September 6, 2014 at 1:15PM


2 Boom (shotgun) Mics vs Boom Opreator

Is it possible to get good dialogue coverage on set (big wide open abandoned mechanics garage) by placing two boom mics on c stands and boom pole holders and point them towards the actors who are about 10 ft apart from each other?
I am recording to a TASCAM DR 680 which can easily record 2 separate mono tracks.

I know this is not an ideal situation but can this work without a boom operator?


Hi Mark - the easy answer to your question is yes, it will work-- but how well. Because of the directionality of your shotgun mics as the actors move in and out of the sound path it will color how they sound. The other thing to consider in general is what sounds reflections and reverbs you are going to get from this garage - assuming is a metal ceiling and concrete floor. Normally id recommend since its indoors using a cardioid mic so you can have a wider pickup field for the actor movement BUT given the reverb potential shotgun is probably the only way to go. I use the DR680 on all my work- fantastic recorder and will handle the two mics well-- have you thought about lavs?

September 6, 2014 at 7:41PM

Scott Selman
Content Creator | Filmmaker | Producer

Great answer Scott. The only thing that got me thinking is the choice between cardioid and shotgun. I would use the cardioid (or more exactly a hyper cardioid) exactly because of the reverberations. As far as I know many shotguns don't fare well with reverberant spaces because they mess with the functioning of the interference tube, which causes the pickup pattern to fluctuate and they also color the reverberations differently than the voice, which is not very natural.

This is just what I think, and definitely can't swear what I said make sense. Would love to hear your thoughts on it if I'm imagining problems.

Claudio Santos

September 9, 2014 at 12:24AM

I would be worried about picking up too much room sound at that distance along with being in a place that I'm assuming with have a decent echo. Obviously it's hard to keep mics out of shots in this case. I think your best bet is to put some cans on and listen, shoot the scene, and ADR it later if necessary.

September 6, 2014 at 10:30PM

Alex Smith

Sounds feasible, depending on blocking. Like you said, not an ideal situation to not have a boom operator, but it might work.

If you go with this setup or something similar, I'd consider also putting lavs on the actors. This will give a very strong audio signal you can mix with the boom mics to add some presence to the sound.

September 8, 2014 at 12:31PM

You voted '+1'.
David S.

This suggestion depends completely on the location/set, but it might be worth trying to use a magic arm clamped to ceiling (since it's a garage I'm imagining it has supports or something on the ceiling) to place the microphones above the actors . I think it will be easier to place the microphones as close as possible to the edge of frame like this than with a very extended boom pole in a c-stand, and slightly less cumbersome.

September 9, 2014 at 12:29AM

Claudio Santos
Sound Editor and Recordist

Didn't look I like I could reply to you up above - but you bring up a great point with regards to the shotgun tube and reverberation in the room. I think it would depend on the type of shotgun you are using, but its not a problem you want to have to deal with when you don't have any other gear options available. Ive had great success with hypers for some unique location issues.

Scott Selman

September 9, 2014 at 7:33PM

It will work, but if the actors move then very directional microphones will not pick up the sound. Worse, if the actor moves and you are somewhere echoey, the mic might pick up the sound of the dialogue or any other noises, bouncing off the far walls.

If your actors dont move an inch, you set your mics up carefully and you listen to the result down headphones before shooting, then your setup can work.

Tie clip/lavalier mics are usually much clearer for dialogue capture in this kind of space and if you want your actors to move around (which your described setup would not work well for) then hiring radio mics would allow you to capture clean sound and give your actors freedom of motion.

Definitely try testing out some sound recording in your environment first, it's surprising what you only hear down a pair of headphones via a mic (reflections, hum, noise etc).

September 9, 2014 at 7:18AM

Alia Sheikh

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