December 25, 2013

Learn the Basics of Production Audio (And How to Build a DIY Boom Pole for $25!)

DIY BoomAudio, the oft looked over aspect of filmmaking, is indeed a difficult art to master. You can have the best professional in the booth during post, but if you didn't get a decent capture from the get go, there's little that can be done. Film Riot has uploaded a video dedicated to the microphone, which not only covers the basics of mic choice, placement, and accessories for beginners, but also gives a link to their video tutorial that shows you how to build your own boom pole for $25!

In the video, Ryan Connolly talks PROXiMITY, his short film that recently went live (you can check it out here), and the production audio that he used in the project. The overarching lesson: approach audio in the same way you would approach shooting. Ask yourself what your goals for recording audio are, what limitations your location has, what your budget will allow. Mics are like cameras (or any tools for that matter) in that there's no such thing as the "best mic", just the "best mic" for the job.

Connolly tries to teach you how to figure out what that is by talking about the difference between long and short shotgun mics, how to place one in order to optimize the sound, and how well different wind protectors, like a wind screens and blimps, protect against noise.

Also, if you've emptied your bank account purchasing an excellent and respectable mic and have nothing to mount it to, Film Riot has also provided a video tutorial that shows you how to build your own boom pole for $25. All you need is a PVC joint, a broom pole, and some rubber bands.

What do you think? Can you think of any DIY ideas for creating boom poles? What other helpful tips can you share about capturing audio? Let us know in the comments below!

Also -- Happy Holidays, No Film Schoolers!

[via Film Riot & wolfcrow]

Your Comment

19 Comments

*Ryan Connolly (not Brian)

December 25, 2013 at 8:27PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Sam

I knew that...apparently I had Sweet on the brain :)

December 26, 2013 at 3:09AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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V Renée
Nights & Weekends Editor
Writer/Director

another basic tip for helping to keep your mic out of the frame is line it up with something you can see in the background - picture frame, branch on a tree, etc. it'll make mic placement more precise and keep the cam op from yelling.

December 25, 2013 at 8:38PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Merry Christmas bitches! Also in addition, most indie filmmakers often skip post production audio. They feel like if they get a good quality recording, that's it! My suggestion if u are not able to do it on your own, is to hit up music recording studios in your area to help clean up the audio, especially studios that do lots of modern rap vocals to get that crisp sound. Let them run it through their compression-eq way of working
Additionally, if u have the extra cash, have a dedicated pre between your zoom h4n and your Mic (since lots of indies use zoom h4n.
Once again, merry Christmas bitche!

December 25, 2013 at 9:28PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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thadon calico

What pre-amp would you recommend?

December 26, 2013 at 11:37AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Gavin

Would also be interested in what pre-amp you recommend.

December 26, 2013 at 4:51PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Richard

For cheap, the sound devices mp1, mm1 then 302 which I have, if u have more money u can go expensive, I went the cheap route

December 26, 2013 at 5:42PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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thadon calico

Thanks! So, would you mix only with the 302, or do you mix with the 302 and H4N together?

December 28, 2013 at 10:54AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Gavin

I once proposed an idea in the RED forums that one could build a matte-box with one of those lasers that produces straight lines. Align that with the top of the frame of the lens currently used and even a one-eyed idiot (like me) could see that when the laser touches the mic. I'm too close to the frame (or set up with some margin of error you could just have the mic touch the laser constantly.

Of course it's not exactly perfect. Burning the eyes of the talent and strange reflections in the background are a big con when it comes to my approach... :P

December 26, 2013 at 6:21AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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I don't know what they've done in the digital era, but there was a company that made laser pointers that are synced to the mirror shutter so it never shows up on camera (even if it was reflecting into shiny things on set). It was mostly for product shots where they have to accurately slam down the soft drink on the counter and see the liquids fizz up on slo-mo...etc...

I thought that would work too for frame lines list like you described...but then I realized a better solution that really needs to take off...wireless transmitters and a tiny boom pole mounted monitor (and more cameras that have overscan like many older film camera designs) so you can see the boom *before* it busts the take.

Even with a great boom op (that knows exactly what you mean when you say you're on the 25), there's no way he or she can know well enough when stuff starts getting going really fast towards the end of the day---ad libbed, it's handheld on a wide lens, shooting the "rehearsals", minutes before sunset...etc...etc...

December 28, 2013 at 12:47AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Daniel Mimura

Another way to DIY boom pole is to buy the ceiling bulb changer which extends out to about 11' long and cost $10 at Home Depot.

December 26, 2013 at 9:35AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Johnny Wu

Nice DIY project, but Ryan, if you're reading this: I'm pretty sure you're funny. But in your video you come across being a retard. So just do the project with a smile and avoid embarrassing yourself.

December 26, 2013 at 9:37AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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FabDex

Apparently, you don't understand how comedy works. If a comic laughs (or in this case smiles) at his own joke, it ruins the humor. I love Film Riot. Thanks V Renee for this great video!

December 26, 2013 at 11:36AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Gavin

You should go to Filmriot and watch the rest of his videos- you will love them. Ryan has been doing it a long time. Also check out his movie review video podcasts titled "Film Slate"

December 26, 2013 at 12:54PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Robert

Film State- sorry.

December 26, 2013 at 12:56PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Robert

I used to watch his videos but gave up after I realized I'm always half way thru them and still no info. I guess I could just start them from the half way mark. I just really don't like spending 5 mins of an 8 min vid waiting to hear the info.

December 28, 2013 at 12:45PM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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You can get a shockmount for about $30 and a mic stand with boom arm for $20. You have a short boom pole and a stand to hold the mic if nobody's available. When you count the time to put the thing together, it's worth spending a little extra for something already made. I've used a chair, bungee cords and weights to get the mic in a nice position without having another person hold it.

December 31, 2013 at 12:54AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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Dandytrooper

For a boom pole I bought a carbon fibre fishing pole for approx £20 from a fishing tackle shot and got a hardware store to tap in some tread at the tip to accept a mic- whole thing is very strong, very long and a smart black. (tackle shop also had soft gun cases that fitted my light stands.

January 2, 2014 at 4:17AM, Edited September 4, 11:45AM

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I saw that one but I actually prefer the diy adapter from the frugal filmmaker https://youtu.be/Zmc-dbdWId0 . It's cheaper over all including the cost of a shock mount on amazon and it's more flexible in that you can keep the same adapter for a long time and use it with a variety of shock mounts.

September 27, 2015 at 5:56PM

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Sean Sims
Wannabe DOP
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