Music Industry Career Profile: Sound DesignerPosted on August 22nd, 2013 by Lee Jarvis in Career Profile
Image by Vancouver Film School on Flickr (Creative Commons License)
A Sound Designer will create a range of background noises and sound effects for a film, TV or video project to sit alongside the words spoken by actors and music written by a Composer, to all be layered together for the final mix.
Sound Designer Job Description
The job of a Sound Designer begins way before the actual studio time. The role of designing sound to support a visual message is an important one, and often includes both lifelike noises and abstract sounds in order to enhance the drama or on-screen feeling. Therefore, it is important to read the script and have a good idea of the concept of the production by meeting with the Director. Some sound layers may require being on location at the shoot, and you may have to setup and operate equipment, consulting with any Technical Directors, Lighting Technicians, or Stage Managers. Next comes the actual sculpting, editing of sound layers and effects. Original sounds will be recorded and synced to the video/TV/film piece, and you may have to liaise with Composers to gather musical pieces, ready to layer into the master mix-down.
What Skills are Required for a Sound Designer Job?
Creating sounds and music requires knowledge and experience of a wide variety of recording equipment and techniques, so employers will expect you to be comfortable and capable in any studio environment. Along with technical skills, a Sound Designer must have good listening and communicating skills in order to create/support the feelings and moods that the Director is looking to achieve. Lastly, attention to detail is vital, as you will be adjusting and re-adjusting audio signals and levels to the correct balance.
What Work Experience or Qualifications are Required for a Sound Designer Job?
Whilst a formal education is not required for a job as a Sound Designer, a music technology or engineering educational background will go a long way to prove that you have honed the necessary technical skills. You could demonstrate your knowledge of sound engineering via relevant experience if you already have a foot in the door of the industry.
Other Considerations for a Sound Designer Job Applicant
-Working Conditions and Benefits: Like many music jobs, most Sound Designers will work freelance for a variety of clients, often with long breaks or other music jobs in between projects. Working hours can be long and unsocial, as you can be a vital part of a film meeting its deadline, and so the pressure can build at times.
-Career Development: One way to progress into a Sound Design position is to start as a Sound Engineer, either in a supporting role to a Sound Designer, or at a slightly different role at a studio. You can also begin with roles for a Sound Technician in a concert venue, nightclub, production house, or other places that would help you build experience in the music industry..