All of our forms are down. For any requests, please send us an email at contactus@reelcanada.ca. Thank you for your patience.

Reel Opportunities

Post-Production Supervisor

What does a Post-Production Supervisor do?

Post-Production Supervisors help a Producer achieve as much as is possible in the edit process without going over budget. Post-production Supervisors are the main line of communication between the Producers, Director, Editors, Sound Editors, 3rd party facilities, and the Production Accountant. Though it’s not a creative role, the Post-production Supervisor is integral to the delivery of the film or television series.

On films that involve using complex CGI (computer-generated images), they make sure the Producer’s aware of all the creative and financial considerations of post-production before work on the film even begins.

Post-Production Supervisors help hire staff for the edit, like Sound Editors and Titles Designers. They work closely with the Production Accountant, supplying accurate information for the cost reports.

They usually continue to work on the production until all the elements needed for the completion of the film are delivered. This includes the music and effects version, which allows the dialogue track to be replaced with different languages.

What’s a Post-Production Supervisor good at?
  • Understanding post-production

    Know the process in detail, stay up-to-date with the effects that can be achieved through constantly changing technology

  • Budgeting

    Plan, use film budgeting software, keep track of spending

  • Multi-tasking

    Prioritize conflicting demands

  • Problem-solving

    Find solutions to creative and practical dilemmas

  • Communication

    Persuade producers of the creative possibilities and limitations of post, keep a team working happily

Who does a Post-Production Supervisor work with?

The Post-Production Supervisor works very closely with the picture and sound teams, especially the Editor, Assistant Editor or Sound Editor. They also work with the Post-production coordinator and Production Assistants.

How do I become a Post-Production Supervisor?

Most Post-Production Supervisors have worked in the industry for at least four years, either in an editing, sound or management role. It’s essential to have an intimate knowledge of the workings of the highly complex processes of post. Most Post-production Supervisors come in as Production Assistants.

Educational Requirements: If you want to go to university, courses in art, design, photography, drama and theatre, English, film studies, graphic design, graphic communication, media studies, physics, psychology and computing science are useful.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Dubbing Mixer

Also known as: Re-recording Mixer

What does a Dubbing Mixer do?

A Dubbing Mixer (also known as a Re-recording Mixer) is a post-production audio engineer who creates the final version of a soundtrack for a feature film or television show by mixing recorded dialogue, sound effects, and music.

The final mix must achieve a desired sonic balance among its various elements, as well as match the vision of the Director or Sound Designer for the project.

Sound Editors, Sound Designers, Sound Engineers, Production Sound Mixers, and/or Music Editors assemble the tracks that become the raw materials for the Re-recording Mixer to work with during production or earlier parts of post-production. Professional musicians, singers, actors, and Foley Artists create the sounds that go into those tracks.

The “premix” is the first step in the traditional re-recording process. The Re-recording Mixer does preliminary processing in the dialogue premix, such as initial loudness adjustments, cross-fading, and reducing environmental noise or spill picked up by the on-set microphone. The Re-recording/Dubbing Mixers, guided by the Director or Producer, must make creative decisions about how loud each major sound element (dialogue, sound effects, laugh track, and music) should be relative to each other during the “final mix.”

What's a Dubbing Mixer good at?
  • Knowledge of film production

    Be aware of the whole process of making a film or TV drama

  • Hearing

    Be able to hear precisely and to concentrate on sound in a distracting environment

  • Understanding sound

    Know how it moves, how we hear, how sound can be manipulated and distorted

  • Creativity & Storytelling

    Be able to recreate everyday sounds to enhance the storytelling

  • Using software

    Record sound, have extensive knowledge of ProTools and other audio design software

  • Communication

    Understand the director’s vision and be able to articulate creative and technical ideas, have productive discussions and address constructive feedback, work closely with the dialogues and always keep the sound in mind

  • Organization

    Be able to work to tight deadlines in post-production

Who does a Dubbing Mixer work with?

The Dubbing Mixer will mainly work with the post-production sound team. This includes Sound Editors, and the Post-production Supervisor, who will keep the post-production schedule on time. They will also work with the Director and Producer of the film, so the audio gets final approval or notes.

