Sound editor

From ArticleWorld

The sound editor is one of the most creative individuals on board the film crew, in charge of selecting and putting together all the sound recordings that comprise the final sound mastering for a television show or a motion picture.


The Vitaphone was the first sound process that radically altered the silent film industry, where a microphone recorded the sound on set on to a phonograph master. Primarily used to capture live musical performances such as vaudeville and one-act scenes where little to no editing was required, the Vitaphone was limiting because of the use of the phonograph master, which prevented the cutting and editing of the sound. As early as the 1930s, studios were experimenting with sound editing with Warner Bros. The Jazz Singer, a black and white movie with music that revolutionized the film industry, a silent film industry, and with one bold move, captured the attention of moviegoers worldwide, swinging the interest of audiences from the dominant French film industry to the innovative and hence exciting, American film scene.

As sound for film evolved, sound began to be captured simultaneously as film shots were being taken. In a sound-on-film process, a microphone will take in sound and capture it, transforming it into a signal that is then photographed on to film. This process being linear, always for simple cuts and additions and thereby, changes in sequences, allowing for more creativity and choice. In the 1950s, these optical methods were replaced by magnetic recordings which minimized sound distortion. This led to a period of great innovation and also the standardization of musical terms.

Sounds are recorded on to tracks. Each track will contain only one kind of sound or group such as dialogue or instrumental music. Tracks are mixed together in predubbing to create a final dub. Previously with optical tracks, it was difficult to record more than eight tracks at a time, while in recent times, you can record more than two hundred tracks.

The 1990s brought along digital sound innovation where the sound recording, editing, and mastering could all be achieved at a computer workstation, thereby eliminating many costs, minimizing errors and waste, as well as allowing for quick and easy access, changes and storage.

Equipment consists primarily of a digital audio workstation (DAW) with the two main choices of the American film industry being Digidesign Pro Tools running on Apple computers and the Steinberg Nuendo for Windows XP.