Location Sound Mixer Rates

Researching location sound mixer rates and hiring a location sound mixer can feel like an expensive task until you consider how much it costs when you don’t hire one. Having to fix problems with poor location audio can be a lot more expensive than hiring a competent professional with professional (not prosumer) gear to show up on set a record excellent audio.

Well, this begs the question, why are sound mixers so expensive? The answer is we’re not when you just look at the labor cost and compare to the camera department. In fact, as the head of the audio department, we’re usually cheaper on scale than the head of the camera department and on par with other department heads. The reason invoices from location sound professionals tend to be higher than other leads is in the cost of the equipment we bring to set. Other department heads, besides occasional owner operator gaffers, do not bring nearly as much gear to set.

Look into a location sound mixers equipment package and it becomes pretty clear that there’s a lot of time and money sunk in gear costs. Producers expect location sound recordists to bring lots of gear to set. This includes boom mics, 6 to even 12 channels of wireless, IFBs, slates, cables, adapters, timecode boxes, sound blankets, Comteks, plant mics, mixers, recorders, and various problem solvers should (when) a problem occur. Mixers are always updating their equipment to meet the increasing demands on set for more and more channels.

Production sound mixer rates depend on the gear used on set. Here we see sound equipment on a live production

So what are common rates? For union jobs just visit your Local for the latest rates and for non-union expect to pay between 750 to 950 for 10 hours and feel free to negotiate equipment cost based what’s needed and wether it’s a day a week or a month production. Most mixers have a cost for a narrative package weekly and a documentary/corporate package on a daily basis.

If you have any specific questions on rates like “what does it cost for you to bring a digital slate?” Feel free to reach out on the contact page.

Posted on: April 1, 2019, by :