Hiring Production Sound Crew

When considering hiring production sound crew for your next feature film, scripted television production or reality TV show, there are many aspects that are important to guarantee that your project enters into post production with suitable and usable dialogue.

Production Sound

Production Sound Mixer

The first objective is to consider where you should be hiring your production sound crew from. The best method of hiring your production sound crew is to request referrals from other industry professionals that have hired that particular crew member before. This ensures that you’re not only getting someone who can do the job, but also someone that can get along with the rest of the crew.

Sound Editor | Sound Supervisor

The next consideration in hiring your production sound crew is to get referrals for post production sound supervisors and sound editors. When a sound editor works on dialog that has been recorded properly and represents the best production sound possible given the restrictions of the location, the sound editor truly knows what condition the dialogue came to them in and what it took to fix any of the production sound issues that may have happened on set.

Type of Project

Another important consideration is what type of project you have, versus what type of production sound crew you are hiring. Example: You might have hired a legendary production sound mixer that has worked on feature films for most of his/her career but you’re on a fast moving reality TV show.  Your show requires that the production sound crew member must carry the recorder over his shoulder and run over hills with the contestants. This might be difficult for some particular production sound crew members that have become accustomed to a different format. (This was only meant to be used as an example.  I am sure there are many production sound crew members that are up to the task of running hills).

Director Headphones & Equipment

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Once you hire your production sound mixer it is imperative for the director to carry a set of wireless headphones with him or her. Being that sound is every bit as important as picture, the director should check the sound as often as she checks the picture. Although many production sound crew members do carry wireless headphone set ups, many do not, check to see if your crew member has that in his list of equipment he is bringing to set.  If he does not carry such a device, then you can arrange to rent a set from one of the local production sound rental companies such as Absolute Rentals in Burbank, California.

Follow-Through Attitude

If you have the opportunity to hire a production sound mixer that also works as a post production sound editor, sound supervisor, post sound re-recording mixer that’s great. Alternatively, hire a production sound mixer that has a close relationship with post and follows the project through post, then the quality of what you can expect from your production sound is greatly enhanced.

Capture the Room Impulse Response

There have been a number of tools introduced to post production sound over the last few years that greatly increases the efficiency and quality of the post production sound process. One such tool is called Altiverb.  With the idea that you will be utilizing Altiverb as part of your post production sound process, your production sound mixer can playback 10 second sine sweeps (included) from a CD on a boombox at a film set, record the sweep with microphones. Then when you get to post, your re-recording mixer can feed the recordings to the IR Pre Processor Application, and you have a sample of the room for use in ADR and foley. Recording a sample this way happens at unoffending levels, so it is no problem if the crew is present. You can capture acoustics this way in a matter of seconds.