If I had $10 for every time someone has asked me “How do I get started as a sound recordist in film/tv?” I probably wouldn’t need to work again. But then life might be a little less interesting. So I will try and provide some sort of answer to this question for all those amongst us that want to progress into a career in film and television.

There are many paths that will take you on this journey and no one clear destination. There are many roles for sound enthusiasts within the film and television world – all of them requiring a similar base set of skills and capabilities but with a different focus.

Live Content

Live content production describes the production of live-to-air, or live-record broadcast content. It can either be studio-based or location-based (outside-broadcast). Examples of live-television might be:

  • Sports game coverage (combination Studio and Outside Broadcast)
  • News (Studio or Live-Cross)
  • Chat-shows,
  • Sports analysis shows,
  • Studio Drama with live audience (less common today)
  • Variety shows
  • Music and Comedy performances
  • etc.

Post-Produced Content

Narrative

Narrative covers documentary and drama content which is either Short-form, Feature-Length or Episodic in production-style. All forms of narrative can either be created using studio-based or location-based techniques. Episodic drama is more likely to rely on studio-based production due to the cost-savings involved where fast-paced production requirements are involved.

Reality

Reality television is a newer genre of narrative content which has grown in popularity for reasons I cannot adequately answer myself. It basically covers a newer style of ‘observational’ or ‘cinema-verit√©’ documentary where groups of people are intensely watched, regularly interviewed and massively manipulated for the purpose of generating good ratings. Examples of this are “Big Brother”, “The Block”, “Master-Chef”.

Corporate

Corporate content covers unbranded audio/visual content for use specifically internally within corporate organisations for communications and training.

Branded Content

Branded content covers advertising and promotional content such as commercials, ‘TVC’s, ‘infomercials’ etc.