What is a Sound Engineer?

Last updated: 1 year ago
What is a Sound Engineer?

If you’ve always longed to work in the entertainment industry but prefer a more behind-the-scenes role as compared to actors, singers, and movie directors, you may want to investigate sound engineering as a potential career path.

Not only are sound engineers responsible for accurately and artistically placing music, dialogue, and sound effects in many of your favorite television shows and movies, they have the opportunity to work in a variety of roles on a wide range of interesting and one-of-a-kind film and video projects.

Other sound engineers can work to manage the sound of live theater productions or even installation art.

Read on to learn more about some of the job roles of a sound engineer to help you decide whether this is the right career for you.

Most sound engineers’ duties can be split into two categories — production and post-production. On large projects, there may be multiple sound engineers, each handling a small piece of the puzzle on the production or post-production end, while those on smaller productions may handle everything from scoring to mixing and final editing.

Recording engineer

It’s difficult to generate a polished and high-quality final product if the recordings with which you’re working are substandard — for this reason, having a recording engineer on site is crucial to obtaining good audio.

The recording engineer will work with his or her assistants to set up the recording equipment and perform audio tests to ensure that the acoustics are appropriate before filming begins.

The engineer will then carefully monitor the recordings that are generated and instruct the director to re-shoot anything that seems “”off”” before filming breaks for the day.

Sound mixers

If you’ve ever watched a movie where you find yourself frequently adjusting the volume to compensate for the sound differences between quiet dialogue and loud action scenes, you understand the crucial role a competent sound mixer can play in post-production.

A mixer is responsible for lining up dialogue and sound effects with the visual product and adjusting volume at various points to ensure a positive viewer experience.

Re-recording mixers

Even with the most capable recording engineers on site, it can sometimes be necessary to re-record certain audio to ensure continuity in the final product.

A good re-recording mixer can often save significant time and money by avoiding the expense of re-shooting entire scenes, instead allowing the actors or singers to record dialogue in-studio and then mixing it with the existing tracks.

Foley artist

A Foley artist works primarily in post-production, with a focus on the mixing process — but unlike the mixing engineer, who primarily works to combine tracks and sounds that have already been recorded, a Foley artist creates original sounds for use in the final product.

Foley mixers have been responsible for some of the most iconic sound effects in film history, from the Star Wars light sabers (made with the hum of a television set) to the shower scene in Hitchcock’s Psycho (which required the brutal stabbing of dozens of melons).

Popular articles

  • What is an Underwater Camera?

    An underwater camera is basically a camera that can be used to capture images and videos under water. It can be used for shoots as one is swimming, snorkeling, or with a remotely operated underwater vehicle. Some of these cameras are even automated and can be easily lowered from ...
    Read more
  • What is a Film Director?

    What is a director? Also called a film director or video director, the director is the person who controls the overall artistic and dramatic feel of a presentation – whether it is a five minute infomercial or a feature film. They instruct and guide both the technical crew and ...
    Read more
  • What is a Video Editor?

    A video editor is the person who makes production and/or post-production changes to a film. The video editor works closely with the director to achieve the best final film outcome, with the goal of telling the story in the most effective and compelling way. Work heavily involves ...
    Read more
  • How to rent a 360 Camera?

    The term “360 camera” seems straightforward, referring to a camera that films and photographs from every angle. In fact, there is a wide variation in what such cameras can do, and you must be aware of this before renting. Some cameras have an effective viewing angle of only ...
    Read more
  • What is a Camera Operator?

    Camera operators work in the television, music and film industry and are usually employed by television and cable companies or by video production houses. They are responsible for capturing different scenes during production and operating a wide variety of technical ...
    Read more
  • What is a 360 Camera?

    A 360 camera, also known as an omnidirectional camera, has a 360-degree field of view so that it captures just about everything around the sphere. 360 cameras are needed when large visual fields need to be covered, such as shooting panoramas. As virtual and augmented reality (A ...
    Read more
  • What is a Visual Effects Editor?

    A visual effects editor, also known as VFX editor, is the person who is overseeing, and responsible for all the visual effects in a production. The VFX editor must have excellent communication skills, as the job requires the VFX editor to communicate effectively between VFX staf ...
    Read more
  • How to become a Camera Operator?

    A camera operator for video is the person who literally shoots the video or the still photographs during the planning stage. A Freelance Camera Operator is someone who a director hires to handle either a single camera or to manage a team of camera operators. This is a supporting ...
    Read more
  • What is a Script Writer?

    If you’ve ever watched a movie or television show and cringed at the clunky dialogue or poor plot development, thinking to yourself “I could do better than that,” script writing or screenwriting may be a viable career path. This primarily freelance role can provide you wit ...
    Read more
  • What is a 3D Graphics Artist?

    A three-dimensional (3D) graphics artist designs digital animation or footage that is used for characters, landscapes, backgrounds and other elements in film, television or video game production. The still or moving creations have the appearance of depth in addition to height an ...
    Read more
  • What is a Director of Photography?

    A Director of Photography (DOP) also known as Cinematographer is a creative leader during a video production. It’s a position full of responsibility, and the Director of Photography must have camera skills, lighting knowledge and the ability to work with the entire camera crew ...
    Read more
  • What is an On-screen Talent?

    The film industry is filled with hundreds of interesting and rewarding career paths, but none is as sought after or as idolized as that of the on-screen talent. Known as “actors,” these positions can make or break any production, as even the most well written script will be ...
    Read more
  • What is a Stunt Coordinator?

    Just about every dangerous or unbelievable act of skill you see on television or in the theaters has been coordinated and sometimes even performed by a stunt coordinator. Every good production requires a stunt coordinator to pull off the extraordinary scenes seen in television o ...
    Read more
  • How to become a Pro TikTok Creator?

    A Pro TikTok Creator produces short-form video content that is to be published on TikTok. They would typically be involved from the pre-production to post-production process, should there be required edits and additional animations to make.  Pro TikTok Creators should id ...
    Read more
  • What is a Slow Motion Camera?

    Slow motion refers to an effect that is common in the film-making industry where motion pictures appear to be moving slower than normal. Previously, the effect had only been applied more in films, commercials and television. But with major advancements in phone technology, one c ...
    Read more
  • How to become a Voice Over Talent?

    Becoming a freelance voice over talent is a popular career option for many in the entertainment business — and for good reason. Voice over artists enjoy relative anonymity — a big perk for those with day jobs — and a huge amount of flexibility. It’s also quick work with l ...
    Read more
  • What is a Producer?

    Film producers are the people who keep the film’s quality up while ensuring that its production is on time and stays within budget. Producers can manage hundreds of individuals in any one production, in addition to dealing with the film studio and distributors. The producer’ ...
    Read more
  • What is a Costume Designer?

    A costume designer is someone who designs costumes and wardrobe items for use in film, stage productions and television. The main role of the costume designer is to create the styling for each of the film’s characters and balance each of the actor’s appearance in a specific s ...
    Read more
  • What is a Green Screen?

    A green screen is a green background that video production teams use to place visual effects later during the post-production phase. The technology of using a green screen (or Chroma key) has been around since the 19th century. Entertainment and Hollywood have become legendary fo ...
    Read more
  • How to become a Director of Photography?

    A film director of photography (DoP) is the person who provides a film with its unique visual identity, feel and look. They help to tell the story of the film by making artistic and technical decisions regarding lighting, shot selection, camera operations, film stock, and other ...
    Read more