Sound Operator (Live)

The sound operator mixes the livestream, controlling the volume of a number of vocal and/or ambient microphones as well as the playback of any sound effects.

Description:

As much as some people won’t like to admit it, sound is probably the most important part of the broadcast in almost every genre of live TV. While subtitles and graphics are great assets for getting information across, the simple fact is that most of the essential content an average audience will take in during a TV show will be heard and not seen. Luckily, while sound is an important job that can (on big shows) be very complex, in its simplest form it can be very easy and accessible to start out with; giving you plenty of scope to learn, improve and challenge yourself. Sound is also one of the best technical disciplines for learning to diagnose and fix tech problems on a set - all the equipment/cabling is relatively hands on, so it’s fairly easy to trace sound from source to destination and everywhere in-between.

Clarity and consistency are the main aims of the mix, the most important part of your job is making sure the audience can follow what’s going on. This means throughout the broadcast keeping both overall and individual source volumes level so everything presenters say can be heard, as well as adjusting microphones before/during the show so speech is intelligible. The people speaking will often change frequently throughout the stream so it’s important to pay attention especially during transitions in segments. That said, there is still usually enough downtime to relax and have a drink from time to time.

Responsibilities:

Before the show

  • Connect all audio gear together

  • Check microphone connection (is it working) and volume

  • Equalise and compress microphones to taste to create the clearest sound possible

  • Make sure any computers/sound effects/videos are playing at the right level

  • Send a main mix into the video switcher

  • Set up any submixes needed for cast/crew members or the venue

  • Gather any sound files needed from people/internet sources

  • Queue up any sound cues into playback software

During the show

  • Mix the live output of the show

  • Play sound effects