Cables & Connections
You wouldn't think about using a camera without any type of viewfinder, so why would you want to boom a shot without headphones? The boom operator must be able to monitor not only the audio that his/her microphone is picking up, but also all of the audio from any open mics in play during the shot.
HDSLR, small format digital video camcorders and pocket digital audio recorders are being used ever increasingly for professional application. In addition, there are still those rare occasions when we encounter the older video formats, such as mini DV, Digital 8, Hi8mm, and even SVHS.
The various merits of shooting images with these relatively inexpensive, unobtrusive, and extremely portable video acquisition systems are familiar to most readers. However, interfacing these consumer and prosumer camcorders with professional audio can be a nightmare.
Stage boxes and audio snakes do essentially the same task for us on the set. They allow us to use a single cable to extend the inputs/outputs of our mixing board closer to the actual set or stage. As you can imagine, this can be very convenient and a lot easier than having to run several independent mic cables.