Audio Technician Gear?
June 19, 2008 3:32 PM   Subscribe

What is included in a typical sound technician's kit when recording scenes for TV or Movies?

I am looking into all the potential uses of a degree in sound engineering, and was looking at the idea of TV and Movies...I notice the sound guys who hold the boom mic's have the lines run into a belt-pack kind of thing..I'm guessing a mixer and power supply, and then I guess they lead out to the camera?

So my question:
What is included in a typical sound technician's kit when recording scenes for TV or Movies?

posted by AltReality to Technology (8 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Boom mike (boom pole, shock mount, shotgun mic, wind protector), cables, mixer which leads to whatever is recording the audio, often a Nagra, but sometimes something else.
posted by jtron at 4:52 PM on June 19, 2008

I'm not in the sound department, but worked on sets for 15 years and have a good friend who is a mixer. Here's what I know.

On most location-shot films and TV series the sound department consists of a production sound mixer, a boom operator, and often a 2nd assistant. The boom operator works directly on the set and the mixer on the periphery.

In the past, the standard recording equipment was a Nagra, then came DAT, and now mixers on the cutting edge are using computers. The digital files are married with the film in post production.

I don't know what software is used but can check if someone else doesn't come along with the answer.

You might want to look into sound editing as well.
posted by lunaazul at 4:53 PM on June 19, 2008

To follow up my answer above, I just spoke with the expert and need to correct a couple of things.

The equipment used now is a hard drive recording device. Brand names are Diva, Cantar, and Fostex.

The set-up that you described above with a single person sound department, would be used on a documentary or reality TV shoot as opposed to a standard location shot film or TV show.
posted by lunaazul at 5:29 PM on June 19, 2008

I'm not sure if you're interested in doing documentary sound which, as mentioned above, is quite a bit different from working on a scripted TV show or movie with a large crew. For a doc sound recordist, in addition to the equipment mentioned above (boom pole, mixer, cables), you'll probably also need radio transmitters and receivers.

The standard setup is for the sound recordist to have a transmitter attached to their mixer which sends the audio to a receiver attached to the camera. This way the sound gets recorded directly to the tape so there's no need to sync anything later. Most recordists will then also send the audio to a hardwired backup (generally DAT, minidisc or hard drive) in case anything happens to the radios.

You'd probably also want to get one or more lavalier mics that you can attach directly to a subject - these get used a lot. Also a good set of headphones.

In addition to the basic gear, most doc sound guys that I know are constantly picking up more equipment. I guess the idea is to have everything you might possibly need on location.
posted by Awkward Philip at 7:35 PM on June 19, 2008

Sound is almost always recorded separately from the image. They're joined in post-production.
posted by reductiondesign at 9:32 PM on June 19, 2008

I can't believe no-one has said 'some headphones' yet.
posted by Mike1024 at 12:26 AM on June 20, 2008

Typically, some headphones are used.
posted by bz at 12:31 PM on June 20, 2008

This comment is severely misinformed.
posted by jtron at 6:45 PM on June 20, 2008

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