Sound Editor: Job Description, Duties, Salary and Outlook
A sound editor is responsible for choosing, editing, and producing the sounds in television and films. If you have a passion for sound effects, noise, and editing, you may want to explore a career in sound editing.
Why Become A Sound Editor
Sound editors can set the perfect tone for a film or television series; the right music, dialogue, or sound effects can have an impact on an audience. Sound editors work within the film or television industry, choosing and producing music, dialogues, and sound effects for productions. Sound editors manipulate and edit background sound and dialogue to enhance or create the overall tone for a film or television show. Sound editors work closely with directors during production and post-production to choose sound effects, manipulate dialogue, and re-shot sounds.
Sound editors may be given dailies, or material sound shots for each day, to analyze the overall tone, special effects, and technical issues they may have to edit during the editing process. Sound editors will edit sounds together, add music, or special sound effects, while creating cuts of the film or show. Preliminary versions, often called cuts, will be analyzed and critiqued by the director, actors, and financers of the production. Once approved, the meticulous work of a sound editor will be available for audiences to view.
Qualities & Skills For A Sound Editor
If you are seeking employment within the field of sound editing, it is imperative that you possess the following qualities and skills in order to obtain a sound editor position.
- Communication Skills As a sound editor, it will be imperative that you have strong communication skills, as you will be working closely with various members of the production team, including the director.
- Creativity Sound editors utilize their creativity to digitally edit and manipulate audio or sound bites, while imagining the final outcome for an audience and director.
- Detail Oriented – As a sound editor, you will need to be incredibly meticulous when editing a television series or film. It is your responsibility to analyze every, single second of audio to determine what should be kept or scrapped.
- Computer Skills Sound editors utilize computers and digital editing software on a daily basis, therefore, it is imperative that you understand and know how to use sophisticated, digital, audio or sound editing software.
- Strong Manual Dexterity As a sound editor, you will need exemplary hand-eye coordination and steady hands to set up audio and sound recording or editing equipment. They must have steady hands to adjust tiny dials, sliders, and knobs throughout the recording or editing of a film or television series.
Sound Editor Work Environment
Sound editors may work on movie or television sets, with a strong focus on the post-production of a film or series. Sound editors typically work long hours in offices as well, editing hours of film footage. The assignments of a sound editor can vary; it can take several weeks to several months to finish the editing of a film or television series. Sound editors typically work very long, sporadic hours throughout the post-production of films and television series.
Sound Editor Salary
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, sound editors fall within the category of sound engineers. In 2012, the Occupational Employment and Wages Report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor recorded the mean annual wage of a sound engineers was $46,310. The median annual wage of a sound engineer is dependent upon area of industry, location, experience and education.
Sound Editor Career Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, sound editors fall within the category of sound engineers. The career outlook for a sound engineer appears to be somewhat promising. From 2012 to 2022, the overall employment of sound engineers is expected to grow 9%.
Sound Editor Degree
If you wish to pursue a career in sound editing, you will need to obtain a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Audio Production or Sound Design. If you choose to obtain a Bachelor’s degree within the aforementioned fields, you may be able to minor in Sound Editing. Your coursework may include recording, cutting, editing, mixing, and creating sound.
Additionally, music theory, music composition, editing digital recordings, re-mastering audio recordings, and marketing music may be a part of your coursework. A graduate degree may include coursework such as sound editing theories, sound design theories, production techniques, audio cues, and computer-drafting techniques.