The Production Sound Mixer controls recording levels, equalization settings, track assignments, media formatting and oversees the creative and technical operation of the Production Sound Crew while bringing the Director’s story to life. Being the department head, the mixer has the responsibility of interacting with the producers, editors and other department heads on the production to achieve the goals of the director and deliver the highest quality of the spoken word from the actors. The job of the Production Sound Department is separate from Post Production Sound in that it is concentrated in the area of live filming while the cameras are rolling, and actors are performing.
The Microphone Boom Operator is responsible for the critical task of microphone placement. The Boom Operator uses the “boom pole” or “fish pole” with a microphone mounted on the end. These can extend upwards of 15’ to swing over the camera, lights and actors on set. When space permits, the “Fisher Boom”, is used. This is a special piece of equipment that gives the Boom Operator a more precise control over the orientation of the microphone, and a greater range of movement. When circumstances limit the use of either of the booms, wireless microphones are used, mounted to the actor’s body or clothing.
The Utility Sound Technician provides a variety of much-needed assist skills to the Production Sound Mixer and the Microphone Boom Operator, including the operation of an additional boom pole when needed, assisting during the placement of microphone “plants” (which are hidden microphones that are strategically placed on the set in order to capture dialogue from the actors,) placing radio microphones on actors while hiding the radio transmitters under their wardrobe, additional occasional recording, additional playback, assisting with on-set wireless communications, providing other departments with listening devices, keeping inventory, ordering necessary additional equipment, quieting noisy props, footsteps, crickets and other tasks that help the Production Sound Crew work quickly and avoid delays in production.
Courtesy of Peggy Names.