Lightweight Boompoles for Field Recording
Boompoles are extendable or otherwise collapsible wands that hold microphones. Audio technicians use them for electronic news gathering (ENG), electronic field production (EFP), documentary video (DV), and other field recording applications, such as reality TV shows, to record the audio components of interviews and footage. The poles enable technicians to get the mics as close as possible to the subjects while also keeping the mics out of camera view. Since technicians have to hold them above their heads, the mic holders must be lightweight.
Most mic poles are telescoping, normally with four to five sections, but sometimes up to seven. When extended, they can range in length from 6 to 12 feet, and even longer. You loosen or tighten the telescoping sections in place with grooved or dimpled captive collets. Some booms, such as Rode boompoles, have sections that screw together for an ultra-secure locking mechanism. Most poles feature aluminum or lightweight carbon fiber. The majority of poles weigh between one and two pounds, although some are lighter than a pound, including some Rode micro boompoles, which weigh less than 14 ounces.
Connecting Mics to the Poles
The poles have threaded tips, most with a standard size of 3/8-inch, to directly secure mics. The tips also fit a variety of pro audio grips and mic suspensions that include shock and lyre mounts for cradling mics to reduce their vibration and noise.
Some telescoping poles come with an internal microphone cable that plugs directly into a mic with an XLR 3- or 5-pin male connection. The cable runs down to the grip to an XLR male output pin jack on the side or at the bottom of the pole. This allows you to plug the pole into a video camera, recorder, preamp, or wireless transmitter. In addition, a variety of in-line mic accessories, including preamps, input attenuators, USB interfaces, and signal adapters, are available for attachment to either of the pin connections.
Non-cabled boompoles have side clips or Velcro strips for securing external microphone cables, and some poles have an internal raceway for manually snaking a mic cable through the pole. These arrangements make it easy to remove the cable at the end of video sessions and quickly collapse the pole without entangling any cable.
Several boom box stands are available for standing the poles upright during breaks, as are resting mounts that secure to adjustable C-stands, which are also useful for stabilizing the poles during static takes such as sit-down interviews. Many other boompole accessories are also available, including carrying bags, external cable wiring clips, mic stand adapters, and pole counterweights.
Check out B&H Photo and Video to find the boompole with the right weight and length for any ENG, EFP, and DV production environment, and match those with the right accessories.