In this post we’ll talk about working in Sound, focusing on Sound for Live Events.
Sound Roles for Events
The roles of crew at an event really depends on the type of event, how big it is and the requirements from the client.
Typically a live Sound engineer controls the sound for Theatre performances, Festivals, Music Concerts etc – but, they also work with conferences, speech events and talks.
As a Sound Engineer, its’ our role to operate microphones, amplifiers, balance levels, provide walk-in music, effects and ‘in-house’ background music, set up speakers, test and be on hand when issue arises to promptly solve it.
Typical Day Duties for a Live Sound Engineer
Again, depending on the size of the event & the requirements, the duties for the day differ – although all run along the same principles.
- Rig suitable microphones & equipment for the event.
EG. PA & Lapel Mic/Handheld mic for a small conference OR
PA System, Fold-back, House speaker rack, range of different condenser/dynamic microphones etc for a concert/music event
- Discuss the Sound needs with the Designer, Director or client.
- Complete sound checks before a performance – check, check and check again!
- Operate Sound Desk during live performance.
- Troubleshoot issues and repair equipment.
- Set Up & Pack-down equipment
- Work alongside lighting cues – set up midi controllers to control lighting & sound in-sync.
Working Day: The Hours
The hours of your role depends on the job. A small speech event could last a couple of hours and you’ll be needed for 2/3 hours before & after to set up and pack down (as-well as run during the event).
However a larger event could require you for much longer be it 14-15 hour days and even day after day work for rigging, and de-rigging.
The hours you work as a Sound Engineer can be very long, irregular and get tiring – you’ll need to be flexible about the hours you can work and the time of day you are able to work.
Theatre shows & concerts are nearly always evening based, but you’ll also be required for Sound checks, repairs and rehearsals.
Our role as a Sound Engineer is mostly busy before or after a performance or event. During the event you’ll spend a lot of time sitting at a control desk or fitting microphones side of stage.
For information on current rates & what you should expect to be paid as a competent Sound Engineer, please visit the BECTU site
For further reading on working in Live Sound – visit this helpful guide (TheProAudioFiles)