How do I become a Dubbing Mixer?

A diploma in audio engineering is generally relevant for this job. To gear your engineering knowledge towards film, however, it is best to work as an Assistant Sound Editor and then move up to working with or as a member of each post-sound department.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Foley Artist

What does a Foley Artist do?

Foley Artists come up with creative ways to reproduce sounds to match the visual scene in a film. Foley is the reproduction of everyday sounds, which are then added to films during post-production. It can be challenging to record every small sound that happens in a scene while you’re actually on set (keys rattling in a door, footsteps, a spoon clinking inside a cup, someone typing on their keyboard, etc). Sometimes, these sounds have to be recreated or included after the fact. For example, when actors do a fight scene, they aren’t really hitting each other, so there are no punching sounds to record! The job of a Foley Artist is to find something that can sound convincingly like a real fight to the audience (while avoiding real violence, of course!)

What's a Foley Artist good at?
  • Creativity & Storytelling

    Be able to recreate everyday sounds to enhance the storytelling

  • Using software

    Record sound, have extensive knowledge of ProTools and other audio design software

  • Communication

    Understand the Director’s vision and be able to articulate creative and technical ideas, have productive discussions and address constructive feedback, work closely with the dialogues and always keep the sound in mind

  • Organization

    Be able to work to tight deadlines in post-production

Who does a Foley Artist work with?

Foley Artists work closely with the Director and Editor. They might also work with the following people:

Sound Editor
Sound Editors work directly with the filmmakers to structure and advise on schedules and creative styles. They liaise closely with the picture Editor. They build the team of editors responsible for creating the film’s soundtrack. Sound Editors organize the effects (FX) and Foley recording sessions. They provide creative input during the mix and ensure the final mix and various versions are delivered.

Sound Effects Editor
Sound Effects Editors work closely with the Sound Designer and supervisor. They create backgrounds using specific sounds, such as clocks, wind, birdsong, and cars passing. They create an ambience that can be altered to work with the dialogue and music.

Sound Designer
Sound Designers combine all the elements (music, background noises, dialogue, effects, and other atmospheric sounds) into one unified soundscape that forms the sonic backdrop for a film.

How do I become a Foley Artist?

Foley Artists typically have a college education with a diploma in sound and/or recording arts plus knowledge and experience in post-production. A good place to start is as an intern or runner in a post-production audio facility. This gives you a thorough grounding in the technical aspects of recording sound, including knowledge of electronics and training in acoustics.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

ADR Recordist

Also known as: ADR Mixers

What does an ADR Recordist do?

ADR Recordists are recording engineers who specialize in re-recording dialogue in a studio setting, as well as recording the voiceover for animated films and TV shows, documentaries, and video games.

ADR stands for “automated dialogue replacement”, and it refers to the techniques that can be used to fix or smooth out issues in recorded sound. To get clear and perfect dialogue in each shot of a TV show or movie, filmmakers have a secret weapon: an ADR Mixer.

Sometimes, dialogue is re-recorded to replace the original sound in a scene, because there was some issue, such as background noise, or an actor messing up a line. The ADR Recordist makes sure that all the spoken dialogue in a film is of the highest possible audio quality. They are given notes from the Script Supervisor or Production Sound Mixer, taken during the film shoot, indicating where there are problems in the audio tracks, and from there, they get to work replacing those spots with new recordings, with the actors called in for studio recording sessions of the necessary dialogue.

What's an ADR Recordist good at?
  • Listening

    Have a good ear, know what sounds good, be able to hear sounds that shouldn’t be there

  • Story-telling

    Understand the process of film production, appreciate how sound contributes to the narrative

  • Using software

    Record sound, use editing software, understand how sound is made

  • Communication

    Understand the vision of the director, work with actors replicating dialogue, collaborate with the producers, picture editor, and sound editors

  • Attention to detail

    Be patient, attend to the smallest sounds, often under pressure in the final mix stage

Who does an ADR Recordist work with?

ADR recordists work closely with the Director and Editor. They might also work with the following people:

Supervising Sound Editor
Supervising Sound Editors work directly with the filmmakers to structure and advise on schedules and creative styles. They liaise closely with the picture editor. They build the team of editors responsible for creating the film’s soundtrack. Supervising Sound Editors organize the effects (FX) and Foley recording sessions. They provide the creative input during the mix and ensure the final mix and various versions are delivered.

