Some pieces of technology that you see at NAB are honestly cool but also a little funny-looking. That’s the case with this intriguing piece of gear on offer from the boom specialists at K-Tek. With the E-Z Boom, K-Tek aims to change the way boom operators work, offering up a personal rig designed to ease the physical demands of holding that boom mic aloft, just outside of the frame, for shot after endless shot.
Essentially, the counter-balanced boom is suspended from a crane that juts out over the head of the boom operator in a way that takes much of the difficulty of balancing the long boom pole itself out of the operator’s job. It’s sort of hard to explain, so let me apologize in advance for this crappy shakycam video I shot at the K-Tek booth. (Obviously, my Flip camera needs a much wider lens.)
On the one hand, being a good boom operator is a physically demanding job. On the other, strapping yourself into what amounts to a boom-stabilization rig might seem like overkill to audio guys who need to stay dextrous in tight situations. Looking for real-world info, I found this blog post that seems to summarize the pros and cons pretty well (scroll most of the way down).
At least for now, K-Tek is offering the E-Z Boom as a rental item only. The company wants to spend some time evaluating operator feedback before producing it for purchase, and they also figure boom operators aren’t really budgeting for it, anyway. Keep an eye out for the E-Z Boom v2 at next year’s NAB.
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