TV or film sound technician

production mixer audio recordist sound recordist
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Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would record, mix and check the voices and background noise on a TV or film shoot in a studio or on location.

You could specialise in one of the following:

  • Production sound – recording sound on set or location
  • Post-production – putting the final soundtrack together in an editing studio

On a production sound team you could work as a:

  • Sound recordist
  • Boom operator
  • Sound assistant

Depending on your job role, you might:

  • Set up equipment to suit the acoustics and the sound designer’s instructions
  • Select and place fixed microphones
  • Position the moving microphones around the performers for the best sound
  • Check sound quality
  • Record sound onto digital devices
  • Look after equipment
  • Play music or sound effects into a live programme

In post-production, you could work as a:

  • Re-recording (dubbing) mixer
  • Dialogue editor/mixer
  • Foley (sound effects) artist
  • Foley editor

Depending on your job role, you might:

  • Follow a sound designer or sound supervisor's instructions
  • Mix and balance speech, effects and background music
  • Edit speech to fit the action on screen
  • Create extra sound effects and add them into the soundtrack

You would need to follow health and safety rules when dealing with equipment. 

Working conditions

Hours

You would often work long and irregular hours, including early mornings or late nights, according to the demands of the production. You may also need to be flexible and work at short notice.

Environment

For production sound recording, you could work anywhere from studios to outside locations in all weather conditions. Post-production sound editing takes place in soundproofed studios and editing suites.

Travel

Location work could be anywhere in the UK or overseas.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Working as part of a team
  • Working with your hands
  • Using computers
  • Time management
  • Paying attention to detail

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on Apprenticeships.scot.

Qualifications

Although there are no set entry qualifications required to enter this job, some applicants have gained a qualification in a relevant field prior to looking for work. 

You can enter some Sound Production National Certificate or National Qualification courses (SCQF 2-6) with no formal qualifications but most courses ask for National 4/5 qualifications (SCQF level 4/5).

You can enter Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma courses (SCQF level 8) with National 4/5 qualifications and one to two Highers or equivalent qualifications.

To enter a degree (SCQF level 9/10) in areas like sound production, music technology or audio engineering usually requires National 5 qualifications and a minimum of three Highers or a relevant HNC/HND.

To enter a postgraduate course (SCQF level 11) you will usually require an honours degree in a relevant subject. 

Employers highly value experience and it will improve your chances of finding work if you have a good knowledge of sound technology and equipment, and an understanding of the science of sound.

Useful subjects

Many courses require:

  • English
  • Maths
  • Music
  • Physics
  • Technologies based subjects such as engineering science

Helpful to have

Large broadcasters such as the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 offer work experience placements, insight and talent days. Schemes may be competitive and have eligibility and application criteria.