The job of a location sound mixer.

Depending on who you ask, the job of a location sound mixer has many different definitions.

You ask a young mixer and they might say their job is a technical one understanding gain structure, audio engineering principals, microphones and lav micing techniques.

You ask the DP and she may likely feel the job of the mixer is to stay out of their way and keep the boom out of the shot no matter how loosely they frame the shot.

Ask the editor and it’s a decent mix track for the rough edit.

The AD probably thinks it’s to wire the talent in less than a minute and help him keep the production on schedule.

But for the experienced mixer, they know have to keep the whole production happy enough that they will be helpful enabling them to record great audio. This means the job of the mixer is really two-fold. It’s a very technical job that is made much easier by being good with people.

Some examples would be:

Keeping the AD happy so they make a little time for your assistant wire a difficult costume.

Communicating well with the DP and making compromises that help them so they’ll work with you on boom placement on a problematic setup. Maybe listen when you suggest they shoot a plate so your boom op can break frame on a static shot.

Having the ear of Location Manager so they will work with you for solutions on a loud location.

Providing the director creative ideas on how to capture the best audio when she wants to add an extra camera or actor to a scene.

And most importantly, having an open dialog with the PM and line producer so they’re aware of any issues and feel like their concerns on being dealt with. After all, they’re the ones who hired you brought you on set in the first place.

These are just some of the things a location sound mixer must keep in mind when doing their job. It’s not enough to sit in the back and provide technically good files for post. To provide the best sound for the production a sound mixer must be able to work with the whole team to make the production better.

Posted on: December 2, 2019, by :