How To Hire A Location Sound Mixer

Hiring a location sound recordist might feel like buying a pig in a poke to those not familiar with the sound department. I find most producers and PMs know only a little bit about the equipment and processes happening in the audio department where they’re much more technically knowledgeable about the camera department. This doesn’t hurt our feelings though, we know nothing about what they do in hair and makeup much less art!

Because we’re a bit of a mysterious department, the guys who hold poles in the air and stare at meters. We’ve provided a few steps you can use if you want to make sure you’re getting the right guy for the video job you’ve got coming up whether it’s a feature film or news feature. Here are the tips for hiring a sound mixer:

How to hire a sound guy or gal

  1. Understand we’re not all the same

    Everyone in the audio department is not cut from the same cloth. Many of us work in only one area and are extremely good at that one niche. An example would be a features mixer who only works from a cart and with a sound team. Others work lots of different types of jobs and are comfortable working in lots of different environments but maybe don’t have experience with large features. And then are some that only work with news crews. Personally, I’ve worked TV, features, commercials, Network news but very little reality.

  2. Find out what they’ve worked on

    Sound mixers generally don’t have reels per se since our work is finished by the dialog editor and post sound mixer. Our production mixes are placed in the dialog tracks and put in a video and then altered in the post-mix. A mixer should be able to point you in the direction of projects they’ve worked on even if it’s a recommendation to fire up Netflix.

  3. Discuss the job

    Give them a full scope of what you want them to do. If it’s a film, give them the script so they can break it down and understand what they need to do for each scene. Provide them your expectations including what gear you expect for them to have on the job including Comteks or IFB, timecode, and the number of wireless lavaliers you expect for talent. If you don’t know all the details, maybe put them in touch with the director and whoever is doing the post on your project.

  4. Nail down a rate

    Work out the rate you’ll be paying for labor and gear. In the US it’s in the neighborhood of 700 – 900 a day plus gear fees for an experienced location sound mixer. Be sure to discuss the contingencies if the shoot goes long or there is more gear required than originally agreed upon.

  5. Put it in writing

    Create a deal memo in which you stipulate the rate for both labor and gear, the terms in which you plan to pay and expectations for deliverables plus any legal stuff about ownership or work product.

  6. Signature and call sheet

    Get your deal memo signed and issue the call sheet and times as soon as possible. We’ve received call sheet in the middle of the night whilst we’re sleeping and that’s just not really fun for anyone.

Since you made it this far down the page, maybe you’re looking to hire a location sound mixer. Well, you’re on the right website. Just reach out to us right here and we’ll get back to you ASAP. Even if we’re not in your market we sound people are well connected and may know just the person to call that’s closer to home.

Posted on: January 10, 2020, by :