Voice Actors
Voice Actors are talent responsible for performing dialogue for a film, TV show, or animated project. This might be the first time the dialogue is performed, or a replacement dialogue that needs to be recorded due to bad production sound.

Dialogue Editor (Animation)
Dialogue editors are responsible for editing the recordings of the script and synchronizing this with the animation.

How do I become an ADR Recordist?

You can become an ADR Recordist through many different routes but you must have an interest in and skills in audio recording.

Educational requirements: A college degree in film and TV production with a concentration on audio post-production is beneficial to this career, but may be substituted for a degree in recording arts with a particular focus on audio engineering. The ADR editor must be proficient in the use of analog and digital audio recording consoles, as well as digital audio software like ProTools.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Sound Designer

What does a Sound Designer do?

Sound Designers combine all the elements (music, background noises, dialogue, effects, and other atmospheric sounds) into one unified soundscape that forms the sonic backdrop for a film.

Sound design commonly involves performing and editing of previously composed or recorded audio, such as sound effects and dialogue, but it can also involve creating sounds from scratch through synthesizers or other instruments.

In animation, Sound Designers create the soundscape. In animation, there are no natural sounds to work with (as there would be when filming live action) so everything in sound in animation is created from scratch by Sound Designers.

Sound Designers decide which sounds to use to create the right atmosphere and communicate the story and characters to the audience. They discuss with the director the kind of effect they want and then find creative ways to achieve this.

Most Sound Designers are experienced sound editors who may even supervise the work of the entire sound post-production process, in addition to having a specialized creative role in putting together the entire sonic aspect of the production.

Good communication skills are needed, along with imagination and creative flair to produce original sound elements and effects.

What's a Sound Designer good at?
  • Creativity

    Be able to imagine a soundscape that doesn’t exist yet, translate ideas into sound, create bespoke sounds to enhance the storytelling

  • Storytelling

    Have a good understanding of the characters and the story and design sounds which communicate these well, understand the importance of timing, when sound design is necessary and when not

  • Using software

    Record sound, have extensive knowledge of ProTools and other audio design software

  • Communication

    Understand the director’s vision and be able to articulate creative and technical ideas, have productive discussions and address constructive feedback, work closely with the dialogues and always keep the music in mind

  • Organization

    Be able to work to tight deadlines in post-production

Who does a Sound Designer work with?

Sound Designers work closely with the Director and Editor. They might also work with the following people:

Supervising Sound Editor
Supervising Sound Editors work directly with the filmmakers to structure and advise on schedules and creative styles. They liaise closely with the picture editor. They build the team of editors responsible for creating the film’s soundtrack. Supervising Sound Editors organize the effects (FX) and Foley recording sessions. They provide the creative input during the mix and ensure the final mix and various versions are delivered.

Sound Effects Editor
Sound Effects Editors work closely with the Sound Designer and Supervisor. They create backgrounds using specific sounds, such as clocks, wind, birdsong, cars passing. They create the ambience that can be altered to work with the dialogue and music.

Dialogue Editor
Dialogue Editors are responsible for editing the recordings of the script and synchronizing this with the animation.

Foley Artists
Bigger studios might have specific Foley Artists who create everyday sounds which are then added to films during post-production. It can be challenging to record every small sound that happens in a scene while you’re actually on set (keys rattling in a door, footsteps, a spoon clinking inside a cup, someone typing on their keyboard, etc). Sometimes, these sounds have to be recreated or included after the fact. For example, when actors do a fight scene, they aren’t really hitting each other, so there are no punching sounds to record! The job of a foley artist is to find something that can sound convincingly like a real fight to the audience (while avoiding real violence, of course!)

Music Editor
Music Editors determine where music is needed in the film and the style and purpose of the music. Sound Designers will collaborate with them to make sure their sound effects work well with the music being written by the Composer.

How do I become a Sound Designer?

Most Sound Designers begin as Production Assistants in post-production or audio post-production houses. They work their way up to Assistant, Mixer or Sound Editor and spend many years perfecting their craft.

