Boom Operator

Capture sounds on a film set.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$22,000 – $47,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Boom Operators do?

A Boom Operator places and holds the microphones on film sets. Boom Operators are the assistants to the Production Sound Mixers, and as a team they capture the audio as clearly as possible.

If you’re a Boom Operator, you are a fairly recognizable figure on set as you follow Actors around with a “fishpole”, or a five foot pole that ends in a furry microphone. You also operate a “boom”, which is like a remote controlled “fishpole”, and rig up the stationary microphones around set and onto Actors’ clothing. While recording you listen through headphones to make sure the audio is clear, and make any adjustments necessary to get a better transmission.

When you place or hold your microphones you must keep them as close to the action as possible while staying out of the camera’s view frame. This means you must understand how to operate the audio equipment, and how the set is being used and lit so you can place your equipment properly.

When you work you focus on capturing the dialogue over all else: The background noises will almost always be redone later by sound specialists like Foley Artists and Sound Editors. However the dialogue will only be redone if you can’t capture it the first time.

Should I be a Boom Operator?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Independent: You enjoy flying solo and doing things your own way.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Levelheaded: You hold your emotions in check, even in tough situations.

  • Also known as: Grapple Operator, Skid-Grapple Operator

    How to become a Boom Operator

    Most Boom Operators have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9gaaaa&chl=no+college+%2890%25%29|certificate+%2810%25%29||||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,90,90
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