When we think about a microphone, most of us think about the one that singers or presenters use at conferences and events. But what you may not know is that there are various types of microphones out there with different purposes and uses, for example a boom mic. But what is a boom mic and where is it used?
A boom mic is a microphone most commonly used in recording studios and film sets, especially for close-up shots. Let’s learn more about it in the post below.
What Is a Boom Mic?
A boom mic, also known as a pro mic or an extended range mic, is a type of microphone that gets its name from the way it’s constructed. Boom mics are short and have a narrow range of motion, making them perfect for placing in the “boom” position above the camera operator.
It captures sound from a specific source; for example, it can be in the form of a speech from an interviewee or a singer on stage. You can find such mics in recording studios, sports arenas, and live performances. Their primary function is to help capture sound in areas where conventional microphones cannot operate effectively.
How Does a Boom Mic Work?
A “boom mic” is just a shotgun microphone attached to a boom pole (boom arm), and you can use it for producing the most professional-sounding recordings you can get from them straight out of the box.
Let’s examine the operation of boom microphones, mostly shotgun microphones, in more detail. There are many technologies at work here, but we will tell you about the two most important.
Supercardioid Polar Pattern
Boom microphones feature a supercardioid polar pattern, which means they are more directed than cardioid microphones and have a tiny lobe at the back.
A boom microphone’s interference tube allows it to reject sound from the sides even more effectively than a standard supercardioid polar pattern. To illustrate, if you place the microphone in front of the interference tube, there is only one path for sound: it must go down the tube and into the microphone.
Sounds coming from the sides of the microphone, however, will have to travel via the slots along the interference tube before they can reach the capsule. Therefore, a sound coming from the side will travel varying distances via different paths before reaching the microphone capsule.
Phase interference and lower overall signal intensity result from the different routes interacting.
What Is a Boom Microphone Used For?
The following three areas use boom microphones extensively.
For Filming and Capturing Audio and Video Dialogue
Most people’s image of a boom mic’s usage is in the context of cinematic production.
Shotgun type boom mics are ubiquitous in film production because of the following features.
- Given their directional nature, they will only pick up sounds in their pointed direction.
- They are sturdy and light, making it simple to mount one on the end of a boom pole and keep it there.
For Studio Overheads
In the recording studio, stationary boom mic configurations are often employed, primarily for holding overhead drum mics.
Drum kits are often recorded in studios using overheads. They involve boom mic-mounted microphones. The mics may be placed immediately over the drum set thanks to the stands’ boom arms located outside the drum kit.
For Stage Overheads
On stage, boom microphones hold overhead microphones. It is valid for the overhead drum arrangement and may also apply to concealing overhead mics in theatrical performances.
What Is the Difference Between a Boom Mic and Normal Mic?
The normal microphone is a condenser mic of moderate quality, often used in inexpensive home electronics. It is used for recording and amplifying sound. Studio music recordings and overdubs often use a high-quality condenser mic. However, a normal microphone on the market is less expensive, and its major use is for sound amplification.
You can find a normal microphone in computers, hearing aids, and mobile devices. Unfortunately, the normal microphone is incapable of high-pressure recording sounds. Its frail construction makes it vulnerable to harm in the case of a collision.
A boom mic consists of a long pole called a “boom” and a single-element microphone called a “shotgun mic” that records audio only in one direction. Actors and sound technicians utilize boom mics on-set to capture the conversation and other diegetic noises.
Boom microphones are ideal for non-interruptive videos, controlled surroundings, and narrative films.
What Does a Boom Mic Plug Into?
The boom operator will often use an XLR cable to link the microphone to the mixer or recorder or a “duplex” wire that serves as both an input for the microphone and an output for headphones. Compared to wireless options, this has consistently delivered the greatest performance throughout the years.
How to Connect a DSLR to a Boom Microphone?
You first connect your boom microphone to a cable and then connect that cable to the wireless socket on the transmitter. The transmitter may give phantom power, then transmits to the receiver, which you can hook into the microphone port on your DSLR camera.
What Is a Boom Mic Stand?
A boom stand is a platform for connecting microphones or other similar equipment that does not need the use of hands. A boom mic stand will feature an extended arm that extends out from the top of the stand, allowing the stand to be placed farther away from the user.
