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A little note on running the set. Set belongs to the boom operator. It's their domain. When I place a mic they notify operators, set dressing and/or props at the right times.

 

Boom operators of note keep the boom mic away from the mouths. They protect everyone, including me by being conscious of where the mic is pointed 100% of the time.

 

They know who to ask for what and where these people are all the time: operators, set dressers, on-set props, AD, the sound-friendly electric / grip.

 

What else?

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My best boomists knew enough sound to also tell me when I should consider a plant mic (and where) and/or a line that was only going to work off a wire etc..  They also kept me apprised of the vibe on the set, who seemed hung over or was having an attitude issue that day...

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9 minutes ago, RPSharman said:

They keep me away from the important people so I don't say some stupid shit at the wrong time.

Indeed!

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The way I came up, and I believe it to be the correct way, is the boom op is the quarterback, the mixer and the 3rd/cable are the team players (sorry for the American football analogy). Of course my most valuable mentors were Jeff Wexler and Don Coufal and this is the way they/we worked. When I was a boom op, I made the decisions as to how we were going to do any given shot/scene and the team and I executed that plan. For me today as a mixer, I do it the same way. I wouldn't hire a boom op who couldn't run the set and didn't know film making and all it involves. While I did work with a few Emperor Mixers, it was one and done as everything suffered IMO/   Why? Because the front row is just that, the place where films get made. Not to diminish the mixing gig, a system and it's operation is the mechanical/technical heart of the operation, but the people make it work, not the gear. The unsung MVP is often the 3rd who will swing a boom, do playback, record sfx, fill in for the mixer who's 10/200, many times all in the same day. Just the way I like it. TEAM.

CrewC

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37 minutes ago, old school said:

The way I came up, and I believe it to be the correct way, is the boom op is the quarterback, the mixer and the 3rd/cable are the team players (sorry for the American football analogy). Of course my most valuable mentors were Jeff Wexler and Don Coufal and this is the way they/we worked. When I was a boom op, I made the decisions as to how we were going to do any given shot/scene and the team and I executed that plan. For me today as a mixer, I do it the same way. I wouldn't hire a boom op who couldn't run the set and didn't know film making and all it involves. While I did work with a few Emperor Mixers, it was one and done as everything suffered IMO/   Why? Because the front row is just that, the place where films get made. Not to diminish the mixing gig, a system and it's operation is the mechanical/technical heart of the operation, but the people make it work, not the gear. The unsung MVP is often the 3rd who will swing a boom, do playback, record sfx, fill in for the mixer who's 10/200, many times all in the same day. Just the way I like it. TEAM.

CrewC

+1 

 

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5 hours ago, old school said:

The way I came up, and I believe it to be the correct way, is the boom op is the quarterback....

 

This is good for me to read.

I primarily work network broadcast ENG gigs; bag and boom all in one etc. On the rare occasions that a producer asks if I want someone to operate a boom while I mix I usually defer and state a preference that I will work the boom while a production assistant baby sits the mixer. I don't want anyone on the boom who is not a sound craftsman.

 

I had wondered how dedicated cart mixers felt about their boom ops. Sometimes I get the impression that "boom ops" are thought of as a sort of production assistant. It is reassuring to learn that the old school way is structured as you described.

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6 minutes ago, alenK said:

I don't want anyone on the boom who is not a sound craftsman.

 

I had wondered how dedicated cart mixers felt about their boom ops. Sometimes I get the impression that "boom ops" are thought of as a sort of production assistant. It is reassuring to learn that the old school way is structured as you described.

 

I remember when I was just starting off I had countless producers on low budget projects say when I asked to bring on one of my trusted boom ops to set "Oh no we'll have PA's on set, I'm sure we can just have one of them boom for you."  If they really refused to pay for a proper boom op, I ended up just mixing/booming as a one man band as there is just no way you can trust some random person to boom for you and get good results.  Thankfully those days are behind me and I have several ops I trust and always want to be on set with me!

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I rarely just boom these days but when I did I thought of it as a part of my duties to inform the mixer of any coverage changes, changes in performance (whisper last take, yell next take) and line changes. I would often also let the continuity person/script supervisor know of these. A lot of things get whispered into ears of actors and cam ops that don't get relayed to the rest of the crew. As a boomie you are in the middle of it all, quietly listening in.

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On 2013-10-02 at 6:33 AM, VAS said:
11 hours ago, old school said:

While I did work with a few Emperor Mixers, it was one and done as everything suffered IMO/   Why? Because the front row is just that, the place where films get made. Not to diminish the mixing gig, a system and it's operation is the mechanical/technical heart of the operation, but the people make it work, not the gear. 

 

 

This entire post is fascinating, this will change how I look at things

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What Crew said.  When I had my best boomists I felt that my role as a mixer was a lot in the planning and overall strategy, gear choice and deployment, dealing with the producers, dealing with post, managing the "secretarial" aspects of the gig as well as mixing the scenes (back when the location mix was all that was delivered.....).  I like the term "Emperor Mixer"!  Good term--indicative of the fact having one person making all the decisions all the time isn't an efficient way to work.  When people feel that their minds and experience are just as important to the work as their hands you get way better results.

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Team work is the answer

Let your boom op present solutions to you and then you can input your own ideas

 

mike

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On 9/1/2017 at 4:20 AM, codyman said:

 

I remember when I was just starting off I had countless producers on low budget projects say when I asked to bring on one of my trusted boom ops to set "Oh no we'll have PA's on set, I'm sure we can just have one of them boom for you."  If they really refused to pay for a proper boom op, I ended up just mixing/booming as a one man band as there is just no way you can trust some random person to boom for you and get good results.  Thankfully those days are behind me and I have several ops I trust and always want to be on set with me!

 

I was having a similar convo with a producer some years back. as we were discussing I took the boom off my cart, extended it, and handed it to the producer. I was still talking so motioned to him to hold the pole up and I continued talking as I walked to stand under the mic. I don't think I got beyond about the third sentence when the producer interrupted me and simply said 'point taken, call your man now'. Generally they have absolutely no idea at all.

 

I have also done lectures and talks at shows where I have set up a boom and given it to a production type in the audience to hold over me. Usually they can't even make 30 seconds before giving up much the amusement of the rest of the audience. At that point I have explained that 30secs is quite often less than the time it takes for the unit to get quiet, turn over, and get the clapper board on. They have not even made it as far as the word action!!

 

Kindest, sb

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On 9/5/2017 at 0:03 AM, Bash said:

 

I was having a similar convo with a producer some years back. as we were discussing I took the boom off my cart, extended it, and handed it to the producer. I was still talking so motioned to him to hold the pole up and I continued talking as I walked to stand under the mic. I don't think I got beyond about the third sentence when the producer interrupted me and simply said 'point taken, call your man now'. Generally they have absolutely no idea at all.

 

I have also done lectures and talks at shows where I have set up a boom and given it to a production type in the audience to hold over me. Usually they can't even make 30 seconds before giving up much the amusement of the rest of the audience. At that point I have explained that 30secs is quite often less than the time it takes for the unit to get quiet, turn over, and get the clapper board on. They have not even made it as far as the word action!!


Ha, very well played! Nice.

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