Educational requirements: Education options range from 1-year diploma programs to bachelor’s, post-graduate, and master’s degrees in sound design. Art schools, film schools and universities offer programs in the industry.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Music Supervisor

What does a Music Supervisor do?

Music Supervisors are a key creative voice in film and television post-production. They will watch the rough cut of the film or television show in what is called a “spotting” session, where they will write notes about where music is needed. They research the right songs and music to complement the scenes’ story and tone. They make suggestions and confer with the Director over the right choices for the project.

Once the music has been selected, Music Supervisors will then research the rights holders and contact them to gain the rights and licenses for the use of the music. They sometimes have to negotiate the price of some songs since they can be very expensive. Once the rights are obtained the Music Supervisor will keep track of the rights and make sure the royalties and credits are distributed properly using “cue cards” in the end credits.

What's a Music Supervisor good at?
  • Knowledge and passion for Music and Music History

    Music Supervisors have to have a vast knowledge of the music landscape as well as the history of music. This helps them have a good idea of what songs should be used for certain scenes

  • Rights and License knowledge

    Music Supervisors need to know the copyright laws and the different rights and licenses needed in Canada to acquire a song

  • Knowledge of film-making

    Be able to understand the production process, particularly the post-production sound process

  • Communication

    Be able to work with multiple people on the production and communicate your music ideas to the Director. You will also need to speak to a number of different song rights holders and negotiate with them

  • Organization

    Work within the sound budget, keep clear notes on the music suggestions for the film and keep records of all the royalties and credits of the songs

Who does a Music Supervisor work with?

Director
The Director is the one whose creative vision everyone is helping to execute. They have an overall look and feel they want for the film. They want to convey the story in a certain way and need the help of a lot of people to accomplish it. Directors are good leaders and visionaries being able to convey their ideas to the entire crew.

Sound Designer
Sound Designers are most commonly involved in the performing and editing of previously composed or recorded audio, such as sound effects and dialogue, but it can also involve creating sounds from scratch through synthesizers or other instruments. They add and create the soundscape for the film since not all of the sound you hear in movies is recorded on set.

Editor
The Editor watches all of the recorded footage, selecting which takes to use and then using digital editing software to assemble that footage into a completed feature film. They must analyze every shot (which sometimes means hundreds of hours of footage), meticulously selecting the takes that will achieve the desired emotional and thematic impact of a film.

How do I become a Music Supervisor?

Music Supervisors should have some experience in the music industry or music-related fields. Then you need to develop contacts in the film and TV drama industry to get experience working on film sets. Look into becoming a part of a post-production sound team on smaller productions and providing your knowledge of music.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Boom Operator

What is a Boom Operator?
What does a Boom Operator do?

A Boom Operator’s primary responsibility is to capture sound on a film or TV production through the use of a microphone on a long pole or arm called a boom pole. The Boom Operator stands beside the Camera Operator and holds the boom pole above the heads of the performers keeping the pole and its shadow out of the shot. In a moving shot, the Boom Operator must follow the action while remaining unseen.

On larger productions, the Boom Operators’ sole job is to hold the boom pole. They report directly to the Sound Recordist or Sound Mixer. On smaller productions, the Boom Operator may also be responsible for affixing body mics known as ‘lavs’ or placing other mics throughout the location. In these cases, the Boom Operator and the Sound Mixer may be one and the same.

What's a Boom Operator good at?
  • Communication

    Have great people skills, put cast members at ease when fitting personal mics and be able to collaborate effectively with other team members to ensure the sound fits with the visuals.

  • Problem-solving

    Be resourceful and find effective solutions to technical problems and recording challenges.

  • Technical knowledge

    Be able to operate, maintain and repair sound equipment, keep up-to-date and use innovations.

  • Knowledge of the production and post-production process

    Have a good understanding of all crew roles and aspects of how a programme is made from pre- through to post-production.

  • Physical fitness

    The film industry is characterized by very long filming days, which means that boom operators often have to hold up the boom mic consistently throughout an entire day—for many days in a row. This can cause a lot of strain on your arms, shoulders, and back.

Who does a Boom Operator work with?

