Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Make a Rubber Band Mount for your Boom Mic and Spend Just $3

After using a cheap mic to record dialogue, I ran out and spent $400 on an excellent shotgun mic, the Sennheiser ME-66. It's a great mic and I have never regretted that purchase. What I have regretted was not getting the proper mount for my boom pole. The mic came with a holder that screws right onto the pole, but that direct connection will pick up every hand movement that the operator makes. Not wanting to spend $50 for a "real" rubber band mount, I knew I could make one for next to nothing--it was just a matter of doing it.

Here's what you'll need for this project, most of which I found at the dollar store:

1 wire mesh pencil cup (with mesh bottom)
1 piece of 1/2" PVC pipe scrap cut to length of cup
2 medium length rubber bands
2 hose clamps

The cup cost $1 and the clamps came in a variety pack of twelve that also cost $1. The elastics came in a wonderful bag labeled "One pound of rubber bands" (also $1) that I have used for many a project. I already had the 1/2" PVC scrap laying around, but even if you buy a ten foot length it will only cost $1.50. Cutting the PVC is a real pain unless you get some ratcheting pvc cutters, which I highly recommend. PVC pipe has so many great uses (it's sometimes call "the Tinkertoys for adults") that these cutters are a wise investment. Get them for a scant $2.49 at Harbor Freight Tools.

The first thing you need to do is remove the bottom mesh of the pencil cup. I first tried cutting it out with small wire cutters, but found that pushing down on the mesh would break it free rather easily.

Once the bottom of the cup is removed, check the edge for straggling bits of metal that someone (like you) could cut their fingers on. Get some needle-nose pliers (I used the Gerber multitool that I always carry) and pull them off. I'm all for expending blood and sweat on a shoot, but tying up loose ends like this will save you some.

Next, lash the PVC pipe to the cup vertically using one of the rubber bands. Then, using a marker that can be seen against the color of your cup (I used a yellow crayon), make a pair of short lines where the pipe meets the cup. Do this at the top and the bottom.

Remove the pipe and use your wire cutters to cut a path where your marks are.

Feed the hose clamps through the newly opened holes. This will take a bit of work and may deform the clamps, but don't worry.

Run the pipe into the clamps, and tighten. The clamps will wrap around the pipe and the pierced cup and reform into shape.

Finally, wrap a rubber band around the cup twice, so you have two bands next to each other. Do the same with the second band, placing both in an "X" formation in relation to the PVC. This will suspend your mic nicely in the center of the pencil cup.

And that's it! Run your mic through the center of both pairs of bands, attach the mic clamp to the PVC, and you are well on your way to cleaner sound, unmarred by any noise your boom op may make as they reposition themselves. The only thing else I might do is spray paint the PVC black so the whole thing matches and looks more professional.

1 comment:

$teve said...

Wow, that really is astoundingly helpful. Thank you sir. I'll keep that in mind when/if I ever get my movie off the ground. Damn no-budget features... :)