It is in contrast to a typical microphone stand, which consists of a strong base and a straight pole to install the mic on top. It helps position the microphone stand such that it may pass over or over a big piece of equipment or a musical instrument, such as across a piano to a pianist’s mouth, without getting in the way.
How to Set Up a Boom Mic?
Boom microphones are directional microphones attached to boom poles or arms. You can check that boom mics are integral to shooting movies and producing videos. Today, it is also used for streaming and creating YouTube videos.
Many folks are unsure how to handle and set up a boom mic or are puzzled. However, it would be great if you knew. It’s excellent if you’re aware of this. But, on the other hand, if you have no idea how to set up a boom mic stand, we will tell you how you can.
You can easily set up a boom mic by following these six steps.
You’ll need some gears, or tools, to put up a boom mic stand. Just remember that a boom mic stand doesn’t have to cost as much as you would think. To get the same quality out of your setup, you’ll need a larger budget.
- Grip head
- Boom pole
- Boom mic
- Boom pole holder
Install the Stand
The first action is to set the stand. Put it anywhere you feel at ease; however, you must be mindful of the legs.
Put one or more of the stand’s legs where you want your microphone to be. Your stance will become somewhat more rigid against falling if you do this.
There is also a restriction on how many people may be on the stand at once. For example, you need a sturdy pedestal to support that much weight, and you’ll need something much sturdier if you want to add many more gears to the mix. If not, your support structure risks collapsing.
Connect the Grip Head
The grip head is the part of the boom pole that enables it to be moved freely in three-dimensional space. This mechanism allows the pole to rotate a full 360 degrees horizontally and up and down. The boom pole can only be long, and the grip head aids in joining the boom pole to the stand.
Connect the Boom Pole Holder
Next, after connecting the grip head to the stand, attach the boom pole holder to the grip head. By now, you probably know what a boom pole holder is just from the name.
The grip head has a holder for the boom pole, which is attached to the grip head with a clamp. Additionally, the boom pole holder keeps it from swaying.
Connect the Boom Pole to the Holder
The boom pole and boom pole holder need to be connected this time.
The main function of the boom pole is to carry sound far from the stand. A Boom pole serves as a shotgun microphone in this metaphor. As a result, the boom operator avoids the shot. Additionally, you’ll obtain higher-quality recordings if you use a boom pole because it remains near the head.
It’s time to position the microphone using the boom pole. Attach them. You’ll find an adaptor to hang the microphone. Place the microphone there and secure it with the boom pole.
Connect the Cable
You must attach the microphone to your camera using a high-quality cable. You can only obtain a decent performance from an appropriate cable.
The size of the boom pole or how far away you are shooting the video will determine the length of the wire.
You must follow these steps to set up a boom mic and the boom mic stand to get the best sound recording. You must record in a way where the boom mic or you are not in the shot or frame.
Know This Important Information
In the world of film and television production, a boom operator is a person in charge of handling the boom microphone. It’s not uncommon for the boom mic to need several operators. In addition, the person carrying the boom mike must walk in the opposite direction of the subject if the latter is moving ahead.
The boom operator may need assistance from another crew member to prevent injury and maintain steady microphone placement.
Boom operators are in charge of positioning the microphone for optimal recording quality. The boom operator may choose to supplement the boom microphone’s recording with additional microphones, and the camera operator and the boom operator work side by side.
The boom operator is responsible for positioning the microphone appropriately, and they must have a steady hand and strong arms to achieve this feat. The ability to read and recite the script of a show is also essential for boom operators. He needs microphone comprehension skills to follow the conversation and the plot.
The boom operator needs to work well with others, be familiar with modern technology, and have patience since delays and lengthy shifts are common.
No formal education is required to work as an operator or in any other aspect of production; however, many boom operators have a film degree to expand their expertise in the field.
Internships are a great way for aspiring boom operators to get experience and education.
The most common microphone used by filmmakers is the boom mic. By selectively capturing just the sounds you need and ignoring ambient noise, they ensure that your movie has crisp, high-quality audio.
With the information in this article, you should be able to choose the best microphone for your professional or personal needs.