Boom Operators work intimately with all on-screen talent and contributors, fitting personal mics and monitoring their sound output. They communicate with all members of the production and crew, especially Camera Operators and Directors. The Boom Operator reports to the Production Sound Mixer, the senior-most sound crew member on set. On lower-budget films, the Boom Operator and the production’s Sound Mixer are often just one person, referred to as the “Sound Recordist.”

How do I become a Boom Operator?

Though there is no formal requirement, the basic skills common to all successful Boom Operators include cursory knowledge of electronics and sound recording equipment, excellent aural skills, strength and dexterity, memorization skills, good timing, attention to detail, and the ability to work in teams.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Sound Recordist

Also known as: Sound engineer

What does a Sound Recordist do?

Sound recordists capture all of the sounds on location for Film and Television Productions. This can include dialogue, singing, and action – from performance to real events. They will fit personal mics to any actors that require a microphone connected to them as well as helping with the placement of microphones on the set. They will assist the boom operator in setting up the equipment and figuring out the best placement for them to stand.

The main responsibility of a sound recordist is to capture all the audio on the production. They will use various pieces of equipment and microphones to make sure all the correct audio is being recorded and also named properly. They will track down every take of audio so that in the editing process it is easier to edit. They will also make sure the timecode for the camera and visuals is synced up to the recording equipment and audio.

Sound recordists also work around any issues with background noise. The job is as much about making sure you don’t record the sounds you don’t want as recording the ones you do. They listen to make sure nothing’s wrong with the take, to see whether it needs to be recorded again. The sound has to make sense with the visuals, so sound recordists will often record a ‘wild track’ of realistic background noise that can be used in the edit to fill any gaps in the background atmosphere caused by editing, or added to a scene without drowning out the dialogue. On large productions, several sound recordists work to one sound supervisor.

What's a Sound Recordist good at?
  • Communication

    Have great people skills, put contributors at ease when fitting personal mics and be able to collaborate effectively with other team members to ensure the sound fits with the visuals.

  • Problem-solving

    Be resourceful and find effective solutions to technical problems and recording challenges.

  • Technical knowledge

    Be able to operate, maintain and repair sound equipment, keep up-to-date and use innovations.

  • Scientific knowledge

    Understand the physics of sound, the qualities it possesses, what can affect it, how to manipulate it.

  • Knowledge of the production and post-production process

    Have a good understanding of all crew roles and aspects.

Who does a Sound Recordist work with?

Sound recordists work intimately, fitting personal mics and monitoring the sound output on all on-screen talent and contributors. They communicate with all members of the production and crew, especially camera operators and directors. They will also work with Boom operators on set and collaborate with them to find the best places to capture sound without impeding the shot.

How do I become a Sound Recordist?

Sound recordist is a senior role, so you’ll probably need experience as a sound assistant first. You might get into this role by gaining experience as a Production Assistant , or you might have been a sound trainee.

Here are some more tips:

Educational requirements: A certificate or degree in audio engineering is preferred for this role. Internships and apprenticeships in audio production are very important, as is learning on the job in entry-level positions in the audio/sound department of smaller-budget productions.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Composer

What does a Composer do?

Composers write original music that reflects and communicates the atmosphere, character’s emotions, and story. A film score has to work with the film, rather than as a standalone piece of music.

Composers are usually given a scope of work at the start of the project. This happens at the stage where storyboards are edited in time with the soundtrack. They then can create a full score for the final film. Composers rewrite their score according to feedback from the Director, Producer, and Editor. A section of music might need to be a different length, highlight a different onscreen moment, or have a different feel to it.

Composers need to be aware of the genre they are composing for. For works such as feature-length musicals, or TV shows with a theme song, the composer might be involved with writing these. Or this might fall to a different musician, with the Composer sometimes scoring the backing for the songs.

On big-budget productions, Composers prepare the score, usually on midi files, for the orchestrator and copyist. In most TV and lower-budget films, Composers do their own orchestration. They also prepare the score’s electronic aspects for the recording sessions and deliver the score to the Producer, together with all recordable media. Composers often need strong music production, recording, and performance skills in order to realize their works for projects as music budgets are generally tight. They are freelancers and usually work from their own home or office.

