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Saturday, January 22, 2022

The Ins and Outs of Using a Boom Mic

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If you’re working on quality content creation or video production and you want to get better quality sound, then you’re going to need a boom mic at some point. The term boom mic is actually short for a boomed shotgun mic. These microphones are designed to provide top-quality audio for video production in a wide variety of settings and situations.

If you’re planning on taking content creation to the next level, you’re going to need to know the ins and outs of using a boom mic. So, today, we’ll explore what exactly a boom microphone is and how to use it.

What is a boom microphone?

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What most people know as a boom microphone is actually several individual pieces of equipment. These pieces are the boom pole, shock mount, and, of course, the microphone. To truly understand how to operate this audio equipment, you need to know how each piece interacts as a whole.

First, let’s examine the boom pole. The boom pole is what you’ll use to place the microphone above your subject while staying out of the camera’s view. These poles are typically made from lightweight carbon fiber or aluminum and come in various lengths. Most professional boom poles can extend from 12 to 20 feet. However, mini-boom poles can be as short as 33 inches.

Next, we’ll look at the shock mount. Shock mounts typically consist of elastic bands or dense rubber used to attach the microphone to the end of the boom pole. These mounts reduce low-frequency rumble that would usually be picked up from the boom operator’s hands, sudden movements, or the boom pole’s cable making contact with the outside of the pole. However, you can get boom poles that have the cable running through the inside of the pole to remedy the latter of these issues.

Finally, let’s discuss the boom mic itself. The most essential part of a boom mic setup is the microphone. This style of microphone is attached to the end of the boom pole using the shock mount and produces high-quality audio for any video production. There are two main types of boom microphones, including shotgun mics and short hypercardioid mics.

The two types of boom microphones.

Shotgun mics are most often used outdoors where there is more ambient background noise. These microphones have long slits along the barrel that reject mid and high frequencies to reduce background noise during filming. This makes the shotgun mic the ideal microphone for recording audio in noisy, outdoor settings.

Short hypercardioid mics don’t offer the same frequency rejection as a shotgun mic. However, they deliver high-quality, natural audio from a sound source. These are the ideal microphones for quiet, indoor settings, as they offer a broader pickup range despite not rejecting ambient background noise.

The two most popular booming techniques.

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The most common booming style is booming from overhead. You suspend the mic above and slightly before the audio source while angling it toward wherever the sound originates, typically the person speaking’s head. As the microphone is closer to the head, it creates a cleaner recording for dialogue. In addition, booming from overhead allows the voice to sound more natural and reduces the need for postproduction mixing.

Booming from below is another popular booming technique. This booming style is ideal when dealing with small or limited space. You’ll place the microphone slightly ahead and below the person you’re recording, angling the microphone directly at the audio source. However, booming from below has its disadvantages. The mic may pick up low bass frequencies originating from the speaker’s chest when booming from below. If the speaker is wearing noisy clothing or jewelry, the sound may be affected.

It’s time to record some booming audio.

Now that you’re familiar with boom mic equipment and techniques, you should be ready to start recording some top-quality audio. So, get out there and start booming!

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