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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.

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Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.