BOOM MIC ULTIMATE GUIDE

By Scott Thompson

Table of Contents

In all video productions, the need for high quality audio is critical. Poor audio WILL ruin your footage.

One of the best ways for filmmakers to capture crispy audio tracks of their video footage is with a Boom Mic.

In this Ultimate Guide we will look at the common uses of boom mics for video production .

Then go over our recommended picks for best boom poles, shotgun mics , and boom mic accessories. These items combined are critical to put together a high quality boom mic setup.

BOOM MIC 101:

So what is a boom mic anyway?

In a nutshell a boom mic is a MIC + BOOM POLE . The purpose of the boom mic is to get a high grade microphone as close to the talent as possible without being in the frame.

What kind of mics are used as a Boom Mic?

Boom Mics are typically SHOTGUN MICS 

Shotgun mics are perfect because they can stay outside the frame yet capture audio from the scene. This type of mic has the ability to capture sound wherever you point them (directional microphone). This helps us ISOLATE sounds we want to put in video , without capturing dreaded background noise.

COMMON USES FOR BOOM MICS : 

There are many great uses for the “boom mic” setup. Common uses are to clearly capture dialogue of one or more people in a close area , sound effects to assist your sound design , or even to get ambient or background sound effects. 

  • BOOM MIC FOR DIALOGUE: Many people use boom mics to capture audio of people talking. The advantage to a boom mic is it is more natural sounding than a lavalier mic, which tends to have a punchy sound and usually is visible on camera . You can also focus on multiple people in close proximity and record conversations. With lavaliers you would need a mic on every person to effectively capture the conversation. However depending on their distance apart you may need multiple boom mics to get the best result.

*for more info on Lav mics see full article here.

  • BOOM MIC FOR CAPTURING SOUND EFFECTS, ATMOSPHERE , AMBIENT SOUND IN A SCENE:  Boom Mics are very effective at capturing sounds fx and ambient noises . Many video productions will record sound effects with their boom mic and layer it on top of the audio tracks in the sound design .

How good your audio sounds depends on your microphone. Let’s take a look at our picks for best shotgun mics for your video production.

BEST SHOTGUN MICS

As stated earlier shotgun mics are most commonly used on a boom mic setup due to their optimal recording features. In this section we look at the best shotgun mics available to use in your boom setup. Keep in mind each microphone has its own sound and judging it can be subjective. 

No microphones are balanced perfectly for every situation. Some capture more bass and others capture more high frequencies. If you’re recording a male voice it may be better to use a mic with higher ranges of recording, and vice versa for female voices. 

WHAT IS THE BEST SHOTGUN MIC FOR YOUR  VIDEO PRODUCTION?

We grade each mic on its over build quality, balance of sound , isolation of subject and rejection of background. See our reviews of each microphone to help you find your perfect setup.

SHOTGUN MIC FEATURES 

  • BUILD QUALITY 
  • BALANCE OF SIGNAL (LOW MID HIGH)
  • ISOLATION OF SUBJECT 
  • REJECTION OF BACKGROUND

NTG4

  • BUILD QUALITY  8/10
  • BALANCE OF SIGNAL (LOW MID HIGH) GOOD BALANCED SIGNAL
  • ISOLATION OF SUBJECT 7/10
  • REJECTION OF BACKGROUND 7/10

HTG3B

  • BUILD QUALITY  8/10
  • BALANCE OF SIGNAL (LOW MID HIGH) GREAT BALANCED SIGNAL
  • ISOLATION OF SUBJECT 8/10
  • REJECTION OF BACKGROUND 8/10

NTG2

  • BUILD QUALITY  7/10
  • BALANCE OF SIGNAL (LOW MID HIGH) GOOD BALANCED SIGNAL ( HEAVY ON LOW END)
  • ISOLATION OF SUBJECT 6/10
  • REJECTION OF BACKGROUND 7/10

SENN MKH 416

  • BUILD QUALITY  9/10
  • BALANCE OF SIGNAL (LOW MID HIGH) GREAT BALANCE
  • ISOLATION OF SUBJECT 9/10
  • REJECTION OF BACKGROUND 8/10

RODE nTG8 EXTRA LONG

  • BUILD QUALITY  9/10
  • BALANCE OF SIGNAL (LOW MID HIGH) GREAT BALANCE
  • ISOLATION OF SUBJECT 10/10
  • REJECTION OF BACKGROUND 10/10

SCHOEPS CMIT 5U : BEST HIGH END

BEST BOOM POLES

First things first a boom pole is not “just a stick” that attaches to your shotgun mic . There are many small details that make a boom pole great . What do we need in a boom pole? In this section we will break down what features you’ll want to have.

BOOM POLE FEATURES : Look for these premuim features in a boom pole

  • BUILD QUALITY / WEIGHT : Boom Poles are designed to be lightweight and rigid. Like gimbals and other handheld devices, the weight can become difficult to hold after hours of shooting . Carbon fiber is the best because of its strength and weight 
  • SIZE : How long do you need you boom mic to extend?
  • CABLED OR UNCABLED: Higher end boom mics are cabled meanin the cable is hidden inside the pole. This is helpful so cables dont get tangled and in the way.
  • PORTABILITY : Can boom pole easily be carried or retracted into smaller setup?

BEST BUDGET BOOM POLE : KOOLERTRON CARBON FIBER

RODE BOOMPOLE

RODE BOOMPOLE PRO

  • 10 FOOT 9 INCHES
  • PROFESSIONAL GRADE

K TEK AVALON ALUMINUM

  • 9 foot pole
  • Coiled Cable inside
  • Aluminum Collars
  • Kinda heavy

 BEST COMPACT OPTION : KTEK TRAVELER

BOOM MIC ACCESSORIES :

Recommended things youll need with a Boom Mic

The basics of a boom mic are the Shotgun Mic + Boom Pole, however to get the best performance from your video production you may need some accessories to add to your setup. Accessories you may need with your boom mic are Shock Mount and Dead Cats, External recording devices and headphones

  • BLIMPS & DEAD CATS : Wind can be a nuisance recording audio. If you’re planning on shooting anything outside, you’ll need something to block out the wind. To get clear professional audio, we recommend a Shock Mount + dead cat. 
  • EXTERNAL RECORDING DEVICES:
  • HEADPHONES : For filmmaking headphones we recommend something durable that can withstand the elements, is water resistant, and has noise canceling features. Whoever is on audio detail will need to make sure they are getting a good signal , so a good pair of headphones is a must.

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