We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Boom Operator?

Jessica Ellis
By
Updated Mar 02, 2024
Our promise to you
Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Practical Adult Insights, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A boom operator is a member of the sound team responsible for capturing live sound during on movie or television sets. The title refers to one type of microphone held by the operator, which is called the boom mic. Working as a boom operator requires some basic training and also requires shoulder and arm strength, as the microphone must be held up for long periods of time.

A boom operator may serve as the microphone technician for an entire set, in charge of not only the boom mic, but area and body microphones as well. Because of this type of responsibility, it is important for a boom operator to have a good background in acoustics and knowledge of sound recording. Boom operators, often in concert with the sound mixer, must be able to quickly judge the acoustics of any shooting location and set up a microphone system that will capture as much of the sound as possible.

The microphones most often associated with a boom operator consist of a long pole with a detachable microphone head. There are several different types of boom microphones that can be used with the pole, but one of the most basic is called a shotgun mic. These microphones are held just outside the frame of the camera, and typically serve as the main microphone capturing dialogue spoken by actors. Often, the easiest place to hold a boom mic is just above the camera frame, meaning that the boom operator must hold the boom pole over his or her head for the entire shot, never allowing the microphone to dip into the frame.

In addition to bracing the boom mic over his or her head, the operator must also sometimes twist the pole back and forth to angle the placement of the microphone. If two or more actors are speaking in a shot, the operator may be constantly switching the placement of the microphone to catch each actor's words. Arm and shoulder strength and endurance are a big part of being a boom operator, and proper stance is required to avoid arm, neck, or back injury.

Boom operators must be able to communicate easily with the sound mixer, who typically is nearby whenever sound is being recorded. The mixer often listens on headphones to the sound coming through the boom microphone, and can give valuable information about how the recording is going. Occasionally, an operator will also serve as a sound mixer, and will be able to hear what the microphone is picking up directly through headphones.

Starting out as a boom operator takes little training, and first jobs can be found easily by contacting film schools. Very few film schools have a sound department, so many student productions require outside sound technicians. Although these jobs rarely pay, they often provide the necessary equipment as well as teaching valuable onset skills and allowing professional relationships to form. Once skill has improved, many boom operators work on a freelance basis, using a network of contacts to find work or applying for sound jobs on independent or low budget shoots.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Jessica Ellis
By Jessica Ellis , Writer
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis brings a unique perspective to her work as a writer for Practical Adult Insights. While passionate about drama and film, Jessica enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics, creating content that is both informative and engaging for readers.

Discussion Comments

By anon998068 — On Apr 06, 2017

I have am very athletic and had been without back problems my whole life, until I began operating a boom mic. I injured my lower back on my first feature length shoot. The pain subsided after a couple of months of rest, with a few very short projects during that time, but after that, with each lengthy project, especially if it was necessary to work with a fully extended boom pole, or forced to relocate gear from one stating area to another more than a couple of times per day, the pain would recur with a vengeance.

At this point, it has become clear that this could very well end my career as a boom operator. From what I've seen, camera operators who are forced to use big shoulder rigs, and especially Steadicam rigs, are at similar risk, with regard to lower back injury, though I think the extended boom pole is potentially more harmful. Even a little weight at the end of a very long lever, like 10 or 12 feet, can be very dangerous.

Jessica Ellis

Jessica Ellis

Writer

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis...
Learn more
Practical Adult Insights, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Practical Adult Insights, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.