What does a sound trainee do?
Sound trainees charge batteries, distribute headphones and look after cables and kit as well as the rest of the team. They work under the supervision of the sound mixer and sound assistants.
Sound trainees help unload the sound van, check that all the equipment is prepared and move the sound trolley, kit boxes and boom equipment when required by the sound mixer. A more experienced trainee might, under close instruction of an assistant, help with the attaching of radio mics or use the boom microphone to record background sounds.
They are often asked to be responsible for making sure the rest of the crew is keeping quiet at the necessary moments. They also take messages to other departments. They might go offset to talk to costume about where to hide a microphone, for example.
At the end of each shooting day, they help pack up, make sure the rushes are correctly labelled and that all the paperwork is handed over to the production office. Sound trainees make the tea and order extra supplies of whatever is needed.
What’s a sound trainee good at?
- Hearing: be able to hear precisely, concentrate on listening to sound in a distracting environment
- Sound and equipment: know how sound moves, understand electronics, microphones, recording, playback and editing gear
- Watching film and TV drama: have a passion for the genre and a love of the industry
- Learning by watching and asking: be able to observe what’s happening and ask questions at the appropriate moments
- Reliability: get to set on time
- Communication: be able to follow instructions from the sound mixer and listen to and share information with other departments and members of the team such as costume and make up