Nicholas Meah

Sound engineer for TV production| Advertising and recording production
IG @soundproproductions

What is the role of a boom operator?

The role of a boom operator is to capture the sound of the actor, getting sound equipment ready for the shoot send out headset to listen to the dialogue and set up the mixer (car or environments clean with the natural background sound of the ambiences for the recording as radio mics may have dropped out (the radio mic can have frequency loss or battery failure meaning the loss of sound for the recording…)

When do you start to work on a production?

The boom operator starts the production with communicating with the on location recording engineer this may be some days before the event or so to know where gear is being used, and what he would like this set up to be and to talk his fee for the job…

What equipment does a boom operator work with, and how important is their job on a film set?

The equipment a boom operator may have is a boom mic HA HA (this could be a Sennheiser 416 this is a well know mic for film or tv but I like a sanken cs3e this is great for outdoors or a Sennheiser mkh 8070 is a great mic however there are many more mics like indoors just have to pick one that best works with your situation and equipment) as you have your mic you need a boom pole a long one would be a good on like 9 feet with a soft G lofts to whole the boom pole for less noise to traffic through the pole to the mic. Now if your outside you need a windshield kit with a shock mount in windy environments this is a lifesaver for the recording. This is something you may not need to buy as you get into the business but a comtek is a great tool to have (this is a wireless system where you could listen to the output of the recording so you know if it is too soft or there is noise in the recording like a car or plane sound in the background…

How do block rehearsals impact your job as a boom operator?

Rehearsals are great for me to know where the actor’s actions and movement would be, the space I have to work with and hear the room sound

What qualifications do you need to become a boom operator, and where can you gain the best firsthand experience?

The qualification for a boom operator English, Math, thinking on your feet, able to work with others even in complicated situations and a lot of common sense if you know a next language that would be great so you and the way to start is to first look at the making of movies on YouTube then find out from FilmTT when they have casting for films and see if you could learn from the people

What is the career path of a boom operator?

The career path of the boom operator would start as a set-up of equipment to get things ready for the shoot. Then move as he is ready to set up the mix and know what mic for what situation would be best and write the report of the sound file and know how to set time code for the cameras and mixer. This would take you to the working on the cart as the sound recorder for the product and from there you could move to so many things it up to you where you want to go because the sky is the limiter this job is changing every min and the gear keeps getting better.

How do you set up your boom equipment whilst being mindful of not being in the way or casting shadows?

Well setting up my equipment comes from the blocking rehearsals where we see where could work in the space given to me and I talk will to the camera person and light tech as well the wardrobe design to see what I can do and can’t do for the shoot size if the boom would be in the frame, as well if I would make the shadow in the background or on the actor face or hair.

What advice do you have for persons wanting to be a boom operator?

My advice if you want to be a boom operator one learn to have an open mind if suggestion never think you know everything someone would always have a good idea for a situation, learn your gear what it can do and what you could make it do for your project and before the shoot talk to the people around you no matter what you think this job is a group project where everyone wants the show, movie or ad to look incredible. Never think you know everything and away push yourself to be better