If you are in the film and video production industry or you have ever watched behind the scenes of filming and television sessions, then boom, the microphone is no stranger to you.
And if you still don’t know: what is a boom microphone? And why is it used in filming and production? Don’t worry. Hooke Audio will give you an exact definition and an overview of its function, structure, and application.
Boom Microphone Definition – What is a Boom Microphone?
For amateur productions, a boom mic is easy enough to make. To hold the microphone high, a broomstick or microphone stand can be used. This pole is often called a fishing pole.
This microphone can pick up vibrations that could affect audio quality. Boom mics can pick up vibrations such as those caused by unsteady hands.
This can be prevented by using a microphone with an isolating mechanism such as elastic suspensions or foam padding.
When using a boom mic, there are some things to be aware of. The boom operator of the microphone must ensure that it does not interfere with the shot. This can distract the audience and make the images look unprofessional.
It should not be visible on film, but it should be close to the people speaking. This will ensure optimal audio. It is vital to ensure that the batteries are fully charged before you begin filming with boom microphones.
Sometimes, a team is required to operate the boom microphone. If a subject is walking forward, then the person holding the boom microphone must walk backward.
An assistant might be needed to help the boom operator avoid falling and keeping the microphone in place. A boom operator is responsible for operating a boom microphone on professional film and television productions.
Boom operators decide where to place the microphone to get the best sound. The boom operator might decide to add mics to the sound being recorded by the boom microphone. The boom operator stands nearby the camera operator.
The boom operator also needs to ensure that the microphone is correctly positioned. This requires both a steady hand and muscular arms. Boom operators must also be able to read and recall a production’s script. He must also be able to follow the dialogue and action using the microphone.
The boom operator also needs to be team players, tech-savvy, and patient since long hours can lead to delays.
Although no specific degree qualifies you to be a boom operator or any other type of production, many boom operators have a film degree to enhance their knowledge about movie and television production.
Potential boom operators gain valuable experience and training through internships.
Boom Microphone Applications
We will now have three main boom microphone applications if we expand our definition of the boom mic.
- Film and video dialogue, and audio recording at the location
- Overhead microphones for studio use
- Stage overhead microphones
Boom Mic 1: Application Film/Video
A boom mic’s most popular use is in film and video.
Shotgun pattern boom mics, as mentioned in the previous section of this article, are an essential part of the film industry. Here are some reasons why:
- They are extremely directional, meaning they can pick up sound only from where they point.
- They are lightweight and strong, making it simple to attach them to the boom pole and keep them in place.
These are some tips to use boom mics in film/video.
- If possible, get a boom pole that has an internal coiled cable. If the cable is not coiled internally, wrap the mic cable a few times around the length of your boom pole. Also, ensure that the cable is not too close to the boom pole.
- Keep the boom pole mic as close to the sound source as possible without becoming visible in the camera frame.
- To ensure that the pole of the microphone is pointed at the audio source of the sound, turn it gently.
- If you are the boom operator who holds the microphone in place, take breaks and stretch as often as you can.
- The boom microphone is considered attached to the end of a boom stand to keep the actors/talent stationary for long-distance shots.
Boom Mic 2: Studio Overheads
A stationary boom microphone setup is commonly used in studios, especially to hold overhead drum mics.
This application isn’t what we would consider a boom mic, but a microphone mounted on a boom stand.
Recording drum kits is usually done using studio overheads. These overheads use boom mic stands to hold mics.
They are placed outside of the drum set and have boom arms that extend above the drum to allow microphones to be placed directly above it.
Boom Mic 3: Stage Overheads
Booms are used to supporting overhead microphones on stage. This applies to the drum mentioned above overhead setup, but it also could be used to hide microphones overhead during theatrical performances.
Boom Microphone Examples
We’ve given a broad definition of boom mics, but I will only give examples of typical boom mics used for film purposes.
These are three examples of a film boom microphone.
- Schoeps CMIT 5U
- Sennheiser MKH 60
- Rode NTG-2
Schoeps CMIT 5U shotgun microphone is a top-address small diaphragm mic with a polar shotgun pattern and a super-cardioid capsule. It is 251mm in length and produces an unusually low off-axis coloration for a shotgun microphone.
Although the Schoeps CMIT 5U microphone is expensive, it is not an industry-standard boom mic. It is a great boom mic application microphone and deserves to be mentioned.
The CMIT5U mic is light and compact, making it ideal for boom-sounding on video/film shoots.
Sennheiser MKH 60
Sennheiser MKH60 is described as a lightweight, short-gun microphone. This microphone is a small diaphragm and RF condenser with a hypercardioid capsule. It also features a polar shotgun pattern due to an interference tube.
Along with other MKH series mics, the Sennheiser MKH-60 has become an industry-standard boom mic. Their high-quality sound quality and relative resistance to moisture are the main reasons for their popularity. The humidity resistance of RF condenser microphones is a popular feature.
The mic is 280mm in diameter. The MKH 60, like most shotgun microphones, works well as a boom microphone.
Rode NTG-2 small-diaphragm microphone has a hypercardioid capsule, polar shotgun pattern, and interference tube. It is lightweight at 180mm in length.
Like the other NTG series mics, the Rode NTG-2 is budget-friendly and can be used in film and video.
Cardioid Boom Mics in Tight Spaces
You should note that boom miking in tight spaces and when the microphone must be held close to a surface (ceiling or wall) is a better option than using a shotgun microphone. It is often more convenient to use a cardioid pencil microphone than a shotgun microphone.
The typical shotgun microphone’s rear lobe of sensitivity will pick up reflections from walls and cause a comb-filtering effect that would reduce the sound quality.
The cardioid microphones on the other side do not have this rear lobe sensitivity and will reject most of the surface rejections. This results in less comb filtering, a more true sound, and slightly less directionality.
The boom microphone is the most popular choice of videographers. The Shotgun Mic will help you achieve the best sound quality for your production.
They provide clear and high-quality sound to your footage by selecting specific sounds without recording other unwanted sound sources.
Hopefully, through this article, you will better understand the functions and applications of boom microphones and can choose the most suitable mic to serve your work and hobbies.