Introduction: Boom Microphone and Shock-mount for Free
I'm a poor college film student, and I like to come up with cheap, creative ways to avoid some of the huge costs associated with my major.
I got a new shotgun-microphone a little while ago, and while I was bored one night in my dorm, I decided to see if I could built a shock-mount and boom for it out of items I already had laying around.
Step 1: Materials
All together, what I ended up using for this design was:
- A broken mini white-board from off of the door to my room
- Scotch tape
- A bag of rubber bands
- 2 different mini tripods I had already (The kind you can get on Amazon for around 3 bucks)
- 3 unsharpened pencils
- The microphone holder that came with my camera (the kind that has a shoe mount and a threaded standard tripod mounting hole)
- A broomstick stolen from the dorm building kitchen. haha.
For tools, all I used were:
- A pair of scissors
- A sharp exacto knife
Step 2: Take Apart the White Board
I pulled apart the board before I even really got the idea for this project, because it was headed to the trash anyway.
Not including the plastic edges, the whiteboard is made up of 2 layers, one of thick cardboard, and the other a thin piece of sheet metal with the shiny white paint on one side.
Originally I had thought of using the sheet metal, rolled into a tube to act as the housing for the shockmount, but after trying it, and discovering that it was just too flimsy, sharp, and generally not suitable, I decided to make something out of the cardboard layer instead.
Step 3: Score and Fold the Cardboard
I took the sheet of cardboard, and cut the width down to a more usable size.
I measured the long side of the cardboard, which I think was around 27cm, divided that by three, and marked lines every 9cm down the cardboard.
I then used my Exacto knife to score the cardboard down these lines along a ruler. (By "score" I mean slice deep enough to go through all but the last layer of the corrugated cardboard, so that it can easily be folded on the lines.)
The piece can then be flipped over and easily folded into a triangular box.
(Obviously it doesn't matter if you use the cardboard from a whiteboard or from wherever, but this cardboard I used was a little thicker and more rigid than what you would find in something like a pizza box. I would recommend using the thickest cardboard you can find, and if possible, using a slightly longer piece than the one I used. Maybe more like 36cm instead of 27. But this works.)
Step 4: Tape the Enclosure Into Shape, Add the Pencils and Rubber Bands
I put a lot of tape on each edge of the cardboard enclosure, especially the one that needed to be attached, so that it would stay sturdy and not rip.
If you scored your lines on the cardboard, their edges should create grooves that the pencils will fit into perfectly. Make sure that there is enough of the pencil sticking out of each side ( at least half an inch, preferably more like 1 inch) before taping the pencils into place as well.
These pencils will be what hold the rubber bands that suspend the microphone within the enclosure on each end.
Around this step my camera died and I had to switch to my phone, so there aren't many photos of this part. Sorry!
Around this time I also cut out a square hole in one wall of the enclosure, that lined up with the power switch on my microphone.
This is so that I can turn it on and off easily, because it is kind of a pain getting the mic in and out of the rubber bands.
Step 5: Mounting the ShockMount
Take the mini tripod with the bendable legs, and attach a rubber band to the bottom of each leg, (by stringing it around the leg, through itself, and pulling tight)
Spread the tripod so that 2 legs go to one side, and the other leg goes to the other. Place the Shockmount enclosure into the "V" shape created by the legs of the tripod.
Wrap the rubber bands, one at a time, around the body of the enclosure, and secure them around the head of the tripod. This is a bit tricky to explain, but I hope the pictures help. Once the 3 bands are secured around the enclosure, it should sit quite stably in place.
The clip that came with my microphone screwed directly into the mini-tripod.
Step 6: Boom Pole (Broom Stick)
I removed the broom-head from the brooms-stick of a household broom that I found in the kitchen.
The diameter of this broomstick allows it to fit perfectly and tightly into the microphone clip that is now attached backwards to the shock-mount enclosure. This mount allows the entire Shockmount's angle to be adjusted to my liking.
I taped around the clip and the broomstick, and wrapped both in a rubber band to ensure that the two will not fall apart and break my microphone on the ground.
Step 7: Mounting Digital Recorder (optional)
I use my microphone primarily with my Tascam DR-07 portable digital recorder, and I sync the sound and video in post-production.
I decided to mount the recorder on the pole within easy reach, to make the whole unit a self-contained recording device.
I took apart a different kind of mini tripod that I had, and taped and rubber-banded it to the pole. The Tascam unit has a standard tripod mount receiver on the bottom, so I can simply screw it on to this mount and plug in the microphone.
Step 8: Enjoy!
I'd like to think that most problems can be solved with simple, creative inventions made out of regular household items.
All in all, I'm very happy with this project, considering it took me around an hour to make from first idea to completion. The pole is too short for some situations and I would ideally use something longer and lighter, but it was all free! And it will work for now, until I build a better one out of PVC pipe and bolts, like the one I made a few years ago and then lost.
I hope you enjoy reading this and are inspired to build something like it or just to create something! =]