide to definition, considered specs, and boom positions

If you've ever seen behind-the-scenes footage of television or movie shoots, you may have seen a film boom mic at the end of a long pole being held above the actors. What is it? It has a directional pickup pattern and is attached to the end of a boom pole. This kind of mic is a staple in film and video. Let's define it in further detail, discuss the specs to consider when choosing, and share some tips to use it.

SYNCO D2 sound recording boom mic is used for exterior shooting.

Boom mic definition in filmmaking

Boom microphones are audio equipment that is mounted to the end of a boom stand. They are frequently used in movies as a way to bring the recording device close enough to the target sound without obstructing the shot. Despite being referred to as a boom mic, we most frequently mean the shotgun microphones that are attached to the end of the boom stand.

This type of boom mic has a shotgun/lobar directional pattern. It picks up sound in the direction it faces but rejects most sounds from other directions, making it particularly directional. Another amazing thing is that it is widely compatible with cameras so it brings much versatility to filmmakers.

Five specs to consider for film boom mic

To choose the best boom mic for film, it is necessary to take the following specifications into consideration:

Boom mic polar pattern

To get good sounds, this is one of the most crucial specs to consider especially in the creation of films.

Good directivity is based on a straightforward principle, making it easier for even beginners to choose the boom mic for film shoots. Your subject's sound, not coming from the side or the back, will be captured with shotgun mic. In other words, you should search for features that improve the mic's directionality.

Weight

It is obvious that the weight cannot be too much since it is attached to a boom mic pole. Longer lengths of time are frequently spent holding the pole, which is significantly more difficult when using a hefty shotgun microphone. So it is advised to shop for a mic that is somewhat portable and light, which makes it much simpler to hold for a long time.

Shape

You might ask if the design really matters for boom mics in movies because they come in a variety of sizes and shapes. The answer is yes, as your microphone must fit into extra and regular accessories like a shock mount or a windshield. It is a good idea to select a DSLR microphone that is compatible with these accessories since, as you are well aware, they may help produce high-quality sound.

Flat frequency response

You may record natural sounds with flat frequency response. If you've done any sound recording before, you probably already know that low frequencies aren't the best. Many of the low frequencies will be excluded from your sound if you use a microphone with flat frequency response.

Sensitivity levels

Even while you would think that sensitivity is detrimental to your sound, the reverse is really true. Keep in mind that your film boom mic won't be directly in front of the mouth of the subjects, so it has to be able to capture the subject's voice even when it is a bit distant.

Six boom mic positions for film shoot

A boom mic operator is generally in charge of managing a boom mic kit in film and television projects. For instance, a boom operator chooses where to position the microphone to get the optimum sound. He may also choose to use additional microphones, such as tiny lapel microphones or other models, to enhance the sound captured by the video boom mic. Another duty of the boom operator is to guarantee that the microphone is placed steadily. Strong arms and a steady hand are necessary for this.

After their first day on the job, inexperienced boom operators frequently discover how exhausting and unpleasant holding a boom pole can be. Although not the heaviest piece of equipment on set, booms require operators to find positions that make difficult work simpler since they must be carefully held for hours and pointed exactly at the audio source.

Here we list the recommended boom mic setup.

  • The "H" position: This is a very typical boom holding position. It places the microphone close to the mouth of the subjects and out of the camera's field of view.
  • Bench press: This position extends the "H" position down to the chest to give your arms and back a little rest.
  • Scooping: It is a great way to place the boom close to your target sound without casting a shadow when a boom from overhead doesn't work, such as when lights from above are casting boom shadows on the talent.
  • Shoulder rest: Putting the boom on your shoulders is a good way to rest yourself without putting your gear on the ground.
  • Vertical rest: This is to simply place the end of the boom on your feet and support it vertically. You usually don't want to put the pole directly on the ground. They can be dirty at first, and some poles have audio cables sticking out of the ends. Putting it on a shoe instead of a hard surface helps reduce the pressure a little.
  • Boom box: This gizmo allows you to set the boom aside without having to lean it against a wall or lie on the ground.

Conclusion

The film boom mic is the most popular choice of videographers. The directional mic will help you achieve the best audio quality for your filmmaking. It offers clear and high quality sounds to your video by picking up specific sounds without capturing ambient noises. Hopefully, through this article, you will better understand the functions and boom mic techniques and can choose the most suitable mic to serve your work and hobbies.