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TV or film sound technician

Alternative titles for this job include Production mixer, audio recordist

Sound technicians are responsible for recording the voices and background noise on TV and film shoots.

Average salary (a year)

£16,000 Starter

to

£35,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

39 to 41 variable

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays away from home

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become a TV or film sound technician

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • volunteering
  • applying directly
  • specialist training courses

University

You could do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in:

  • sound engineering
  • music technology
  • media technology
  • electrical or electronic engineering

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

More Information

College

You could take a college course to develop your knowledge and skills before looking for a job. Courses include:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Music Technology
  • Level 3 Extended Certificate in Sound Engineering
  • Level 3 Extended Diploma in Creative Digital Media Production
  • T Level in Media, Broadcast and Production

Entry requirements

You may need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths for a T level

More Information

Apprenticeship

You could get into this job through an advanced apprenticeship that covers sound engineering skills. Apprenticeships include:

  • creative venue technician
  • broadcast and media systems technical operator

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More Information

Work

It's possible to start out as a roadie, loading and unloading sound equipment, and setting it up. You may then be able to learn some of the skills you need from experienced sound technicians.

Volunteering

You could look for work experience placements with larger broadcasters like the BBC, ITV and Channel 4.

You could also get experience by:

  • working on student or community film or radio projects
  • setting up or 'rigging' sound equipment for amateur theatre or local bands
  • helping out in a recording studio

These are good ways to make contacts, learn new skills and to hear about job opportunities.

Direct Application

You could apply directly for jobs but employers will expect you to have a lot of knowledge and experience in sound technology and equipment, and the science of sound.

Other Routes

You could complete a training course with a specialist course provider.

More Information

Further information

You can get more advice about careers and training in sound for TV and film from ScreenSkills and the BBC.

You can find out more about creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • persistence and determination
  • customer service skills
  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

On a production sound team, you could:

  • set up equipment to suit the acoustics and the sound designer’s instructions
  • select and place fixed microphones
  • operate the boom (a microphone on a pole, used to get close to the sound source)
  • check sound quality
  • record sound onto digital devices
  • service and repair equipment
  • play music or sound effects into a live programme

On a post-production team, you may:

  • 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

Working environment

You could work at a TV studio, at a film studio or on a film set.

Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers and you may spend nights away from home.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

You could progress from working for a small, regional company or station to working for a large, national one. You could also move into studio management.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Creative Venue Technician Apprentice (Stage Department)

  • Wage: £392.00 Weekly
  • Location: London

Backstage Technical Apprentice

  • Wage: £146.25 Weekly
  • Location: Wolverhampton

Courses In England

Sound Engineering L3 BTEC

  • Provider: HITCHIN BOYS' SCHOOL
  • Start date: 01 September 2022
  • Location: Hitchin

Sound Engineering L3 BTEC

  • Provider: THE PRIORY SCHOOL
  • Start date: 01 September 2022
  • Location: HITCHIN

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