DIY Filmmaking Friday – Frugal Boom Pole Clamp

By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

This week’s DIY Friday takes a look at what you have to do if you are shooting a scene and you have no boom pole operator to hold your mic? You could use a lav, but if you don’t want the mic in the shot, or can’t stand the ruffling noise in the clothing, a boom mic is really the best way to go. Fortunately, there’s an answer to this conundrum with the Frugal Boom Clamp.

Ever had a shoot, but no boom operator to record sound? I had this issue recently, which would normally be solved by using a boom mic stand, but alas, mine is long gone. Since I had no time to order a replacement and no resources to by locally, I had to make something from existing parts. – The Frugal Filmmaker

Scott Eggleston is the Frugal Filmmaker, and a few years ago, he moved up to the Alaskan wilderness because his wife got a great new job. As a filmmaker, you have some great locations to shoot up there, but renting or buying gear is a bit more complicated. Finding himself without a boom operator, and with no local resources to buy a C Stand or boom pole stand, Scott had to improvise, and the result was a DIY filmmaking marvel – the Frugal Boom Clamp. Which, for $15, is a pretty great alternative, when you’re a one man crew and you need to grab audio. And the best part is, there’s only three parts.

The Frugal Boom Clamp uses two friction arm clamps with 1/4-20 threads, and a straight dual flash bracket. Putt them together is a relatively simple affair, since the clamps come with their own dedicated thumb screws and the flash bracket sliding trench gives the shooter the ability to adjust how far apart you want the clamps to go. Then you simply attach the assembly to your tripod, clamp your Boom Mic pole in place, and Bob’s your uncle!

“What I came up with actually worked pretty well,” Scott says. “This would not only firmly hold a boom pole, but also had a threaded hole for a tripod quick release plate.” Scott says there’s plenty of surface area for the quick release plate to keep the whole thing firmly attached to the tripod, while giving him the option of taking it off for a different setup.

Scott does warn, however, that he had to crank down pretty hard on the his tripod’s tilt friction lock to keep the boom pole in place. He recommends also grabbing an ankle weight or two to counter balance the entire array. You may need to also wrap the end of your boom pole in friction or hockey tape in order to keep the ankle weight in place so it doesn’t slide off.

But for under $20, this is a great DIY Filmmaking trick to put an old tripod to use when you need an extra pair of “hands” to hold that boom mic!

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Doddlenews is the news division of the Digital Production Buzz, a leading online resource for filmmakers, covering news, reviews and tutorials for the video and film industry, along with movie and TV news, and podcasting.

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