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 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

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels 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 Diploma in Creative Digital Media Production

Entry requirements

You may need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D) for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) for a level 3 course

More information

Apprenticeship

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

  • broadcast production assistant
  • creative venue technician
  • technical theatre, lighting, sound and stage

After finishing your apprenticeship, you could apply for jobs in TV and film.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), 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 can then try to pick up the skills you need from experienced sound technicians.

Volunteering and experience

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, like the National Film and Television School.

More information

Further information

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

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 carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

On a production sound team, your day-to-day duties may include:

  • setting up equipment to suit the acoustics and the sound designer’s instructions
  • selecting and placing fixed microphones
  • operating the boom (a microphone on a pole, used to get close to the sound source)
  • checking sound quality
  • recording sound onto digital devices
  • servicing and repairing equipment
  • playing music or sound effects into a live programme

On a post-production team, your duties may include:

  • following a sound designer or sound supervisor's instructions
  • mixing and balancing speech, effects and background music
  • editing speech to fit the action on screen
  • creating extra sound effects and adding them into the soundtrack

Working environment

You could work at a TV studio or at a film studio.

Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers and travelling often and spending nights away from home.

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

Apprenticeships In England

Creative Venue Technician Apprenticeship

  • Wage : £392.00 Weekly
  • Location: London WC2H 8DP

Apprentice Live Event Technician

  • Wage : £226.00 Weekly
  • Location: Leeds LS11 9RT

Courses In England

Level 3 Music Technology - BTEC National Extended Certificate in Sound Engineering

  • Provider: The Westwood Academy
  • Start date: 02 September 2019
  • Location: Coventry

Sound Engineering Extended Certificate BTEC

  • Provider: The Deanery Church of England High School and Sixth Form College
  • Start date: 03 September 2019
  • Location: WIGAN

JobsIn the United Kingdom

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