My feeling is that seventy percent of what you see on the screen is contained in the soundtrack. I’ve heard it said that the difference between good sound and bad sound is five minutes a day in fifteen-second increments, and I fully agree: when we’re behind schedule it can be tough to call for another take after a plane flew over or a truck backed up or we got a wireless hit, but it’s my job to make that call.
That said, production is a team effort and my goal is always to get the best sound possible, within reason, and then get out of the way so we can move forward.
You don’t need sync sound on every take, but when we’re recording dialogue sound takes priority: If we can’t hear the person’s voice well, we don’t need to see their picture at all.
A lot of good DP’s and camera operators come from the world of feature film, and they’ve learned to shoot with the knowledge that there’s an army of ADR and Foley wizards to back them up, so getting good sound on location is less important to them. However, the projects I work on typically don’t have that luxury, and I’m often the only person on the crew who cares about how the sound is going to work for you once you’re in the edit bay.
So it’s up to me to make sure that you get what you need, even when the other departments are in a hurry. That’s often the hardest part of my job.
What I Don’t Do
I don’t talk too much when I’m on set. My my job often requires me to interact with talent and clients, and my manner is friendly but not familiar. I don’t ask for autographs or to have my picture taken with our guests.
I don’t show up late and I don’t use my phone or my laptop when I’m working. I don’t try to direct and I don’t make unrequested editorial suggestions, but I do provide an extra set of eyes an ears to make sure we get what we came for.