mghough

How long is too long to hold a boom?

39 posts in this topic

I'm interested on everyone's take on this. I'm currently working on a doco with a pretty green director outside the US. Last night we did a long take during a dinner with the key person and some friends. We shot for about 2h20m without stopping. It's the longest I've ever had to boom without a break. To be fair the camera man suffered more as it was all handheld on f55. I didn't really notice anything at the time but today I really feel it. I've done plenty of reality and doco work before and most directors will give the crew a rest after 30-45min even if it's just a few minutes. Of course I didn't complain as I would have felt bad as the camera man was not saying anything (although I could sense he thought it was a bit unreasonable) and I wasn't suffering too bad at the time. Also, I was able to set my bag down off camera so I was only holding the boom.

Thoughts?

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Michael, I'd NEVER get my boom op to do something as STUPID as this. 

 

it is simply wrong. I wonder how you actually managed to hold up that mic for so long. 

 

in 2007 i worked with a 'green director' on a film project - digital cameras - long long takes with non-actors. after 8/9 minutes i had to walk in and ask for a cut. i told the director i will not allow anything longer than this, my boom op was not going to retire after this film, and the director was not going to pay for any injury he would suffer from. 

 

why don't you get the director to hold up the boom for a bit so he gets to know ACTUALLY how it feels after a couple of minutes. 

 

-vin

 

PS: if you actually needed a mic in the air for so long, get a Fisher or at least a boom cradle and put it on a stand. heh. 

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Ok, thanks for the feedback. I should add that, of course, my arms weren't fully extended the whole time. I was moving around but I was able to bend my arms and maneuver to get the blood back where it belonged. I was also only at about 9'-10' on the stick. I'm totally fine with 30-45min for an observational documentary/reality show but 2+ hours was a little over the top. Good to know I'm not a total pussy for being a bit sore today. :-)

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Madness.

Have a conversation with cam op and producer and director about what is reasonable.

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Doing a doc now, shooting wrestlers during training. Takes two hours at least. Almost every day for the last 3 weeks now. And ofcourse the other 8 hours completely filled with scenes and such, but the 2/2.5 hours training is the longest. Booming all, 664 on the belly and 3 /4 wireless mixing. I am not complaining because this is what I am used to and consider it part of the job.

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Doing a doc now, shooting wrestlers during training. Takes two hours at least. Almost every day for the last 3 weeks now. And ofcourse the other 8 hours completely filled with scenes and such, but the 2/2.5 hours training is the longest. Booming all, 664 on the belly and 3 /4 wireless mixing. I am not complaining because this is what I am used to and consider it part of the job.

+1

 

And talk with director and dop. on how to shoot the scene. 

Train your body in between shoots, we do have a heavy job running and carrying lots of gear so I think staying in shape is very important. 

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I wonder how the director hopes to cut this thing together with such long takes. What were they talking about for that long over dinner? Pass the peas please? amateur night.

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So, he shoot the documentary in one take. Sorry mates, but 2 and half hour take is..

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In my case always something happens; a wrist brakes, a nose bleeds or worse. Everyday a surprise. But frankly, I don't care how the director will have nightmares during post production about how to cut things together. If a take is 2 hours I will make it audible :) . I actually like it better running around for two hours than do a sit down interview for 45 min. For me these things are the cherries on the pie.

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It's a bit brutal for the post editor even! Extreme crazy verite style! I did a doc, shot on Alexa, cameraman refused to do handheld more than 30mins, purely because he could not perform better.

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I always bring a C-stand and a Remote audio Boom Boy in my car. If you know in advance it will be a long sit down interview it pretty much does the job for you. Sounds you may not have known in that case though. Not cool man.

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At least on film we were limited to 10 minutes by the length of a mag, but I once boomed a 7 minute shot for which we did 11 takes...

