When and how to use shotgun boom mic for better audio?

A shotgun boom mic is placed at the end of a boom pole and features a highly directed polar pattern. It is commonly used in movies and videos, picking up sounds where it points to and rejecting off-axis sounds. It often requires a boom operation to hold it, which makes it movable and captures sounds accurately. Like any other type of microphone, it works the best in some situations and there are some tips to make it sound better. Before discussing these topics, it is necessary to have a complete understanding of what it is.

Video: Broad and narrow definition of boom mic and its audio example

A boom mic, in the broadest context, is any microphone that is connected to a boom. What exactly is a microphone boom? The phrase mic boom often refers to a boom pole that contains a microphone at one end and is held out-of-frame in cinematic scenarios. However, it also refers to the horizontally extending sections of mike stands. As a result, numerous microphones match our wide definition of a boom mic.

In general, when professionals in the audio and film industries discuss a boom microphone, they indicate the shotgun mic with boom pole used in video production. It is extremely useful in cinema and television, but rarely employed in other professions that require audio. It features a shotgun/lobar directional pattern. The wording is a little different, but it's the same idea.

The boom pole, which is held (by an operator or a hefty stand) to keep the microphone slightly beyond the video frame, has a shotgun mic attached to one end. It should be directed at the actors or other sound sources, and it should be slightly moved when the sound source changes, for the greatest effects.
Check the video by YouTuber Monkeypixels to see how SYNCO D1, a shotgun boom microphone, performs in audio pickup.

When to use shotgun boom mic kit?

Actually, the most popular application is to use it in filmmaking and video production. For example, you can use one shotgun boom mic for a two person interview. To be more detailed, having someone hold a shotgun boom mic above the speaker(s) while you shoot outside helps reduce background noise. This is perfect for your interior video shooting for the same reasons.

The directional boom mic reduces all background noise by only picking up audio that is directly in front of it. Naturally, this is much simpler to accomplish when your speakers are following a script and aren't moving around a lot.

Here are the reasons why it is useful in aforementioned scenarios:

  • The tight directionality enables it to capture sounds only to which it points.
  • It is reasonably lightweight and sturdy, so it is simple to attach it to the boom pole and keep it in place.

How to make it sound better?

Below we list some general tips for using shotgun boom mic for filming:

  • If at all feasible, get a boom pole for shotgun mic with an inside cable coil. If not, make sure the microphone cord is tightly secured or wrapped around the boom pole many times. Keep the cable firmly attached to the pole, in other words.
  • Hold the mic as close to the sound source as you can without it getting in the way.
  • Gently rotate the microphone to make sure it is aimed toward the source of the current sound.
  • If you're the boom operator keeping the microphone in place, take pauses and stretch when you can.
  • Consider permanently mounting the mic if the talent or actor is immobile throughout a lengthy shot by putting the boom pole into a sturdy stand or by fastening it to the end of a shotgun boom mic stand.

Tips to position and point the shotgun boom mic

Proper position and correct direction are crucial for high quality audio. Read on to learn how to get excellent audio pickup.

Positioning: For high-quality audio recording, your shotgun mic must be positioned correctly. While less costly mics sound best when placed three to four feet away, the most expensive shotgun microphones can record sounds from a distance of six to ten feet. Typically, interviews are recorded at a distance of seven to 10 feet from the subject.

Booming from above: The shotgun mic will produce the best sound if it is placed a few feet above your subject. It remains close enough to the subject so that you can hear dialog clearly no matter how far away the camera is from it. This offers viewers the intimate performance they come to expect.

The microphone will be pointed downward when booming from above. The sides of the microphone will be hit by noise from the room, and pickup there is significantly less sensitive. Off-axis pickup is the term for dead side pickup.

At the same time, the front of the microphone, which has the highest sensitivity, picks up talk on-axis beneath it. As a result, we get less background noise and increased voice focus.

If you work with a crew

Working with a small team is preferred when using a shotgun microphone and boom pole to record audio. It's ideal to have a dedicated boom operator and sound person, if that's possible. Keeping an eye on levels as often as you can helps prevent getting useless audio.

When feasible, wear headphones when listening to audio. You will be able to hear any additional noise, such as airplanes, that you may otherwise miss. You can obtain the greatest audio by doing this in addition to adjusting the sensitivity on an audio recorder.

Try to tune the sensitivity such that conversation is at or near -6dB. The audio will clip and become useless if it rises over 0 dB.

[For more tips for using boom mic for filming, check the article Film boom mic: Guide to definition, considered specs, and boom positions]