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How to become a Sound Technician

sound technician careers

What does a Sound Technician do?

Sound technicians/operators use technical equipment to record, amplify, mix and monitor sound. Their aim is to achieve the best possible sound quality in any given circumstances.

Jobs in film and television sound fall into two main categories: production sound, which is the recording of all sound on set or location; and post- production, where the recorded sound is balanced, mixed and edited, and any additional sound effects are added. Production sound crews usually consist of:

  • Production mixer/sound recordist: the head of the sound team. They interpret production and artistic requirements, assess the acoustics and plan where to place sound equipment, monitor and adjust sound levels during recording, and record the sound onto digital audio tape
  • Boom Operator: positions all microphones to ensure the best capture of sound, and holds and operates the boom microphone during recording
  • Sound Assistant: checks all sound equipment and microphones and assists the rest of the sound crew.
Sound technicians are also responsible for the assembly, maintenance and dismantling of sound equipment for each production, repairing faults as they arise.

Post-production roles include sound editors, re-recording/dubbing mixers, dialogue editors, music editors, foley artists (who create extra sound effects), and foley editors (responsible for synchronising the additional sound effects into the soundtrack).

The Skillset website has more detailed information about specific job roles within production and post-production sound – see Further Information.

What's the working environment like working as a Sound Technician?

Sound technicians work irregular hours according to the demands of a production. Evening, night and weekend work is common.

They may work in enclosed, soundproofed studios, or on location or outside broadcasts, which can involve working in all weather conditions, and could be anywhere from a racecourse to an outdoor music festival. Travel is necessary for location work and may involve staying away from home.

What does it take to become a Sound Technician?

As a sound technician you should:

  • have an understanding of the physics of sound
  • have a technical aptitude for sound equipment
  • have good hearing or musical ability
  • have creative flair
  • have stamina to deal with long, unpredictable hours
  • be a diplomatic, tactful team player
  • have quick reactions, balance and the ability to keep calm
  • have an interest in changing technology and electronics.

Sound Technician Career Opportunities

Opportunities exist within large television broadcasters, independent production companies, theatres, radio stations and post-production facilities companies. Most people working in production sound are usually employed on a freelance basis, although it is more common for those working in post-production to be employed permanently. This is a very competitive industry.

Digital technology has brought some changes to jobs in sound, particularly in post-production. Multiskilling is also becoming more important in the industry, for instance on newsgathering where operators might combine sound and camera skills. Some sound operators work for TV and radio simultaneously.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Sound Technician that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Skillset Careers
Tel: 08080 300 900 for England, Wales and Northern Ireland
Tel: 0808 100 8094 for Scotland

Prospect House
80-110 New Oxford Street

FT2 Film and Television Freelance Training
4th Floor
Warwick House
Warwick Street

Scottish Screen
249 West George Street
G2 4QE
Tel: 0141 302 1700

Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU)
373-377 Clapham Road

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