What does the sound guarantee do?
The sound guarantee makes sure all the sound equipment in a studio, or on an outside broadcast truck, works. If any equipment fails during rehearsal, it can mean precious time is lost. If it fails on air, it can mean a programme is ruined. But get it right – and the broadcast sounds and roars of concerts, dance finals and world news go out crystal clear to every set of speakers tuned in.
The sound guarantee’s main focus is the sound desk, cable runs and microphones. Sound guarantees set these up and ensure they are working correctly at all times. But they have a lot of other areas to cover as well, including the talkback system. Talkback is the way all the members of the production team communicate using headsets and microphones. The sound guarantee will make sure everyone can hear one another. All the different areas need a talkback feed suited to their own needs – the camera crew needs to hear the director, the sound team needs to hear the sound supervisor, and the edit producer needs to hear the producer. Setting this up can take a lot of time.
The sound guarantee has to be very familiar with the equipment being used. Some sound guarantees are freelancers, but quite often they are employed by a studio or outside broadcast company so they can be across the equipment and know it back to front.
What’s a sound guarantee good at?
- Understanding sound: have a love of audio, acoustics and the technology used in translating what is heard into an electronic signal that can be listened to and monitoredAudio engineering: have a good
- knowledge of electronics, be able to set up and operate digital audio consoles, have an in-depth understanding of multi-media hardware, audio mixing and broadcast technology system
- Problem solving: come up with solutions to technical problems. This is particularly important on an outside broadcast in a remote location where it is live.
- Staying calm under pressure: be able to think clearly and logically when several problems arise at the same time and decisions you make could mean audio is lost
- Communication: make sure all sound and talkback channels are active and functioning by liaising between departments; work well with the sound supervisor, crews and gallery team, be able to respond to their audio needs and explain the technical situation to them