A sound mixer is responsible for recording and combining the voices and sound effects for a film. If you want to become a sound mixer, you must study acoustics and know how to operate movie sound equipment. You can learn these skills in one of many educational programs. After you master the various duties necessary for this job, you will have the freedom to work on many types of movies.
There are no educational requirements to become a sound mixer, but having a focused school background certainly helps. Production sound mixers might have gone to film school, attended audio recording school or earned a degree in acoustics from a technical college. No matter what kind of education you get, you must understand the dynamics of sound, what equipment is used for recording and how to get the best results.
In many places around the world, you must belong to a trade union in order to work on some jobs, such as Hollywood studio projects. Normally, members must have a specific number of professional work hours and must pay regular dues to the union. If you want to become a sound mixer, it would be a wise idea to start working toward getting your hours during school because it also provides excellent practice.
To become a sound mixer, you must know where to place a boom microphone to best capture actors' voices. You also need knowledge of electronics in order to send this sound to a recording device so it can later be synchronized with the film. You also will work with sound effects specialists and must know what equipment to use in order to capture the sounds that give movies a dimension of realism.
One of the most important jobs of a sound mixer, aside from the actual recording, is personnel management. If you want to become a sound mixer for a large production, you will not be doing any of the recording yourself. Instead, you will be heading a team of boom microphone operators, a cable person and an equipment manager, and you must keep them on task.
After you have the experience and skills necessary to work as a sound mixer, you will discover a lot of opportunities. Many mixers are freelance contractors who work for a variety of productions. Others work for a specific studio or production company and are assigned to feature films or documentaries. Another option is to work for a television studio that makes movies.