Sound Engineering: Imagine consuming media content without sound – watching your favourite movies without background scores (no la-la-la-la-la in romcoms and no goosebump-inducing scores in horror movies), playing games without sound effects (Minecraft without the soothing build track and clicks, RPG shooter games without the buzz of gunfire, Candy Crush without the sweet track), and not having sound on IGTV or TikTok, not to mention not being able to listen to your favourite music artists.
Sound engineering is essentially the process of capturing, recording, editing, manipulating, mixing, reproducing and delivering the desired type of sound using a variety of equipment. Sound engineers are trained in the production and manipulation of sound through mechanical (analogue) and digital means – they are responsible for recording and mixing voices, sounds and background scores, along with post-production for video and film, as well as audio effects for several forms of multimedia like video, music, films as well as live performances.
Sound engineers have diverse and exciting work profiles – collaborations with several creative professionals and artists (such as composers, music producers, film directors, editors, radio jockeys, musicians, theatre (stage drama) technicians, as well as game designers and programmers for background scores). Given the amount of digital content in the multimedia form that we consume today, there exists a lucrative market not only for creators but also for people who help creators polish and refine their content to make it marketable to their fan base(s). Sound engineering is one of the jobs that come under this description and hence is lucrative, especially when you have an interest in the technical aspect of mixing and working with sound.
The important skills you should ideally have for this job include:
- The physics behind sound – pitches, frequencies, etc.
- Knowledge of sound-mixing
- Familiarity with new technology and digital media
- Being able to adapt to changes in technology and techniques
- An ear for music and high-quality audio
It is important to note that it is a demanding job – several assignments require you to travel with the touring artists or crews that you work with (though this will obviously be under reconsideration given the pandemic and its far-reaching impacts), working long and odd hours in studios, making several corrections and redoing pieces and recordings till every note and sound is perfect, in addition to the rigours of a regular job. However, given that you truly have a passion for this, it has the potential to be a satisfying as well as a job that can support your lifestyle and build your career.
Job roles and placements in this industry encompass a variety of roles related to sound editing and mixing, with pay packages increasing as per seniority and amount of time spent at an organisation. Alternatively, should you choose to be a freelancer, there are several assignments you can take on a pay-per-assignment basis, with the remuneration increasing as per your experience and skills.
The sound industry across the world is thriving due to growth in content and is continuously giving rise to new opportunities for qualified professionals across a wide range of avenues. Therefore, it is a great time to obtain a qualification in this field and learn the specific skills you need to follow your passion.
Sound engineering is generally offered as a diploma or vocational course at polytechnics. Notable Courses in India include:
- Film and Television Institute of India (Pune) – Three Year PG Diploma Course In Sound Recording & Sound Design –
Prerequisites are a Bachelors Degree in any discipline with Physics as a credit course. One must write an entrance test followed by an orientation and interview. This diploma comprises instruction over three years (divided into six semesters).
- Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute (Kolkata) – Post Graduate Programme in Sound Recording and Design –
This programme is a full-time 3-year postgraduate course.
- Biju Patnaik Film Institute of Odisha (Cuttack) – Diploma In Engineering And Technology – TV & Sound Engineering
- National Institute Of Film & Fine Arts (Kolkata) – Certificate in Sound Recording and Editing – 6-month software-based certification.
- SeamEdu School of Pro-Expressionism –
- Diploma in Sound Engineering (Pune, Bengaluru) –
Anyone who has passed Grade 12 (or equivalent high school qualification) is eligible. The diploma lasts 12 months.
- Degree in Sound Engineering (Bengaluru, Chandigarh) –
Anyone who has passed Grade 12 (or equivalent high school qualification) is eligible. The degree takes three years, and you graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Sound Engineering degree from CMR University, Bengaluru or Bachelor of Science in Sound Engineering degree from Rayat Bahra University, Chandigarh respectively.
- Degree in Sound and Music Technology (Pune) –
Anyone who has passed Grade 12 (or equivalent high school qualification) is eligible. The degree takes three years, and you graduate with a Bachelors of Arts (Sound and Music Technology) degree from a UGC recognized University located in Pune.
- ZIMA – Zee Institute of Media Arts (Noida) – Certificate in Sound Engineering –
Anyone who has passed Grade 12 (or equivalent high school qualification) is eligible. This is a 12-month part-time classroom course, offering instruction three hours a day – three days a week, along with 1 practical and 1 film appreciation a week.
- Shemaroo Institute of Film and Technology (Mumbai) –
- Diploma in Sound Engineering – Full-time 10-month diploma
- Diploma in Sound Designing – Full-time 10-month diploma
- Diploma in Sound Editing – Full-time 10-month diploma
Anyone who has passed Grade 12 (or equivalent high school qualification) is eligible.