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TV or film sound technician

Sound technicians are responsible for recording the voices and background noise on TV and film shoots.

Annual Salary

£16,000 to £35,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours

Variable

4%
Future employment

There will be 4% more TV or film sound technician jobs in 2023.
In your local area

What's it all about?

You could specialise in:

  • production sound – recording sound on set or location
  • post-production – putting the final soundtrack together in an editing studio

On a production sound team, your day-to-day duties may include:

  • setting up equipment to suit the acoustics and the sound designer’s instructions
  • selecting and placing fixed microphones
  • operating the boom (a microphone on a pole, used to get close to the sound source)
  • checking sound quality
  • recording sound onto digital devices
  • servicing and repairing equipment
  • playing music or sound effects into a live programme

On a post-production team, your duties may include:

  • following a sound designer or sound supervisor's instructions
  • mixing and balancing speech, effects and background music
  • editing speech to fit the action on screen
  • creating extra sound effects and adding them into the soundtrack

There are no set requirements, but it will help if you have experience. A good knowledge of sound technology and equipment will also be helpful.

You could gain experience by:

  • working on student or community film or radio projects
  • setting up ('rigging') sound equipment for amateur theatre or local bands
  • working for a sound equipment manufacturer or hire company
  • assisting in a recording or editing studio

A college course in a subject like music technology, sound engineering or media production could also develop your knowledge and skills.

You could also do a course run by a private provider, like the National Film and Television School Sound Diploma, which is offered in partnership with the BBC.



Large broadcasters such as the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 offer work experience placements.



You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

£16,000 to £35,000

Starter salary: £16,000 to £19,000

Experienced salary: £20,000 to £28,000

If you’re freelance, you could negotiate fees based on the type of production and your own track record. The Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU) has information on current pay guidelines. 

These figures are a guide.

Variable

You’ll often work long and irregular hours, including early mornings or late nights, according to the demands of the production. You may also need to be flexible and work at short notice.

For production sound recording, you could work anywhere from studios to outside locations, in all weather conditions. Location work could be anywhere in the UK or overseas. 



Post-production sound editing takes place in soundproofed studios and editing suites.

You could progress from working for a small, regional company or station to working for a large, national one. You could also move into studio management.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You’ll need:

  • excellent hearing
  • excellent practical skills
  • a high level of attention to detail
  • the ability to cope with long hours and tight deadlines
My top 5 skills from the skills bank
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