There are many jobs and different roles within the sound field in film and TV industry (and some of them apply to other media productions such as advertising and digital contents). Each job has its skill set necessary to apply for it and trying to succeed; it is important then to identify what are these particular requirements. The website creativeskillset.org is a very helpful platform that guides aspiring and professionals through a better understanding of each role.

We will break it down in three parts, let’s find out if this is the right fit!
(do not miss part 1 or part 2)

Music editor (film)

The lowdown:

      • Helping Directors achieve their musical ambitions 
      • Providing the link between the film and the Composer
      • Making sure all elements of the music soundtrack work together

Is this role right for me?

      • Have an expert knowledge of how music is constructed, recorded and performed
      • Understand how music can affect images and create drama
      • Have a working knowledge of computer editing software

What does a Music editor do?

Music Editors are responsible for all the music featured on film soundtracks. This includes performed music eg a band or singer who performs within the film, any bought-in music, and the film Composer’s score. Music Editors are responsible for how the music is portrayed in the film. They work closely with the picture Editor to get the right mix of image and movement.
They attend a “Spotting Session” with the Director, Picture Editor, Music Supervisor, Producer and Composer. They note all music cues. This gives the Composer a written template used to produce the score. It also gives the Music Supervisor essential notes regarding copyright clearances and budgetary issues.
Music Editors attend all music recording sessions, to help with any last-minute revisions or changes which may require additions or subtractions from the “click-track”.
They work with a specialist mixer to create different mixes of all the music tracks. They have to look out for potential problems like a loud cymbal crash occurring at the same time as a line of dialogue. Using a computer software programme, Music Editors lay down all the music tracks, fitting them exactly to the picture, ready for the Final Mix or dub. They have to attend this session to find quick, creative solutions to any last-minute problems.

Photo credit: geckoandfly.com

Sound supervisor (TV)

The lowdown:

      • Overseeing the work of all sound personnel on multi-camera productions
      • Identifying the sound requirements for each production
      • Specifying crewing levels and equipment for the capture of the best possible quality of recorded sound

Is this role right for me?

      • Have in-depth, hands-on experience of all aspects of the capture, recording, mixing and amplification of sound
      • Have a deep knowledge of, and sympathy with sound requirements and what can be achieved for productions in studio or on location
      • Be able to balance the creative requirements of the Director with the technical capabilities of the available equipment

What does a Sound supervisor do?

Sound Supervisors oversee the work of all sound personnel on multi-camera productions, which may include Grams (Gramophone) Operators, Sound Technicians, Boom Operators, and Technical Assistants. They are usually studio-based or work on Outside Broadcasts (OBs), contributing to multi-camera light entertainment, current affairs or drama productions and all multi-camera programming.
During pre-production, Sound Supervisors liaise closely with Directors and other senior production and technical personnel. They attend planning meetings to ascertain the sound requirements for each production, specifying crewing levels and equipment for the capture of optimum quality of recorded sound. They also plan post production and dubbing for each production.
During live programmes, they are responsible for mixing sound sources for immediate transmission. They monitor outputs, adjust levels and quality (for example by equalisation – adding and subtracting various frequencies), cue effects or music, and troubleshoot where necessary. On studio or location drama productions, Sound Supervisors oversee the work of Boom Operators and Technical Assistants.

Photo credit: sportsvideo.org

Supervising sound editor (film)

The lowdown:

      • Managing all post production sound requirements
      • Working with the Director on the film soundtrack

Is this role right for me?

      • Have excellent knowledge of acoustics, sound recording processes and electronics
      • Have a methodical, organised approach to work
      • Have excellent communication skills and be able to manage and motivate a team

What does a Supervising sound editor do?

The Supervising Sound Editors’ role varies according to the budget and scale of each film. On low to medium budget films they start work when the picture Editor has achieved picture lock (the Director and/or Executive Producer have given final approval of the picture edit) . They have a hands-on role, often cutting dialogue, ADR, Foleys and special effects. On big budget films, they usually start work before shooting begins. They appoint specialist Sound Editors to supervise separate teams for each area of work. They are responsible for the sound budget, organising the work flow and making plans for any special requirements.
After picture lock, Supervising Sound Editors attend a “Spotting Session” with the Director and other Sound Editors. This is when they discuss any concepts for the overall feel of the sound (naturalistic or stylised), and check every sound effect and line of dialogue to see what ADR or Foleys may be needed. After audience previews, the Producer(s) and financiers usually require films to be re-cut. The Supervising Sound Editor will oversee several more mixes before the Pre-Mix of the film, where all sound inconsistencies are smoothed out. They need to make sure the Final Mix runs smoothly, working closely with the Re-Recording Mixer.
Supervising Sound Editors may also work as Sound Designers on the same film. They can be employed by Audio Post Production Facilities Houses, or work on a freelance basis.

Photo credit: strose.edu
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Daniele Prina

Daniele Prina

Executive Editor at sounDesign
Daniele Prina is a sound designer and music producer from Turin, Italy. He graduated with a B.A. in Creative Music Technology at Canterbury Christ Church University in Broadstairs (UK). He is the owner and sound supervisor at Allume Film, a production company specialised in video-making and motion graphics. He is very enthusiastic about sound, new technologies and hip-hop/electronic music. Very addicted to football.
Daniele Prina