The Boom Operator is a specialist role, they control the the long boom arm on which a microphone is mounted, this enables it to get as close to the filmed scene as possible without being seen onscreen. This can be either handheld or placed on a wheeled dolly. They must understand the dynamics of filming and camera in order to know how to record to a high level, without impinging on the cameras or obstructing the shot. They must work as a part of a team to a tight schedule, under the demands of a busy film set.
For this role, you will need:
Excellent knowledge of various microphone and other sound equipment and how they work in specific settings.
Good knowledge of electronics, including picture/sound editing.
Understanding of how scenes are put together and the synchronization between sound and camera.
Excellent physical and mental dexterity in recording the highest possible quality of sound while keeping the boom out of shot.
Great hearing, balance and agility as well as good co-ordination.
Ability and experience to problem solve sound issues as they may arise.
There are no usual career paths to Boom Operator, often they would have worked their way through the Sound Department starting as a sound trainee. Knowledge of sound equipment and electronics are essential. A qualification in sound recording is useful.