Audio and Video Production
School and Career Guide

Does playing with technology sound good to you? If so, you can get paid to do just that as an audio or video producer.

overview

Overview

In this field, you’ll work with high-end equipment and cutting-edge technology—and in exciting environments, too. Work settings include TV and radio stations, sporting events, concerts, film sets, recording studios, theaters, presentations and conferences.

For entry-level positions, it’s best to have a certificate at minimum. However, better job opportunities await those with associate’s degrees in audio or video production.

If the following job descriptions look good to you, an audio or video production career may be a great fit.

Audio Production Career

Listen up: If you want to become an audio producer, these job responsibilities may perk up your ears:

  • Operate sound and mixing boards, computers and other equipment
  • Record, mix and reproduce sound effects, music and voices
  • Synchronize voices and sounds for movies or TV shows
  • Edit live recordings on computers

Video Production Career

Do these job duties catch your eye? If so, enrolling in a video production school may be your next step.

  • Set up, operate, maintain and repair broadcast gear
  • Monitor and adjust equipment to ensure visual quality
  • Troubleshoot equipment
  • Edit video recordings on computers

Essential Skills and Traits

If you have the following skills and traits, you’re already ahead of the game. Chances are these characteristics describe you.

YOU ARE… YOU SHOULD HAVE…
Creative Manual dexterity to operate equipment
Adaptable Good hearing and eyesight
Detail-oriented Good troubleshooting skills
Well-organized Good communication skills
Able to work under pressure Excellent critical-thinking skills


degree

Degrees

You’ll most likely encounter these courses in an interior design degree program.

Do you need to a degree to work in audio or video production?

The short answer is yes! Because we’re talking about a specialized field that has far more applicants than jobs and is highly competitive, the more education you can combine with experience, the better your chances may be to find work in this exciting arena. Read on to learn what you’ll study.

What degrees are available?

Audio Production

Most sound and broadcast engineering technicians hold an associate’s degree or audio tech certification, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2016-17 Occupational Outlook Handbook. In training, which may take a year for a certificate to two years for an associate’s degree, technicians learn about cables, testing electrical equipment, electrical codes and industry standards, and safety procedures on the job. Because the technology in audio production is constantly changing, courses in computer software that apply to the industry are also advised.

Let’s take a look at what you’ll study in audio production school. These courses teach theoretical concepts and hands-on technical skills in the mediums of film, video, music and the web:

  • Recording
  • Live sound
  • Sound design
  • Sound editing
  • Sound mixing
  • Music theory
  • Electronics
  • Recording techniques
  • Audio production in analog and digital formats
  • Audio delivery systems and distribution

You’ll also prepare a portfolio, which is a critical factor when you’re ready to look for a job as an audio producer.

Video Production

You may be able to enter the field of video production with an associate’s degree, but as you climb the career ladder and move into higher-level responsibility jobs, such as a camera operator or film and video editing, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics advises earning a bachelor’s degree. Students should be thoroughly trained in all types of film and video editing software as well as in applicable technology courses.

Let’s take a look at some of the things you’ll study in video production school.

  • Scriptwriting
  • Producing
  • Directing
  • Camera operation
  • Lighting
  • Sound
  • Post-production
  • Editing
  • Motion graphics

In addition to preparing a portfolio, you’ll work as an intern, which will provide hands-on experience on an actual film, video or television production or broadcast.


career-salary

Careers and Salary

Audio and video production is more than just setting up a projector.

Whether you choose to work in audio or video production, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you’re bringing your creative best to whatever type of event, television show or film you’re producing.

Audio and video engineers, editors and operators work on the scene and in postproduction. They are collaborators who plan a project; work during a film, video shoot or live event; and work on post-production after a project has wrapped. These artists master the sound or editing effects and play a key role in the construction of the final production.

What You’ll Do in an Audio / Video Production Career

As an audio or video production engineer you’ll work for radio or television broadcasters, recording or film studios, schools, concert and live event producers, and companies that hold meetings or conventions. Here are some of the tasks you’ll perform:

  • Set up and operate audio and video equipment
  • Operate sound and mixing boards
  • Set up and tear down equipment for live events
  • Record speech, music, special effects and other sounds
  • Synchronize sounds and dialogue with movies or television productions
  • Convert video and audio files to digital formats
  • Edit sound and video files
  • Install audio and video equipment in hotels, offices and schools
  • Discuss filming and editing techniques with the director
  • Select appropriate equipment, from camera to the software for editing

Career Paths

Here are just some of the career types you can choose from in the field of audio and video production:

  • Broadcast technicians: Set up and operate equipment that regulates signal strength, clarity and ranges of sound for broadcast radio and television.
  • Sound engineers and foley artists: Operate, synchronize, mix, add sound effects, music or voices in recording studios, movies and video productions or live events. Foley artists use props to recreate physical sounds, such as clapping coconut shells to reproduce horse hooves on pavement.
  • Recording engineers: Operate video and sound recording equipment to produce special effects.
  • Sound mixers: Produce soundtracks for movies and television and use dubbing to insert sounds.
  • Field technicians: Operate equipment outside of a studio, such as news coverage.
  • Audio and video equipment technicians: Set up and operate audio and video equipment such as microphones, speakers, video screens and projectors, video monitors for conferences, meeting, concerts, lectures and conventions. They may also set up lighting systems.
  • Camera operators: Generally work in a broadcast studio and tape subjects in a fixed position.
  • Cinematographers: Film motion pictures and work closely with the director. They typically have a camera crew working with them.
  • Videographers: Videotape events or ceremonies such as weddings and birthday parties. Most are self-employed and edit their own material based on client criteria.
  • Film and video editors: Edit film or video submitted by videographers or cinematographers for motion pictures and television.

How Much Can I Earn in an Audio / Video Production Career?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2016-17 Occupational Outlook Handbook, workers within the audio / video production field can expect to earn the following median annual salaries:

CAREER IN AUDIO/VIDEO PRODUCTION MEDIAN ANNUAL SALARY*
Broadcast technicians $36,560
Sound engineers $49,870
Audio and video equipment technicians $41,780
Film and video editors and camera operators $52,470

*Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.


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