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Sound assistants provide all-round support to the sound department, including sound mixers, boom operators and re-recording mixers working on any type of production, be it in film or in television. Their job is vital in making sure that the sound is clear and stylistically correct.
Using an often vast array of technology, sound assistants will be called on to set up, operate, position and fix the sound equipment. Sound assistants need to be vigilant and must be able to take complex instructions from other members of a sound department. Recording the best sound possible can be quite a challenge, especially as sound assistants could be working outside, on location, as well as in a studio atmosphere.
In both film and television scenarios, sound assistants will be required to set up and position microphones in and around the set. Microphones can be attached to the actors’or presenters’ clothing, sometimes needing to remain hidden, so sound assistants will need to know how to do this correctly. They may also need to help the boom operator with moving cables for optimum movement or in the interests of health and safety.
A sound assistant’s job can vary greatly from day to day, with a lot of running around doing errands or fixing a problem quickly during filming. Sound assistants can also be required to work in production and post-production, where the job roles can differ.
High levels of technical and sound recording skill are required of sound assistants, as well as an ability to work long hours for low pay, in order to gain the relevant experience needed to progress up the ranks in the sound department.