CMNS2035 Studio Output Blog 2
During one of our studio sessions, I participated in an Acoustic Musician Recording. For this session, I undertook the role of Sound Operator or Sound Technician. As most of my interests lie within vision mixing and editing, working in the role of Sound Operator was a learning experience for me. Blackwell defines the role of the Sound Operator as follows:
“Sound Operators are responsible for recording and mixing the sound used in television programs. Getting sound is not a simple task. Sound engineers must know how to place microphones, which microphones to use in a given situation, and how to mix sound track so that everything that needs to be audible is… Within a studio, a sound operator will also be responsible for choosing and placing microphones, but may also sit at a large mixing board while shooting goes on. A mixing board allows the technician to allocate each source of sound to a different channel and to mix them all together in an audio feed.” (2010, p.77)
As two people were assigned to sound on the day, I was allocated the task of mixing the sound and making sure the levels were acceptable for recording. In the control room we performed several rehearsals with the performer, during this time I would perform sound checks and set the levels. While our performer was playing the loudest section of his musical piece, I set the gain for the channels so that an acceptable amount of volume was being input into the channel. As his performance varied in speed and volume throughout the piece, I had to keep a careful eye on the levels and had to ensure that at its loudest, they wouldn’t peak into the red zone. While I had to ensure that the volume levels were optimal, part of my task was to ensure that we didn’t lose the aural textures of the guitar. When relating this back to Csikszentmihalyi’s flow theory, I don’t feel that I achieved complete absorption into this role as I had with Director’s assistant. Being a role I was unfamiliar with and an area I don’t feel particularly confident, as I haven’t had to mix sound for several years I felt extremely anxious and was worried I would do something incorrectly. Once I asked the right questions and wrapped my head around the task my confidence began to grow. When I felt I was capturing the sound well, I asked for feedback from the director and the director’s assistant just to ensure that everyone was happy with the results and everyone seemed pleased. I learnt a lot from working in the role of Sound Operator and I think it will help me work better in other roles I adopt as I continue working.
Hackney Blackwell, A (2010) Career Launcher: Television. Retrieved from https://books.google.com.au/books?id=JE-l9H-XdAAC&dq=role+of+sound+operator&source=gbs_navlinks_s