What Does A Boom Operator Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

Alyssa OmandacCareer, Overview

Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Boom Operators

Boom Operators are responsible for keeping a microphone in position during filming for film, television, or news productions. The microphone is typically attached to a boom pole, allowing the Boom Operator to position the mic near the Actors or people speaking on camera.

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The Boom Operator operates the boom pole, which is a long pole with a microphone attached to one end. While the duties of a Boom Operator appear limited, this job is essential to the production of a film or TV show.

Boom Operators are part of the sound department during a film or television production. They work under the Sound Mixer to capture dialogue and other sounds. They also attach wireless microphones, maintain the sound equipment, and decide where to position the mics. However, their main job is to keep the microphone and sound equipment from getting in the way of the Actors and cameras.

What they do

Boom Operators are responsible for keeping a microphone in position during filming for film, television, or news productions. The microphone is typically attached to a boom pole, allowing the Boom Operator to position the mic near the Actors or people speaking on camera.

Determine the Best Location for Microphones

Boom Operators may need to decide where to position the microphone to capture clear audio and eliminate unwanted noises. However, the Production Sound Mixer may also choose the best location and instruct the Boom Operator where to hold the boom pole.

When choosing a location, the Boom Operator or Sound Mixer needs to consider the location of the speaker, the cameras, lighting, and any external sources of noise. External noises may include the sound of cars passing by or people talking in a crowd when filming on location.

Operate a Boom Pole or Fisher Boom

On smaller productions and during on-location filming, the Boom Operator typically uses a boom pole to hold the microphone. The pole often has cabling routed through the inside and connected to a recording device.

When working in a television studio, the Boom Operator is more likely to use a fisher boom. The fisher boom includes a stand and allows the Boom Operator to mechanically control the position of the microphone instead of holding a pole.

Operating the boom pole or fisher boom requires the Boom Operator to pay attention to everything on set. They need to avoid letting the microphone, pole, or shadows from the equipment appear in the frame of the camera.

Manage and Prepare Microphones During Production

The Boom Operator is often responsible for the equipment that they operate, including the microphones and booms. For example, when recording outdoors, the Boom Operator may need to attach a wind cover over the microphone.

The Boom Operator is also the person who attaches wireless microphones to speakers or Actors when a boom mic is not a valid option. This is more common for news broadcasts and unscripted television, such as documentaries or game shows.

Read Scripts to Understand the Exchange of Dialogue

When working in a film or television set, the Boom Operator needs to be familiar with the script and lines of dialogue. They need to understand the script to know when to adjust or tilt the microphone toward the direction of the speaker. Adjusting or tilting the microphone is often a requirement when there is only one Boom Operator on the set.

What is the job like


You May Get to Work on Film Sets

Boom Operators with the right connections may work on big-budget film productions, allowing you to see celebrities and other stars.

Your Work May Take You to Interesting Locations

The variety of projects that you work on may allow you to visit places you have never visited.

You Get to Read Scripts Early

Boom Operators are often given access to scripts, giving you a chance to read stories before they reach the public.

Provides a Path to Becoming a Sound Mixer

Sound Mixers often start as Boom Operators. Working as a Boom Operator can provide the experience and connections needed to advance your career.


Working as a Boom Operator Can Be Boring

The limited role of the Boom Operator can be a little tiring during a long day on the set.

You May Not Feel Like Part of the Team

Boom Operators are often underappreciated for their work, which can be discouraging.

Where they work

Film Studios
Sound Production Companies
Video Production Companies
News Studios

Boom Operators are typically employed in the film and television industries. They often work for movie or television production companies, film studios, or sound production companies as part of the sound department.

News studios may employ Boom Operators for field assignments, such as on-location news reports and interviews. Any company involved in video production may also require Boom Operators, including companies that produce commercials, corporate videos, or documentaries.

How to become one

Step 1: Learn More About Filmmaking in High School

If you want to work as a Boom Operator in the film or television industry, learn more about the production process.

Step 2: Earn a Degree in Sound Design or Filmmaking

While it is not required, many Boom Operators earn degrees in Audio Engineering or Sound Mixing.

Step 3: Volunteer for Any Video or Theatre Production

Start volunteering for any video or theatre production that needs a Boom Operator.

Step 4: Build Your Connections

As you gain more experience, you should maintain relationships with the Producers and Production Designers that hire you. Gaining more connections is essential for finding more work.

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Builder

People with this personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

You can read more about these career personality types here.

Boom Operators should have a lot of patience, as they are required to hold a pole for long periods while keeping the microphone out of the line of sight of the camera. Attention to detail is also important due to the variety of moving parts and people involved in typical video production projects.

You should have good listening and communication skills, which are needed for understanding the instructions of your Sound Mixer or supervisor. Along with these personality traits, you also need a strong back and upper body strength to hold the boom pole steady.

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