Production Sound Mixer – The Importance of a Sound Mixer on Film Sets
It’s pretty common for people to think of television and film productions are mainly visual mediums, but there is one aspect that will make or break movies and television series that people often overlook. This calls for a significant amount of behind the scenes effort in order to provide audiences with the best sensory experience. This aspect is sound. A key role in the production of any feature film or television series is the production sound mixer, they are the ones who make great sound possible.
In any film or TV show, the dialog is one of the workhorses of the narrative. Sound, music, and other audio Foley add interest and color to the scene but the dialogue plays a big role in the story. Dialogue is our main means of knowing the name of the characters and the relationships they have with one another, their background stories, and the challenges the characters face. The dialogue is where we learn a lot about the story and it is also where the story develops.
You could argue that dialogue is one of the most crucial elements of a movie or show. Although it can be boring and uninteresting, a movie without sound effects or music is still playable. But if you remove the dialogue, you will most likely be puzzled and confused by the end of the movie. Although films and shows can do well without dialogue and make use of other forms of storytelling, this is very difficult to accomplish and only a few have successfully pulled it off but even those have some splices of dialogue in between. In summary, Dialogue is here to stay.
This simply states the importance of a production sound mixer in order to perfectly produce good sound and high-quality audio to allow the film to be it’s very best through the use of sound.
So what is a production sound mixer?
The production sound mixer, or the location sound mixer, is the head, senior-most sound position during the film or television show’s production and pre-production. They are the ones who record the sound during filming and are the ones who are responsible for the recording and the balancing of the audio effects on the set.
Their job starts in pre-production. After they are hired for a job, the sound mixer will choose and provide what audio equipment will be used for the project. They will visit filming locations ahead of shooting to be able to assess any sound problems such as interference from background noise such as heavy traffic noise or high winds. They will also be the ones who will look for people to work on their team. And during the production of the project, they will record the sound for the film such as the dialogue, the ambient sounds or the wild sound, which are sounds recorded from places to be used as location sound to be added in by the post-production team. They will also mix the audio real-time and will then evaluate the quality of the audio they record after every take.