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Verite recording of a live event often demands being in the rig and flying the boom for long periods of time.  It sucks but that's what happens on those kinds of productions.  I pretty much find that standing still and booming for a really long time is harder than moving around, with the latter at least time seems to go by faster.  There have been plenty of dramatic projects over the years (esp since video came in) where the entire length of a videotape (or, now, card) was shot out on an improv scene, this also sucks but is very much an accepted part of filmmaking anymore.  I find that I eventually need to speak up for myself, and just let whoever know that I'm reaching my limit re injury, with the implication that active booming will cease sometime very soon, that I need a break.

 

philp

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These devices are too clumsy and constricting for anything verite-like.  This would be ok for non moving talent, or talent moving in a very predictable (rehearsed) fashion, but otherwise seem to confirm Berger's Law (they work the best when you need them the least).

 

philp

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These devices are too clumsy and constricting for anything verite-like.  This would be ok for non moving talent, or talent moving in a very predictable (rehearsed) fashion, but otherwise seem to confirm Berger's Law (they work the best when you need them the least).

 

philp

Not true, I use it constantly on documentaries, the boom can hop on and off support as required. If you need fast moving flexibility there's nothing to stop you using the boom in the conventional manner, if things become more static for any length of time use it, it's that simple. As suggested find a way to integrate with your bag, not with a separate support and it's great.

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Rubbish website, outrageously expensive, but worth every cent many times over.

Be ingenious and find a way to mount in on the side of your bag and then boom for hours in relative comfort :)

http://www.boomaudiovideo.com/index.php/en/products/kit-cool-boom-pole-support

http://www.boomaudiovideo.com/index.php/en/photos-gallery/kit-cool

Thanks for posting this. A good reminder that there are options out there that help us work smarter, avoid injury and discomfort, and as a result likely prolong our worklife.

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I forgot to mention that the other probably even more important purpose for me using Kit Cool boom support other than making it easier to boom in some circumstances, is that it frees up one hand to do other things without having to do contortions or rest the pole on your head etc. e.g. adjust that third radio mic gain, change headphone monitoring, solo an input etc. all much much easier with one hand free ...... until we sound recordists evolve to have three arms ... :)

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Long takes are often a must if the crew is to be forgotten in

delicate, sensitive, set ups. I'am thinking of medical consultations

for major diseases, councelling, etc.You don't want to distract people by

stopping or starting filming, you don't want to give them the

impression that their action is going to determine whether you film

or not. You want people to forget your presence and the only way to approach this

is to be here all the time, filming all the time. Beside this, key moments are

absolutely unpredictable unless you stage them, which I find questionable in docs.

If you don't do that you need to roll for long hours. You can deal with several

hundreds hour of footage with appropriate transcription and time.

 

Yes, it can be exhausing. I use the K Tek KA113 articulated boom which

allows more relaxed postures and single-handed handling (using your arm pit),

while maintaining the pole parallel to the frame line. I also find it convnient in

fast action because you can fold it, and thus significantly reduce/increase

your reach instantly while the cameraman is focusing. It's a compromise

between the rather cumbersome support systems discussed above

(suppose you sudently have to jum in a car...) and a regular boom.

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Put an RF on the key person and boom the others. At least you can take small breaks when the key person is talking, giving you a chance to pick up the next speech. +1 for a boom buddy or other stand mounted boom holder. 2 hours is too long. what media was in the camera? they must have had to reload at some point.

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There is no doubt that years of booming will have a culmulative effect on your back. Especially from the old days, with metal boompoles and 816 microphones. Almost every old boom operator I know has back trouble. I'm proof of that. While she was growing up. I couldn't even lift my daughter without pain. Pre reliable wireless, a boom operator had to put themselves in odd positions that tweaked the back. It's a completely unnatural thing to do for our body.

 

Our jobs are defineitely not good for our backs...or ears.

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I have the injuries and "body accessories" (read various braces etc) to show for 40 years of booming.  All I can say is that Nagras (with 12 D batteries inside) became DATs became small file based recorders at good times for me re still being able to do this work somewhat.  I'm glad those kit cool or whatever gizmos work for the people they work for--when I think back over the heavy boom jobs I've done even just in the last month none of them would have allowed for such a device--too clumsy, too big, too slow too etc.  Doco audio eats its young, sad but true.

 

philp

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