Before starting out, students often think about the different spheres in which they can add value, with the skill sets they have acquired through the course. Though I believe in being open to everything and not having any preconceived notions, I do think that having a basic game plan will help you choose your career path in the future. Therefore, this is an important question to ask yourself before you start the course, as it will help you concentrate on particular subjects based on your final goal.
I have enlisted the various career opportunities in Sound Engineering below:
The Job of a music producer is varied and involves a number of small tasks. These tasks can be anything from co-writing, directing performances, figuring out arrangements, finding the sound of the musician etc.
Simply put, the job of a music producer is to connect the music and the emotion that the artist is trying to create for the audience in the best way possible. Sometimes the job of a producer might also involve small tasks like figuring out which studio to record at or to budget the recording expenses.
Live Sound Reinforcement
The Job of a live sound reinforcement engineer is to apply your audio engineering principles to make a live performance sound its absolute best. This job entails a lot of small tasks like setting up the PA, tuning the speakers, keeping the input list and setup ready for the performing artist, mixing their sounds through a mixing board and most importantly troubleshooting.
As odd as it may sound a live sound engineers job is to quickly resolve any problems that the artist might face in a live performance environment (trust me, they don’t end) and make sure that the show goes on without any hitch.
Film Sound Mixing Engineer
The job of a film mix engineer is to mix all the different elements that a sound designer lays down in the film like the ambience, foley sounds, dialogue, the background music and the sound effects.
The art in this field is to design a coherent storyline using these various sounds and bring out the emotion that needs to be conveyed.
A recording engineer essentially works with a producer to find out and create a sound for an artist. This usually involves small tasks like figuring out the kind of microphone and signal chain to use to develop a specific sound. The recording engineer also navigates through all the equipment and the console in the recording studio to get the artist the best possible recording.
The job of a mix engineer is to build on the idea that the recording engineer has put the sounds together and layer them on top of each other and combine these individual elements in such a way that it enhances the emotion of the music.
To make sure that you have a good sounding record you need to set the levels and the tone of the instruments so that all the important elements and sounds from the music storytelling/emotion are highlighted.
A mastering engineer’s job entails taking a mix and adding a finalizer and fix any errors in the mixing stage before it goes out to the audience.
This usually entails tasks like setting the loudness and dynamic range of the stereo track. Setting the overall tonality of the track so that it sounds as consistent as it can when on other listening devices.
Audio Systems Engineer
A good ASE will understand many interrelated entertainment industry technologies, and how to utilize them together. The objective is fairly straightforward: To provide the person mixing sound with the tools needed to excel at that craft. To accomplish this, there must be an audio system appropriate for the application, optimized for performance, installed properly and safely, and delivering the desired outcome.
Acousticians are experts who understand how sound operates in a closed listening environment. Their job usually entails designing the structure of a room, finding the right speakers that will work with the room and creating a balance between the reflections and absorptions in the room so that sound can be heard in its ‘Purest’ form. This job involves a very in-depth understanding of Physics and mathematics. Usually an acoustician designs spaces like Theaters, home listening environments, live venues, studios and even office spaces.
Sound Designers are audio engineers who manipulate the sound using the technique of synthesis to create specific sounds that a project might require.
For example creating a sound of a spaceship using synthesis and manipulation of already existing sounds.
This is a complex job that involves a lot of creative and technical knowledge to be able to create sounds that may either be used for films or games and sometimes even music.
Location Sound Engineer
The job of a Location sound engineer is to essentially capture the sound of the performers on a film set. This involves not only recording the dialogues on the set but also recording the ambiences the sound made by the performers so that a realistic feeling can be re-created later during the post production stage.
A location sound engineer needs to have a good understanding of how films are made and needs to have a knack to be able to place microphones so that they aren’t intrusive in the frame of the video but capture the sound without any external disturbances at the same time.