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Sound technician, broadcasting/film/video: Salary and conditions

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  • Salaries vary depending upon the actual role and type of production. In an established studio or in television and radio, starting salaries may be in the region of £16,000 to £18,000.
  • With experience this can rise to salaries upward of £30,000. Supplements for unsocial hours may be available.
  • Freelance work is common and in these instances you must be prepared to negotiate rates according to your experience and the type of production.
  • The Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU) recommended day rates for sound assistants working on feature films in the UK range from £275 to £385, depending on the budget of the film. Further information is available from Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU) .
  • Sound technicians frequently have to work long days and unsocial hours (the average working day is ten hours) including evenings, nights and weekends. They often need to adopt flexible working patterns in order to work on breaking stories, to tight deadlines or to ensure that the creative process is not interrupted.
  • Working in multiple locations is often required. This can include recording studios, film or television sets or on location.
  • Freelance sound technicians often work on fixed-term contracts for broadcasting or production companies and like other freelancers, often face uncertainty around job security.
  • The broadcasting industry offers a higher percentage of salaried posts. However, large employers, such as the BBC often take on freelancers to cover peak periods of work.
  • Work to improve the diversity of the industry's workforce is carried out by the Creative Diversity Network .
  • Sound technicians of all types are often required to work in highly stressful situations and to tight deadlines. Stamina, self-motivation and patience are therefore essential attributes for this job.
  • The job can involve extensive travel and long periods away from home, especially in the field of motion picture production.

Salary figures are intended as a guide only.

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Written by AGCAS editors
May 2015

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