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#1 Ian Thomson

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 06:43 AM

G'day all. figured this might be a good place for my first post.

My name is Ian, I'm a Boom operator who's been getting sick and tired watching stedi-operators having all the fun on set; so I'm looking to make the "admittedly strange" sideways-move into flying rigs. I have my own thoughts on the similarities between operating a steadicam and swinging a boom, but we won't get into any arguments about who's got the tougher job (although no-one seems to care how long I've been swinging a full-extension 16' pole in a 8' high hallway struggling to reach over 2 cams :))

Before I completely abandon my current profession, I was looking to open a dialog with others about how to achieve the best results for the film; and help make an operators job a little easier as a boom op.

I guess I'm asking: what do you look for from your on-set sound departments?

Ian Thomson
Boom Operator, photographer, alpine skiier.
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#2 James Davis

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 07:13 AM

The ability to not get in the way during rehearsals or the main shot without us having to do "another take for sound" again... ;)

Just playing, but seriously I think the best thing a boom op can do to make our lives easier especially with say a longer trickier shot, is just to listen carefully during the blocking/rehearsals to understand where the operator will be moving during the shot so you can give them plenty of breathing space, it can be irritating for me when a boom op stands unnecessarily close when there is plenty of room around, it's understandable in a tight room/set but I would say just always give us as much space as possible, it also means your less likely to bump the operator which is also annoying when it could have been easily prevented.
Obviously in places where you are tight for space this can be par for the course but if you can help us out by extending your boom a couple of extra feet then it will always be appreciated.
The same reason I bring my "quiet" shoes if we are on a hard/noisy surface doing dialogue, a little extra thought for your fellow crew is always a nice thing in my opinion :)
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#3 Charles Papert

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 08:15 AM

Well, if you were to make the transition it wouldn't be unprecedented...

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#4 Ian Thomson

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 11:53 PM

thanks for the replies guys.

I can certainly appreciate that a little extra room is required when going steadi or handheld; and accommodate where possible - then again I prefer to boom operate with a longer pole, as it seems to allow a better view of the scene, and more leeway to move should the camera be in an "un-rehearsed-position" - however it often means a less-nimble and heavier set-up.

securing any carpets is a given; and I've gotta say, as a sound rep - we do appreciate when people are aware of their movements making noises that aren't represented on screen (bringing non-squeaky shoes, etc) as it can actually make the difference between a successful sounding shot, and post-recording the dialog

it's foolish and dangerous for a boom op to not be paying attention to the "flight-path" during set-up and rehearsals (something that I have sadly been guilty of in the past) - perhaps they're being asked to do too much with too little = rigging radio mics on the cast, and then booming the shot aswell?

I personally enjoy the rehearsal process, however it seems less common these days with the "rolling rehearsals" on HD/tape...

thanks for the imdb link Charles - figured at least one person had to have made the switch. looks like Colin has found his calling in the camera department, and hey - anyone who worked on scrubs gets a lifetime of gratitude from me; as thosee 1/2hr snippets of happiness and emotional-beats made for a fantstic viewing experience.

what about wireless headsets (comteks)? any need to hear the dialog clearer, or because you're usually close enough to the actors, it's just a distraction?


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