Reel Opportunities

Boom Operator

What is a Boom Operator?
What does a Boom Operator do?

A Boom Operator’s primary responsibility is to capture sound on a film or TV production through the use of a microphone on a long pole or arm called a boom pole. The Boom Operator stands beside the Camera Operator and holds the boom pole above the heads of the performers keeping the pole and its shadow out of the shot. In a moving shot, the Boom Operator must follow the action while remaining unseen.

On larger productions, the Boom Operators’ sole job is to hold the boom pole. They report directly to the Sound Recordist or Sound Mixer. On smaller productions, the Boom Operator may also be responsible for affixing body mics known as ‘lavs’ or placing other mics throughout the location. In these cases, the Boom Operator and the Sound Mixer may be one and the same.

What's a Boom Operator good at?
  • Communication

    Have great people skills, put cast members at ease when fitting personal mics and be able to collaborate effectively with other team members to ensure the sound fits with the visuals.

  • Problem-solving

    Be resourceful and find effective solutions to technical problems and recording challenges.

  • Technical knowledge

    Be able to operate, maintain and repair sound equipment, keep up-to-date and use innovations.

  • Knowledge of the production and post-production process

    Have a good understanding of all crew roles and aspects of how a programme is made from pre- through to post-production.

  • Physical fitness

    The film industry is characterized by very long filming days, which means that boom operators often have to hold up the boom mic consistently throughout an entire day—for many days in a row. This can cause a lot of strain on your arms, shoulders, and back.

Who does a Boom Operator work with?

Boom Operators work intimately with all on-screen talent and contributors, fitting personal mics and monitoring their sound output. They communicate with all members of the production and crew, especially Camera Operators and Directors. The Boom Operator reports to the Production Sound Mixer, the senior-most sound crew member on set. On lower-budget films, the Boom Operator and the production’s Sound Mixer are often just one person, referred to as the “Sound Recordist.”

How do I become a Boom Operator?

Though there is no formal requirement, the basic skills common to all successful Boom Operators include cursory knowledge of electronics and sound recording equipment, excellent aural skills, strength and dexterity, memorization skills, good timing, attention to detail, and the ability to work in teams.

More tips

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Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.