Boom poles can get heavy quickly. And for some types of filming like sit down interviews, there’s very little reason to manually hold them up by hand. Luckily boom pole stands and rigs exist to suspend boom poles and microphones above the speaking person’s head exist. In this article we’re going to round up several solutions for how to hold a boom microphone on a stand.
Boom microphone stands & mic stand holders
This is a simple kit that consists of a lighting stand, a boom arm with a clamp for mounting it, and a counterweight. The stand extends up to 6.5 feet tall (about 2 meters) and the boom arm telescopes up to 7 feet long (2.13m). The adjustable counterweight weighs about 12 pounds which is enough to balance shotgun microphones at almost any length extended. You’ll also want to pick up a pair of film sandbags to weight the lighting stand’s legs down for safety so the whole thing doesn’t tip over or come crashing down on your interviewee.
To attach your microphone to the end of the boom arm, you’ll want a shockmount with a standard 5/8″ screw thread, like this one.
Pros: Simple setup, lightweight kit (except for the included but optional 12 pound counterweight!). Can also be used for small lights or other purposes. Doesn’t require you to already have a boom pole.
Cons: Not quite as versatile or rugged as a heavy duty C-Stand. Also can’t accommodate quite as much weight. Doesn’t use a boom pole so if you need to quickly reconfigure and switch into “run and gun” mode you may want to consider a C-stand with a boom pole holder attachment.
If you’re filming in a situation where you need to easily switch between handheld boom use and putting the boom pole on a stand, this is the ideal solution. It’s a boom pole holder that attaches to a heavy duty C-stand. Because it doesn’t have any moving parts, it allows for quick and fluid mode switch which is useful for run and gun shooting.
To use this boom pole holder with a stand, you’ll need: a heavy duty C-Stand, a grip head mount to clamp the holder to the C-stand at an angle, and of course a boom pole, shotgun microphone, XLR cable, and film sand bags to weigh down the C-Stand legs for safety. The length that you can extend this solution to is however long your boom pole is.
Pros: Works with your existing boom pole, allows for quick release, doesn’t generally require a counterweight on the boom pole, works with a standard C-stand if you already have one handy, e.g. for lighting
Cons: Requires more accessories, the C-stand will also generally bit a bit bulkier to set up (although it’s not difficult, just heavier).
Rode VideoMic Complete Boom Kit for DSLRs
If you have a DSLR and you need a way to hold a shotgun microphone above an interviewee while filming, this is a great possible solution. It’s a complete kit with almost everything you need, ranging from a stand to a Rode Videomic for DLSR cameras or camcorders, a wind muff, a 25 foot audio extension cable, and all the mounting gear you’ll need to set it up. The only thing you’ll want to pick up in addition to this all-in-one-kit is a couple of XLR cable, and film sand bags for safety (to weigh down the legs of the stand so it doesn’t tip over – especially if someone trips over the audio cable). The stand extends up to 7 feet tall (2.13 meters). The boom arm is only about 3 feet long and does not extend however.
Pros: Includes just about everything you need to hold a boom mic for an interview, including the microphone itself!
Cons: Only works with DSLRs or camcorders with 1/8th inch audio inputs. Doesn’t work with larger cameras that have XLR inputs (though this may not be a con if you’re using a DSLR to begin with). The boom arm does not extend past about 3 feet in length so you won’t be able to get the stand too far away from the person speaking, which means your shot will need to be relatively close up (not a full body shot).
Frequently asked questions about rigging a boom microphone and pole to a stand
Is it better to get a C-stand with and outfit it with boom pole mounts, or just get a dedicated boom pole stand?
It depends. While C-stands are certainly more versatile and can be used for lots of other things beyond just holding boom poles, they’re also heavier, larger and they may take up more space. On the other hand, C-stands are certainly the sturdiest, most rugged option. Dedicated boom pole stands may be less expensive and easier to transport but they won’t be quite as durable and might not last as long.
Another factor to consider is whether you already have a boom pole that you want to use, or if you’re without a pole to begin with and you only have the shotgun microphone to start off with.
Is there a maximum weight load for these boom pole holder solutions?
Generally speaking, any shotgun mic you use will be light enough that it won’t need much of a counterweight nor will it be too heavy for the boom arm in general. However, if you’re planning to also use the boom arm on a light stand to hold lighting or other items, you’ll probably want to use a C-Stand since that’s the most versatile heavy duty solution.