Boom Operator vs Sound Mixer
One thing I’ve discovered is that some producers aren’t really very familiar without the sound department is organized and what the different functions are. Or even that there is really a sound department and not just a “sound guy.”
For some, the sound department is just that guy with the boom that gets stuck in front of the face of the actor or subject. And for some productions, one guy is all that’s needed. For example, small scale documentary jobs are probably best staffed with one camera operator and one sound technician.
But for larger productions such as a national commercial or a TV program or movie the sound department can get a lot larger as the job of the sound guy becomes more than just recording audio or feeding it to the camera.
Some of the other responsibilities include providing IFB/Comteks so the director and producers can hear audio, maintaining timecode, managing wireless transmitters and hiding microphones on more than two talent, operating a boom for coverage or multiple talents and or with a moving camera and creating a production audio mix for dailies.
When things get more complicated on production it’s time to break up the duties in the sound department. Just like you would in the camera department. A good rule of thumb is if you need more than two people in the camera department you’ll certainly want more than one the sound department.
Nobody likes to wait on the sound department and nobody wants to redo a take because the boom was in the shot or the audio was blown. The cost of adding a boom operator and an audio assistant is negligible compared to the cost of reshooting or constantly waiting on sound.
Just ask your sound department head, your audio mixer, if they feel like their department is