Sound technician (broadcasting, film, video)
Sound technicians are an important part of a production team; sound technicians work closely with lighting technicians, directors and directors to create the desired audio effect for the production. They play a role in both production and post-production processes. On larger productions, sound technicians can specialise to perform a certain role such as dubbing mixer, foley artist, boom operator or sound editor or designer within a sound team. They are responsible for the sound effects attributed to actions and movements in film, radio and video, using technical equipment to mix, amplify, record or reproduce sound for a production, and ensuring that sound quality is optimal. The role involves some more physical aspects in setting up and maintenance of equipment, for example checking that microphones work and are appropriately placed at studios or on location.
Sound technicians who work as foley artists need to use their imagination to create noises and sounds for film or video by using various items and methods.
- Preparing, operating and looking after technical equipment and tools.
- Ensuring sound quality is at its best by performing sound checks in advance of a performance or recording and monitoring sound throughout the performance, adjusting levels if necessary.
- Selecting effects that fit the director’s specifications.
- Solving and fixing technical problems.
- Working closely with directors, producers and artists to decide on music and sound requirements.
- Synchronising sound effects with images during the editing process.
- Using a huge range of items from technical to household objects, to create sound.
- Mixing and balancing sound levels, dialogue, music and other effects.
Travel: on location shooting means regular travel for many sound technicians.
Working hours: can be long and unsociable; shootings and recording can take place at any time, day or night, and deadlines can also demand extra hours.
Location: most television/recording studios are based in large cities.
Entry is open to graduates of all disciplines but an in-depth knowledge of broadcasting technology is necessary, making subjects such as music technology or sound engineering particularly advantageous. Specialised training and courses in sound technologies are offered by a number of institutions in Ireland on a full and part-time basis, such as the Sound Training Centre in Dublin, Pulse College in Dublin, and Queen’s University Belfast.