Sound Recordist for video production

What does a Sound Recordist do?

A sound recordist is one of the most important members of a film crew. They handle all things audio for your video.

What is a Sound Recordist?

A sound recordist is responsible for recording all the audio for a video. Their job is to choose what equipment will work best for the shoot, make sure everything is set up and working correctly during production, and to monitor the audio recording throughout the shoot. Depending on the size of the crew this could be done by one person, or they may have others working with them. Other crew members might be a sound mixer, sound engineer, or boom operator.

Sound studio

Microphone types

There are three main types of film microphones. The shotgun microphone is by far the most common. This directional microphone is ideal in most situations. It is versatile and when positioned correctly, won’t pick up much background noise. A shotgun mic can be attached to a camera, on a boom pool or on a stand. An alternative to this type of microphone is the lapel mic. This microphone is omnidirectional and is attached to the talent’s clothing. This is ideal for when the subject needs the freedom to move around on camera without compromising the audio quality. The last microphone is the dynamic microphone which is ideal for loud environments like live performances.

Have a look at this article for more information on the different types of microphones.

Studio 

There are a few things to think about when working in a studio. For the most part audio recording will be fairly simple. In a studio environment you have control over your environment. You don’t have to worry about a plane flying overhead, street noise, or someone mowing the lawn. But it is still important to check out the studio before filming. Listen carefully for any electrical noise. Does any of the equipment give off a humming noise? Is there an air conditioning system that makes noise that the microphone will pick up? Also spend some time thinking about the best microphone to use and how you will use it. Do you need a mic stand or a boom operator? All of these things need to be taken into consideration before your shoot.

Film Studio

On-Location 

For a sound recordist working on-location, preparation is key. Don’t just think about the area that will appear on screen, think about the surrounding area. Is there freeway noise? Is there a school nearby? Are you close to an airport? Think about all the different things that could impact the audio quality. The type of microphone you choose for on-location work will be vital. Shotgun mics are usually the best choice as they are versatile and won’t pick up too much background noise.

Tips & Tricks 

  • Prepare – research your location before the shoot
  • Record atmosphere noise – get everyone to be quiet on set and record 2 minutes of atmos noise to help with editing later on
  • Not too close, but not too far – make sure you are positioning the microphone in the correct spot to get the best recording
  • If you notice a problem while filming, fix it there and then – don’t leave a problem and think you’ll be able to fix it later

Sound board

Next Steps

A sound recordist is a valuable member of your crew. Keep reading for information about Hair & Makeup.