The sound technicians who work in the broadcasting industry are the skilled professionals who make films, TV shows and music videos sound amazing. Essentially, these guys use technical equipment to record sound, amplify voices and edit recordings. Without these technical professionals, The X Factor voiceover guy’s booming exclamations would be nothing more than a whisper.
The dialogue, music and various other different sounds which are used in TV shows and films need to be clear, crisp and emphatic. Consequently, the practical and technical skills of sound technicians are absolutely essential for providing the audience with a satisfying multi-sensory experience.
Sound technicians work in a variety of different areas, from television advertisements and television panel shows to feature films and sporting events that are covered on live TV.
Generally, sound technicians who work on the production side of things are responsible for checking and preparing all the sound equipment for shoots, carrying out additional practical tasks to minimise unwanted sounds on set, evaluating the acoustics of a particular studio or location, and positioning recording equipment in the right place at the right time. Furthermore, they will tweak sound levels and monitor audio signals during filming.
Some sound technicians specialise in one particular area, such as boom operators. These guys operate the boom microphone, positioning it in the optimal place (where it won’t go into shot!). If the boom is hand-held, this can often be a physically strenuous job. These guy’s precise movements are planned meticulously, and they might also position other microphones around the set to optimise sound recording.
Other sound technicians specialise as sound mixers. These clever people have the overall responsibility of capturing the intricacies and subtle inflections of actors or television presenters’ voices. They also manage the rest of the sound crew and plan all the technical recording work.
Some sound technicians don’t work on-set – instead, they may work in the studio and focus their efforts on post-production responsibilities, such as mixing, editing and manipulating the sounds which have been recorded during the production process. They might also add in special sound effects and re-record parts to make them as effective as possible.