What's a Composer good at?
  • Music

    Have a high level of technical musical skill and be able to compose and notate original, high-quality scores with interesting and distinctive musical ideas that fit the style of the animation

  • Storytelling

    Be able to communicate a story and reflect its themes through music

  • Music production

    Have good recording and production skills to create demos and professional-level scores, be able to use music composition software and music editing software such as Avid ProTools

  • Communication

    Be able to work to a brief, act on constructive feedback, and compose music to contribute to the Director's overall vision, build extensive contacts with musicians who can contribute to your work

  • Business management skills

    Understand legal and contractual aspects of the job as a freelancer contributing your work to a different project

Who does a Composer work with?

Composers work closely with the Director, Producer, and Music Editor (if there is one), as well as communicating with the Sound Designer and Editor.

How do I become a Composer?

Composers get jobs based on their portfolio. You need a high level of musical knowledge and technical skill, so generally, all Composers are formally trained in music. Some have specific degrees in composing for film and television. The most important thing, however, is that you have a strong body of work to demonstrate your skill and personal style. You also need to make connections with filmmakers and musicians. Even if you are working on live-action films rather than animations, it will give you invaluable experience insights into the process of adding sound to film.

Here are some more tips:

Watch a lot of films and listen to music: Watch as many films and television shows as you can and pay attention to how the music is scored. Get a feel for how music interacts with the film and musical styles vary between genres.

Build a portfolio: Start writing your own music. Learn music composition and notation software. Find filmmakers who need someone to write the music for their film and collaborate with them, or you can practice and add to your portfolio by writing your own new scores for existing films. Building your portfolio is essential.

Look outside the industry: Composers are needed in lots of industries – aside from live-action film and TV and games, there are also composing jobs in advertising and theatre. See if you can get a job in one of these fields and gain experience that you can later use to compose for animation.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Sound Editor

Also known as: Supervising Sound Editor, Sound Effects Editor

What does a Sound Editor do?

Sound Editors manage the team that looks after each part of the sound of a film or TV drama. This includes those responsible for dialogue, additional dialogue recording (ADR), sound effects, background sounds, and Foley.

Their role varies according to the budget of the production. On lower-budget films, they start work when the picture Editor has achieved picture lock – the point at which the Director or Producer has given the final approval for the picture edit. On bigger budget films, they start work before shooting begins and appoint specialist Sound Editors to supervise separate teams for each area of work.

After picture lock, Sound Editors attend a “spotting session” with the Director and other Sound Editors. They discuss any concepts for the overall feel of the sound (naturalistic or stylized), and check every sound effect and line of dialogue to see what’s needed.

They will then have a hands-on role in creating the overall soundtrack for every discipline.

They are responsible for the sound budget and for organizing the workflow – from sound editorial, foley recording, ADR sessions, pre-mix to the final mix, and making plans for any special requirements. After the final mix, Sound Editors usually oversee the creation of the different deliverables, including a music and effects version which allows dialogue to be replaced with dialogue in different languages.

Among the challenges that Sound Editors face are creatively adding together various elements to create believable sounds representing everything you see on screen. The Sound Editor must put all the elements of sound together in a way that not only sounds seamless and natural but also heightens the dramatic tension or emotional impact that the Director wants in each scene.

What's a Sound Editor good at?
  • Listening

    Have a good ear, know what sounds good, be able to hear sounds that shouldn’t be there

  • Story-telling

    Understand the process of film production, appreciate how sound contributes to the narrative

  • Using software

    Record sound, use editing software, and understand how sound is made

  • Organization

    Budget, recruit staff, plan the workflow, and work to the deadline

  • Communication

    Understand the vision of the director, work with actors replicating dialogue with ADR, collaborate with the producers, picture editor, and sound editors

  • Attention to detail

    Be patient, and attend to the smallest sounds, often under pressure in the final mix stage

Who does a Sound Editor work with?

Sound Editors work closely with the Director, Editor, and the Post-production Supervisor, who is responsible for the smooth running of the whole post-production process. They also work with the following people in the post-production sound department.

