Sound Mixer Job Description

Written by melissa hopkins
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Sound Mixer Job Description
Sound mixers have a wide range of employment opportunities. (sound board image by free_mind from Fotolia.com)

Sound mixers, also known as sound engineers or sound technicians, have access to a wide variety of sound mixing jobs, making your job prospects excellent. Sound mixers can be involved in recording soundtracks, mixing sound effects into pre-recorded soundtracks, managing sound boards for theatre productions and radio shows or even engineering sound for live musical performances.

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Production Sound Mixers

Production sound mixers are responsible for getting the best real-time recording of the live action as possible. This includes adjusting sound to pick up low volume dialogue while integrating higher volume sounds. Production sound mixers work with microphone operators and directors to create a high quality live track for the post-production editorial process.

Re-Recording Mixer

The re-recording mixer, or dubbing mixer, integrates all of the sound elements to create a complete soundtrack. The sound elements the re-recording mixer works with include dialogue, the musical score, special effects sounds and atmospheric sounds, like police sirens or storm noises. A dubbing mixer will focus on introducing these sounds into the soundtrack at the correct times and appropriate volumes.

Foley Artist

Foley artists create and record sound effects to be inserted into the soundtrack at appropriate intervals. For example, if the film requires the sound of an explosion, or a galloping horse, the Foley artist will synthesise these sound effects either via digital manipulation or by recording actual sounds. The Foley artist then digitally manipulates and edits the sound to fit into the sound recording. Productions large enough for a sound team may have separate positions for the Foley artist and Foley editor.

Live Musical Performances

Sound mixers working at concerts and other live musical performances will have numerous duties involved with ensuring sound quality throughout the show. Sound mixers will assess the acoustics at the venue site and set up the sound board for maximum effectiveness in that environment. Professional sound mixers travelling with performers will design sound board settings for the acoustics at each venue. Sound mixers run the sound board throughout the performance to keep instrumental sounds from overwhelming vocal sounds and ensure overall sound quality.

Additional Job Prospects

In a media-intensive environment, sound mixers have many additional possibilities for professional sound jobs. Some of the additional jobs requiring an experienced sound technician are live theatre performances, stadium sporting events and radio productions. Sound mixers will operate sound boards to make sure vocals are audible, to cue musical interludes and to ensure overall sound quality for the event or production.

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