The sound design/operator’s task is often one of the hardest, as it can deal with a great deal of unpredictability! If a show uses microphones of any sort during a performance, the response to the listener can vary drastically between an empty auditorium (as during a set-up) and even a half-full theatre.
For this reason, a good sound operator is worth his/her weight in gold!
A sound designer/operator should:
- Be able to work safely at heights, from extension ladders, A-frame ladders and scaffold tower.
- Be conversant with the correct hanging methods permissable for microphones/speakers.
- Be able to operate with confidence the house sound desk and amplifier/effects rack.
- Know how to cable and fit microphones on stage and patch back to the control room and desk.
- Be conversant with the different types of microphone and their appropriate use for vocal or instrumental situations.
- Be able to properly fit and balance individual radio mics to performers and advise them of the correct positioning for maximum effect. *
- Know how to calculate speaker loading and ratings of amplifiers etc to avoid over-driving and damage to the system.
What the Sound Designer will need from you
To allow the planning and set-up of the sound system in preparation for your show, the sound guys will need the following:
- A full script in advance if appropriate, or a detailed running order of items/songs/dance numbers.
- Quality copies of all music to be used for musical/variety/dance shows.
These should be either on a CD or MD that you have prepared, or the original recordings on CD if possible so that they may be transferred to CD or MD for the show. We can also now cater for music and effects supplied as common computer (PC) audio files such as MP3 or WAV, and where necessary on iPods (though the latter is discouraged for live performance work).
NOTE that all media provided should be a clean balanced recording and CDs in particular should be free from marks and scratches.
- Details of any changes to any musical tracks including cuts, additions etc.
- Information on any sound effects that need to be sourced.
- A statement of what microphones will be needed for use (radio or cabled).
- If multiple radio mics are to be used, a mic plot showing ALL characters that will need micing at various times.
- If a band is to form part of the show, how many musicians are involved and exactly what instruments will be brought in?