A production sound mixer, location sound recordist, location sound engineer, or simply sound mixer is the member of a film crew or television crew responsible for recording all sound recording on set during the filmmaking or television production using professional audio equipment, for later inclusion in the finished product, or for reference to be used by the sound designer, sound effects editors, or foley artists (aka foley dancers). This requires choice and deployment of microphones, choice of recording media, and mixing of audio signals in real time.
Usually, the recordist will arrive on location with his/her own equipment, which normally includes microphones, radio systems, booms, mixing desk, audio storage, headphones, cables, tools, and a paper or computer sound logs. The recordist may be asked to capture a wide variety of wild sound on location, and must also consider the format of the finished product (mono, stereo or multi channels). The recorded production sound track is later combined with other elements, i.e. effects, music, narration, foley or re-recorded dialog by automatic dialogue replacement (ADR).
Often, when taping on video, the sound recordist may record (single system) audio directly onto the camera rather than use a separate medium (double system), although a separate copy is often made, as it both provides an extra copy which may have more tracks and also may include other sound captured without the camera.
The sound mixer is considered a department head, and is thus completely responsible for all aspects of production sound including the hiring of a boom operator and utility sound technician, planning the technical setup involving sound including both sound equipment and ancillary devices involved in syncing and time offsets, anticipating and discussing sound-related problems with the rest of the crew, and ordering and preparing the sound equipment to be used on the set.
A film crew is a group of people, hired by a production company, for the purpose of producing a film or motion picture. The crew is distinguished from the cast as the cast are understood to be the actors who appear in front of the camera or provide voices for characters in the film. The crew is also separate from the producers as the producers are the ones who own a portion of either the film studio or the film's intellectual property rights. A film crew is divided into different departments, each of which specializes in a specific aspect of the production. Film crew positions have evolved over the years, spurred by technological change, but many traditional jobs date from the early 20th century and are common across jurisdictions and filmmaking cultures.
A sound effect is an artificially created or enhanced sound, or sound process used to emphasize artistic or other content of films, television shows, live performance, animation, video games, music, or other media. These are normally created with foley. In motion picture and television production, a sound effect is a sound recorded and presented to make a specific storytelling or creative point without the use of dialogue or music. The term often refers to a process applied to a recording, without necessarily referring to the recording itself. In professional motion picture and television production, dialogue, music, and sound effects recordings are treated as separate elements. Dialogue and music recordings are never referred to as sound effects, even though the processes applied to such as reverberation or flanging effects, often are called "sound effects".
Audio mixing is the process by which multiple sounds are combined into one or more channels. In the process, a source's volume level, frequency content, dynamics, and panoramic position are manipulated or enhanced. This practical, aesthetic, or otherwise creative treatment is done in order to produce a finished version that is appealing to listeners.
Nagra is a brand of portable audio recorders produced from 1951 in Switzerland. Beginning in 1997 a range of high-end equipment aimed at the audiophile community was introduced, and Nagra expanded the company’s product lines into a new marketplace.
A sound editor is a creative professional responsible for selecting and assembling sound recordings in preparation for the final sound mixing or mastering of a television program, motion picture, video game, or any production involving recorded or synthetic sound. Sound editing developed out of the need to fix the incomplete, undramatic, or technically inferior sound recordings of early talkies, and over the decades has become a respected filmmaking craft, with sound editors implementing the aesthetic goals of motion picture sound design.
A boom operator is an assistant of the production sound mixer. The principal responsibility of the boom operator is microphone placement, usually using a boom pole with a microphone attached to the end, their aim being to hold the microphone as close to the actors or action as possible without allowing the microphone or boom pole to enter the camera's frame.
Sound design is the art and practice of creating sound tracks for a variety of needs. It involves specifying, acquiring or creating auditory elements using audio production techniques and tools. It is employed in a variety of disciplines including filmmaking, television production, video game development, theatre, sound recording and reproduction, live performance, sound art, post-production, radio and musical instrument development. Sound design commonly involves performing and editing of previously composed or recorded audio, such as sound effects and dialogue for the purposes of the medium, but it can also involve creating sounds from scratch through synthesizers. A sound designer is one who practices sound design.
Filmmaking is the process of making a film, generally in the sense of films intended for extensive theatrical exhibition. Filmmaking involves a number of discrete stages including an initial story, idea, or commission, through screenwriting, casting, shooting, sound recording and pre-production, editing, and screening the finished product before an audience that may result in a film release and an exhibition. Filmmaking takes place in many places around the world in a range of economic, social, and political contexts, and using a variety of technologies and cinematic techniques.
