Audio Engineering in Films
Being in Nashville it’s easy to get caught up in the studio album trap. But the truth is that there are a lot of careers and jobs outside of the mainstream audio engineering studio jobs. Because of this and because I’m a HUGE horror film buff and composer myself, I wanted to share this side of the industry with you! I’ll share the industry secrets with you, as well as techniques, interviews with professionals working in the industry as well as film score reviews and stories. There is a whole new world in the Film Industry, so let’s discover it!
Did you know for example that with Audio Engineering Experience you can work on Film Sets, in Scoring Stages and as Sound Editors? There are jobs out there that you may never knew existed or dreamed of that you can accomplish with audio engineering experience.
Let’s take a look at a few!
On Set Sound Jobs
A couple “On Site” Sound positions would be Production Sound Mixer, Boom Operator and Utility Sound Technician. These people work on set, are often union and are shoulder to shoulder working with the biggest names in Hollywood.
The Production Sound Mixer is head of the sound department on set, responsible for recording all sound during filming. This involves the choice and deployment of microphones, operation of a sound recording device, and sometimes the mixing of audio signals in real time.
The Boom Operator is an assistant to the Production Sound Mixer, responsible for microphone placement and movement during filming. The Boom Operator uses a boom pole, a long pole made of light aluminum or carbon fiber that allows precise positioning of the microphone above or below the Actors, just out of the camera’s frame. The Boom Operator may also place radio microphones and hidden set microphones. In France, the Boom Operator is called the Perchman.
The utility Sound Technician has a dynamic role in the Sound Department, most typically pulling cables, but often acting as an additional Boom Operator or Mixer when required by complex filming circumstances. Not all films employ a Utility Sound Technician, but the increasing complexities of location sound recording in modern film have made the job more prevalent. This role is sometimes credited as Cable Puller or Python Wrangler.
Post Production Sound
The Sound Designer, or Supervising Sound Editor, is in charge of the post-production sound of a movie. Sometimes this may involve great creative license, and other times it may simply mean working with the Director and Editor to balance the sound to their liking.
The Dialogue Editor is responsible for assembling and editing all the dialog in the soundtrack.
The Sound Editor is responsible for assembling and editing all the sound effects in the soundtrack.
The Re-recording Mixer balances all of the sounds prepared by the dialogue, music and effects editors, and finalizes the films audio track.
The Music Supervisor, or Music Director, works with the Composer, Mixers and Editors to create and integrate the film’s music. In Hollywood a Music Supervisor’s primary responsibility is to act as liaison between the film production and the recording industry, negotiating the use rights for all source music used in a film.
The Composer is responsible for writing the musical score for a film.
The Foley Artist is the person who creates many of the ambient or routine sound effects for a film. Foley Artists have a really fun job. Don’t believe me? Check out the video!
There are a tone of possibilities when it comes to careers in audio. So don’t just limit yourself to studio work, there is a world of possibilities out there!