For my 113MC task I have been chosen as the team’s ‘Sound Mixer’. At first I would have preferred to be the Vision Mixer as it has been my previous role in college studio productions as well as being in similar roles in my voluntary work. However, I have grown to appreciate the placement of ‘Sound Mixer’ due to it being similar in ways to the Vision Mixer desk. While the sound mixer is obviously different as it is to do with the production’s audio operation rather than visual operation, it is similar in the way that it involves the precise operation of a gallery-based board; bristling with dials and faders to operate during the live production.
The other reason why I’m pleased to be the Sound Mixer is that it presents the opportunity to learn a new skill, broadening my professional skills for later life. As my previous experience in the media has mostly revolved around visual media and post-production work, I have never had the opportunity to control a sound mixing board, other than viewing a demonstration by the technician who I done voluntary work for at college. The sound mixing desk also gives the opportunity to research the electronics behind line-in levels and ‘gain’. Editing sound during my many years of post-production experience has been very useful, but it just isn’t the same as the opportunity to operate a live sound-mixing board.
While this position is primarily in the gallery, it also involves work in the studio; ensuring that the wireless microphones have sufficiently charged batteries, checking that their wavelength corresponded to their relevant transmitters (which they were not when I first tested them) and connecting the transmitters to the XLR sockets.
I have found the ‘main meter’ which shows the mix output to be invaluable during our team’s production rehearsals, particularly considering that the sound which the gallery staff hears isn’t necessarily the same volume as what is being recorded. This is due to the gallery speakers having their own volume dials on both the sound board and the speakers themselves. Monitoring the main meter’s coloured LED lights is important during the production rehearsals to ensure that the recording volume isn’t too high or low, altering the relevant dials or faders.
As the 113MC module progresses I hope to learn even more about the sound desk, especially during the specialised skills session which may be given. The introduction of working VT-inserts will mean that I’ll be switching between the VT sound and studio sound when appropriate.