Music Editor
Music Editors intensify the emotional impact of a film by creating the soundtrack. They contribute mood, atmosphere, and the occasional catchy theme tune.

Sound Designer
Sound Designers are concerned with all the sound effects whether that be gunshots, clocks, doors closing, dog barking (spot effects) or rain, wind, traffic, birdsong (atmosphere effects), or special effects such as aliens talking.

Foley Editor
Foley Editors add subtle sounds that production microphones often miss. These often relate to movement, such as footsteps, fights, fist banging on a door, or pouring wine, shards of glass falling from a broken window. The process gives scenes added realism. They note every Foley effect that is required and works out how to create that sound in special studios. They create the sounds with Foley Artists in front of a projected picture and may try several different ways to get the right effect. After the studio recording, Foley Editors fit all the Foleys to the images in perfect sync.

Re-recording Mixer
Re-recording Mixers mix a soundtrack for preview sessions. They work at large mixing consoles smoothing out sound and adding a temporary music soundtrack prepared by the Music Editor. After previews, when the film or show has been re-cut, Re-recording Mixers further pre-mix the sound and reduce the number of tracks in preparation for the final mix. In the final mix, the soundtrack is refined in consultation with the director and mixed to industry standards.

ADR Mixer or ADR Dialogue Editor
ADR Mixers review the original sound files of a production to spot technical or performance-related problems and analyze whether they could be replaced by an alternate take. Working on a digital audio workstation (DAW), they use editing software to cut between a number of takes to create crisp clean lines of dialogue. If this isn’t possible they will use additional dialogue recording (ADR). This is where actors come in for a voice recording session, watching themselves on screen and re-voicing as accurately as possible. After the newly recorded ADR has been edited into the original track, ADR Mixers work to make all background or ambient sound smooth.

Descriptive Video Transcriber
Descriptive Video Transcribers are responsible for creating detailed descriptions to be provided in cinemas or as home-viewing additional soundtracks for visually-impaired viewers. They use a specially designed programme that simultaneously displays the film script, actual image, and timecodes to enable them to write their own narration according to precise timing. Once the audio description script is prepared they will spend several days recording and mixing the new specific soundtrack, which will be reviewed by the Distributor.

How do I become a Sound Editor?

Most Sound Editors begin as Production Assistants in post-production or audio post-production houses. They work their way up to Assistant, and Mixer and spend many years perfecting their craft before becoming a Sound Editor. A program in Media or Film studies, concentrating on post-production audio, is useful. Experience using editing software is key, as is working on small projects to build your portfolio.

Make films: Do the sound on student productions. Make a showreel of your work and build your sound portfolio. This is evidence of your practical skills and creativity that you can show collaborators and employers.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Music Editor

What does a Music Editor do?

Music Editors intensify the emotional impact of a film by creating the soundtrack. They contribute mood, atmosphere, and the occasional catchy theme tune.

They usually start work while the film is being edited. They work with the Director to decide on the purpose of the music, find a style to suit the story and mark the points in the film where music is required (spotting). Music Editors then work closely with a Composer, who is usually appointed by the Director, and who composes the music using the temp score as a template. The temp score is also used by the film editors to achieve the right tempo with the cut. Music Editors often act as a bridge between the sound and picture teams.

They attend all recording sessions, helping with any revisions and design a ‘click track’ which is used to help the musicians achieve synchronization with the movie. Working with a specialist music mixer, they create different mixes, lay down the tracks and fit them exactly to the picture, ready for the final mix or dub.

What's a Music Editor good at?
  • Music

    Know the history and construction of music, compose in different styles and genres, improvise, read scores, create themes quickly under the pressure of deadlines

  • Understanding film production

    Appreciate the process and techniques of making films, know how music affects images and adds drama, have a passion for the industry

  • Collaboration

    Listen to the Director, translate the vision into music, be flexible, communicate the vision with the Editor, Composer and other musicians

  • Using software

    Produce electronic scores using technology such as ProTools, use editing and mixing software

  • Networking

    Know people in the music, film and TV industries, build up contacts, understand contracts and copyright clearances, organize, communicate and negotiate

Who does a Music Editor work with?

