One of my most trusty companions on any job for the past several years has been my K-Tek KA113CCR Articulated Boom Pole. This specific model of K-Tek boom pole seems to have lived in relative obscurity since its initial release for reasons beyond my comprehension. Most people whom I have spoken to didn’t even know that it existed. This is a tool that no sound mixer or boom operator should be without!
So here’s a little overview of the pole with pictures, as well as a video demonstration below.
To state the obvious, the main thing that separates this from other poles is, you guessed it, the articulating elbow joint in the middle.
The pole has a length collapsed of 2.5 feet (when folded together) and an length extended of 9.5 feet with 5 locking sections. It’s part of K-Tek’s “Klassic” line which means that it’s constructed out of carbon fiber. Now 9.5 feet is a little on the short side, but you have to also think about what the intended use for this pole is and how the weight will be distributed when positioned at an angle. Also, the fantastic people at K-Tek would gladly custom build you a longer version per your request.
Even though the big exciting feature is the articulation, I will still often use this as a straight pole when the situation calls for it. And that’s the wonderful thing. It can function the same way as a regular boom, or it can articulate and perform magic. The small storage size makes this perfect for travel as well.
The elbow joint has 5 locking positions, if you include the straight position. I would say that I regularly use all of them.
This allows you to extend the sections beneath the joint upward at an angle, and then extend the sections above the joint out horizontally. The idea is that by doing this, the user is able to balance the bottom of the pole off of the hip and then hold the lower padded sections with a single hand.
You can even balance the entire pole off of the ground for some of those extended interviews or scenes.
I have used this pole for a variety of applications other than interviews. Sometimes myself or my Boom Operator will have a near impossible task of angling the microphone into a tricky setup. Sometimes this is due to shadows from the lighting and sometimes there are physical obstructions in the way. We’ve all been there. But being able to angle in from the side or from above has saved me on numerous occasions.
If you imagine another scenario, you are booming from an elevated position, and you would like to save your arms a bit, you could hold the lower sections horizontally and then extend the upper sections down at an angle. A few times I even did the opposite. Once I had to be behind a doorway beside the camera for light reasons. The actor was behind the door way, but he was very tall so I couldn’t just let the boom sit above his head or it would be in frame. I couldn’t go higher because of the frame So I horizontally fed the pole straight through the doorway as high as I could and then used the elbow joint to angle the upper sections above his head. Then I just pointed the shock mount down and BAM. It was a sight to see. Even the Director of Photography was impressed. I couldn’t have done it without this pole.
I recommend everyone get a hold of the KA113 and try it for themselves. Unless you’re looking for a super long pole, this guy does the job and he does it fantastically. I have a couple of others, but this is my daily driver for all of the reasons listed above. Eventually I plan on having them make me a super long version of the KA113. Once I have that, I can’t imagine needing anything else.
Jared Elkin is a professional sound mixer located in Minneapolis, Minnesota.