Hard to say. Price is definitely an issue. I have a gitzo aluminum boompole, which has served me well. I picked it up used for about a hundred bucks. But it is actually heavier than the painters pole I used to use. I use a rycote inv-7 shockmount, which I really like, but the mount you get might vary, depending on the mic.
Booms are kind of like microphones; no one pole is perfect for all situations. But unless you are a sound guy, you are probably going to get one that covers most of the bases. In that regard, I would recommend longer (at least 10 feet). It will be heavier than you might need for shorter distances, but it's the better side of the compromise.
Carbon Fiber is lighter, but typically around twice the price. You will also pay more for an internal cable. It's a nice feature if you have the money, but I would take an external cable on a longer or lighter pole than an internal cable on a heavier or shorter one. But that's just me. Most newer poles have the option of you running an internal cable (if you are handy with a soldering gun).
The other issue is the collars. If you are buying used, check them out thoroughly. You want ones that are going to open and close easily, and are tight when locked down. Most newer ones should work fine out of the box.
I'm not a dedicated audio guy, but those are some of the lessons I have learned. Get the longest and lightest pole you can afford. Ounces add up when you are flying a boom for minutes at a time.
I agree that the K-Tek boompoles are pretty sweet.
We have a DPA Windpac mount and zeppelin. It is very nice, light, effective, and the zeppelin folds up for storage so you don't have to have a hard case to protect it. The DPA is pricey, like the K-Tek poles, but really nice. We used ours for a feature shot totally on location in rain, wind, etc and all of our production audio was perfect.
Yes, no microphone. It's a pistol grip suspension that has a blimp over it (but can be used without the blimp if you need to), The pistol grip has a standard thread to receive a boom pole. I have only had a need to use the dead cat on one occasion. Otherwise the blimp by itself does great.
I also have to throw in that I am much more likely to throw a Micover Puffin or Rycote Softie on the mic for exteriors. I like the security of having the blimp when I need it, but a furry is usually enough.
and this answer is probably not the one you want to hear, but as one filmmakers who basically builds or buy very used items, The boom pole that i have is a 8 foot paint stick w/ extentions and a modified roller holder for the mic. you can't get any more guerilla than that
I admire your resourcefulnesses Winter. I often say that I build what I can, so i can have the money to buy what I can't.
But that type of gear doesn't always instill confidence in clients when you are doing commercial shoots, even if they are effective. Sometimes the appearance of professionalism can put their mind at ease. On an indie film shoot, all bets are off. ;-)
...and i fully understand. if I was doing commercial shoots, sure, having the standard equipment would be In my ownership. but as someone who works in the construction field, having worked on both DIA and the light rail projects, sometimes not having the proper equipment and/ or tools. Improvising is a neccessity to get it done. I'm not saying that it's a good thing just a plan "c"
My partner and I just got one together. We got the parts from:
2691 30th St.
Boulder, CO 80301
Todd is the manager of Robb's Boulder Music and he gave us the best price. Mark (my husband/partner) than got a painter's pole at home depot to create a long arm.
For more info on how he got it altogether for a great price contact him here on CASA: http://casa-films.ning.com/profile/MarkMcGinnis
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