Within the post-production house, music editors work closely with the supervising sound editor. They also work with the following:

Music Supervisor
Music Supervisors negotiate deals and contracts, prepare budgets, and attend scheduling meetings. They oversee the composing process, ensuring that the required music is being written, listened to, and reported upon. They organize music orchestration and copying. If the music is to be published, they ensure that it’s registered properly.

Composer
Composers write original music. They write themes to pictures and deal with any revisions, collaborating with the editor. Composers prepare the score, usually on midi files, for the orchestrator and copyist. They also prepare the score’s electronic aspects for the recording sessions and deliver the score to the producer, together with all recordable media.

How do I become a Music Editor?

Music Editors are usually graduates in sound technology or music. After graduating, they may work their way up the post-production sound department, starting as runners, training as assistants, and progressing to Dubbing Mixers or Sound Editors.

Here are some more tips:

Get a degree: You might choose one in music, sound technology, or sound engineering.

Start composing and recording: Write your own original compositions. Collaborate with friends making videos and writing the score.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Sound Mixer

Also known as: Production Sound Mixer

What does a Sound Mixer do?

Sound mixers head up the department responsible for all the sound recorded during filming. This is predominantly dialogue but can include sound effects, music, and atmosphere.

Before shooting starts, they meet with the Producer and Director to discuss the best method of capturing sound alongside the Director’s shooting style. They visit locations to check for potential sound problems, like passing trains or road noise.

During filming, Sound Mixers ensure audio from radio and boom microphones are recorded at a good level for every take. If they flag up a problem, the Director decides whether to do another take or correct it in post-production.

A lot of sound on a film or TV drama is added afterward in the edit. Speech is often corrected through ADR (automated dialogue replacement), a way of re-recording in a studio.

Most film sets are challenging environments for Mixers. Costumes rustle. Generators hum and cameras point in places where a microphone needs to be. Sound Mixers solve the problems, often under pressure. They must put all the elements of sound together in a way that not only sounds seamless and natural but also heightens the dramatic tension or emotional impact that the Director wants in each scene. They work on a freelance basis.

What's a Sound Mixer good at?
  • Hearing

    Be able to hear precisely and to concentrate on sound in a distracting environment

  • Understanding sound

    Know how it moves, how we hear, how sound can be manipulated and distorted

  • Knowledge of equipment

    Understand electronics, recording, playback and editing gear

  • Attention to detail

    Be able to listen to and manipulate tiny sounds, keep accurate and precise records

  • Film production

    Know how sound can tell a story, understand the requirements of other departments, including camera, rigging, art, wardrobe and hair and make-up

  • Communication

    Be able to listen to the director, give instructions to other members of the team, persuade other departments of the importance of the needs of the sound department and share decisions made while under pressure

Who does a Sound Mixer work with?

Boom Operator or First Assistant Sound
A boom is an extendable arm on which a microphone can be mounted. They are designed to pick up the sound without appearing in the shot. Boom Operators are responsible for operating booms as well as placing radio or clip microphones to capture the best quality dialogue and sound effects. They must carefully note all planned camera movements and lighting requirements to make sure the microphone is always hidden.

Sound Assistant (second assistant sound, third assistant, utility sound technician, cable person)
Sound Assistants begin work on the first day of shooting and help unload, check and set up sound equipment. They find and stop unwanted noise (including laying carpets) and check batteries for the sound crew. They may help attach clip microphones, negotiate cables on the studio floor, and ensure sound rushes are correctly filed at the end of the day.

How do I become a Sound Mixer?

A good route to becoming a Sound Mixer is to start as Production Assistant and work your way up through the roles outlined above.

Here are some tips:

Get a degree: It’s not necessary to have a degree, but you might want one in sound engineering or music technology.

Educational Requirements: To go to university for a sound-related course, you might want to study courses in math, physics, and music. A program in Media or Film studies, concentrating on post-production audio, is also useful. Experience using editing software is key, as is working on small projects to build your portfolio

Get an internship: Internships are jobs with training, so they’re a great opportunity to earn while you learn. Think about taking that job, learning the core skills of sound and transferring those skills into film and TV drama at a later point. Before taking any internship, check what you’ll be learning with your prospective employer and college, so you can be sure it will be giving you the skills you want.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.