Electronic field production (EFP) is a television industry term referring to a video production which takes place in the field, outside of a formal television studio, in a practical location or special venue. Zettl defines EFP as using "both ENG and studio techniques. From ENG it borrows its mobility and flexiblity; from the studio it borrows its production care and quality control. EFP takes place on location and has to adapt to the location conditions... Good lighting and audio are always difficult to achieve in EFP, regardless of whether you are outdoors or indoors. Compared to ENG, in which you simply respond to a situation, EFP needs careful planning."
Television crew positions are derived from those of film crew, but with several differences.
MOS is a standard filmmaking jargon abbreviation used in production reports to indicate an associated film segment has no synchronous audio track. It stands for "motor only sync" or "motor only shot". Additionally, the term has been understood to stand for "mit ohne sound". The origin of the latter is traced to early cameramen. They were typically German with a background in fine machinery and lenses. “Mit“ is “with” in German, "ohne" means "less" or "without"; saying "mit ohne" is poor grammar, but understood to be tongue-in-cheek.
Audio post production is all stages of audio production relating to sound produced and synchronized with moving picture. It involves sound design, sound effects, Foley, ADR, sound editing, audio mixing, etc.
Foley is the reproduction of everyday sound effects that are added to films, videos, and other media in post-production to enhance audio quality. These reproduced sounds, named after sound-effects artist Jack Foley, can be anything from the swishing of clothing and footsteps to squeaky doors and breaking glass. Foley sounds are used to enhance the auditory experience of the movie. Foley can also be used to cover up unwanted sounds captured on the set of a movie during filming, such as overflying airplanes or passing traffic.
A re-recording mixer in North America, also known as a dubbing mixer in Europe, is a post-production audio engineer who mixes recorded dialogue, sound effects and music to create the final version of a soundtrack for a feature film, television program, or television advertisement. The final mix must achieve a desired sonic balance between its various elements, and must match the director's or sound designer's original vision for the project. For material intended for broadcast, the final mix must also comply with all applicable laws governing sound mixing.
Articles related to the field of motion pictures include:
A television production truck or OB van is a small mobile production control room to allow filming of events and video production at locations outside a regular television studio. They are used for remote broadcasts, outside broadcasting (OB), and electronic field production (EFP). Some require a crew of as many as 30 people, with additional trucks for additional equipment as well as a satellite truck, which transmits video back to the studio by sending it up through a communications satellite using a satellite dish, which then transmits it back down to the studio. Alternatively, some production trucks include a satellite transmitter and satellite dish for this purpose in a single truck body to save space, time and cost.
A mixing engineer is responsible for combining ("mixing") different sonic elements of an auditory piece into a complete rendition, whether in music, film, or any other content of auditory nature. The finished piece, recorded or live, must achieve a good balance of properties, such as volume, pan positioning, and other effects, while resolving any arising frequency conflicts from various sound sources. These sound sources can comprise the different musical instruments or vocals in a band or orchestra, dialogue or foley in a film, and more.
Dan Dugan is an American audio engineer, inventor, and nature sounds recordist. He was the first person in regional theatre to be called a sound designer, and he developed the first effective automatic microphone mixer: the automixer. Dugan's sound design work was acknowledged in 2003 with a Distinguished Career Award by the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, and in 2020 with an Emmy Award for technology relevant to remote working.
Producing Great Sound for Film and Video: Expert Tips from Preproduction to Final Mix is a non-fiction book and filmmaking handbook. The book is also used as a university textbook. It covers the process of acquiring professional quality sound for motion picture productions.
A professional audio store is a retail business that sells, and in many cases rents, sound reinforcement system equipment and PA system components used in music concerts, live shows, dance parties and speaking events. This equipment typically includes microphones, power amplifiers, electronic effects units, speaker enclosures, monitor speakers, subwoofers and audio consoles (mixers). Some professional audio stores also sell sound recording equipment, DJ equipment, lighting equipment used in nightclubs and concerts and video equipment used in events, such as video projectors and screens. Some professional audio stores rent "backline" equipment used in rock and pop shows, such as stage pianos and bass amplifiers. While professional audio stores typically focus on selling new merchandise, some stores also sell used equipment, which is often the equipment that the company has previously rented out for shows and events.
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