Sunday, 4 November 2012

Saving money with a homemade boom pole

I required a boom pole for my upcoming film so I went online as usual and searched for one on Amazon. I was getting prices of around £60 which I was not prepared to pay so I decided to make my own. I found a broken painters rod in my house which extended out to about 2 meters and had only cost  £9 when purchased. The threaded end where you attach the roller had snapped off which meant it would have probably been thrown away had I not got hold of it. First thing I did was file the end flat and I then used an epoxy called "JB Weld" to attach a nut to the end. In the morning, I was able to screw in a bolt and it was very sturdy and tight. 

Next I needed to make some kind of microphone mount and I remembered the ones I had used at University previously. They are know as "shock mounts" because they suspend the microphone between rubber bands and keep it away from the pole. This prevents any unwanted knock or vibration from being picked up by the mic. Online prices for these shock mounts are between £10 and £30 but it's essentially a tube with rubber bands on it so I figured it would be easy to make my own. 

I had this thick cardboard tube left over from something. It's about the length of a toilet roll tube but a lot thicker and stronger. I filed some slots on both ends to hold the rubber bands in place then carefully pushed the microphone in between. The friction from the rubber bands holds the microphone in place and it doesn't slide out. I also cut a hole in the side of the tube wide enough to accept the bolt. I could then screw my homemade shock mount into the end of the pole. I then wrapped some more rubber bands along the length of the pole to hold the XLR cable in place. I then plugged it into the end of the microphone and it was good to go.

I set everything up and began a test. I had headphones on so I could clearly hear everything that was being recorded. I moved it around, shook it a bit, banged the pole and the shock mount did its job perfectly. Extending the pole isn't as easy as a store bought one because you need to adjust the rubber bands holding the cable but once you have it at the required length, it works just as well.