What Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians Do
Broadcast and sound engineering technicians operate equipment in schools and office buildings.
Broadcast and sound engineering technicians set up, operate, and maintain the electrical equipment for radio and television broadcasts, concerts, sound recordings, and movies and in office and school buildings.
Broadcast and sound engineering technicians typically do the following:
- Operate, monitor, and adjust audio and video equipment to regulate the volume and ensure quality in radio and television broadcasts, concerts, and other performances
- Set up and tear down equipment for events and live performances
- Record speech, music, and other sounds on recording equipment or computers, sometimes using complex software
- Synchronize sounds and dialogue with action taking place on television or in movie productions
- Convert video and audio records to digital formats for editing on computers
- Install audio, video, and sometimes lighting equipment in hotels, offices, and schools
- Report and repair complex equipment problems
- Keep records of recordings and equipment used
These workers may be called broadcast or sound engineering technicians, operators, or engineers. At smaller radio and television stations, broadcast and sound technicians may do many jobs. At larger stations, they are likely to do more specialized work, although their job assignments may vary day to day. They set up and operate audio and video equipment, and the kind of equipment they use may depend on the particular type of technician or industry.
Duties of broadcast and sound engineering technicians vary by specific focus, but they share many of the same responsibilities.
Audio and video equipment technicians set up and operate audio and video equipment. They also connect wires and cables and set up and operate sound and mixing boards and related electronic equipment.
Audio and video equipment technicians work with microphones, speakers, video screens, projectors, video monitors, and recording equipment. The equipment they operate is used for meetings, concerts, sports events, conventions, and news conferences. They also operate equipment at conferences and at presentations for businesses and universities.
Audio and video equipment technicians may also set up and operate custom lighting systems. They frequently work directly with clients and must provide solutions to problems in a simple, clear manner.
Broadcast technicians set up, operate, and maintain equipment that regulates the signal strength, clarity, and ranges of sounds and colors for radio or television broadcasts. They operate transmitters to broadcast radio or television programs and use computer programs to edit audio and video recordings.
Sound engineering technicians operate computers and equipment that record, synchronize, mix, or reproduce music, voices, or sound effects in recording studios, sporting arenas, theater productions, or movie and video productions. They record audio performances or events and may combine tracks that were recorded separately to create a multilayered final product. Sound engineering technicians operate transmitters to broadcast radio or television programs and use computers to program the equipment and edit audio recordings.
(Information on foley artists, a type of sound engineering technician, can be accessed from the Occupational Outlook Quarterly.)
The following are examples of types of broadcast and sound engineering technicians:
Recording engineers operate and maintain video and sound recording equipment. These engineers work with computers, computer networks, and software to produce special effects for radio, television, or movies.
Sound mixers, or rerecording mixers, produce soundtracks for movies or television programs. After filming or recording is complete, these workers often dub the final product by adding or removing sounds.
Field technicians set up and operate portable equipment outside the studio—for example, for television news coverage. Because this coverage requires so much electronic equipment and the technology is changing so rapidly, many technicians are assigned exclusively to news coverage teams.
Chief engineers, transmission engineers, and broadcast field supervisors oversee other technicians and maintain broadcasting equipment.