Location sound engineer rates?

Discussion in 'Professional Video Production' started by sectioneight, Jul 28, 2003.

  1. sectioneight

    sectioneight Guest

    Can anyone offer the typical going rates for a professional sound
    enigneer with basic package (mixer, 2 or 3 wireless mics & boom mic
    for 8 to 10 hours) for gigs on the east cost, west coast and mid

    sectioneight, Jul 28, 2003
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  2. With the right gear that includes standard broadcast industry equipment (if
    you gotta ask........ then you ain't got it), the average day rate is
    $400.00 $450.00 per ten hour day in your local area
    The major networks offer considerably less ..... about $250.00 per EIGHT
    hour day. And I think $75.00 per day for the EXACT SAME gear. Extra
    wireless, after the first two is $50.00 per day.
    Two hours of over time to make up the full ten hour day is what makes it
    worth while.
    Now....... obviously everyone else's mileage may vary.

    Bill F.
    Bill Farnsworth, Jul 28, 2003
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  3. What is Farnsworth Films paying these days? :)

    Bill is correct $400 to $450 for ten with a basic package. Much of it, for
    "two-man crew" non-network jobs, depends on the camera person's rates. With
    competition that way it is, those rates haven't risen much in the last 10
    years. Personally I'd like to see the "two-man crew" thing go away and
    negotiate and bill directly with the client. In the long run I think that
    would be better for the camera people as well as they wouldn't have nearly
    as much paperwork and tax issues to deal with. It would also free the sound
    person to negotiate for additional gear rental as needed without putting
    that burden on the camera person who doesn't really want to shake the boat
    with the client and would be much happier if you didn't charge at all for
    the "4 extra RF mics" that were used so he could have his wide shot the
    editors used for 2 seconds at the top of the story or scene! It does however
    put one in the odd position of being hired by the camera person but working
    for the man. You can have a long standing freelance employee relationship
    with a network, their producers and bookers and their accounting department,
    but the camera person is the one who hires you and ultimately if he screws
    up, moves on, or loses his connections, by default, fires you.

    Farnsworth was one of the wise former sound men.....made his bucks, saw the
    handwriting on the wall and decided to shoot before he became the bent over
    aging sound mixer I have become. God I love this business!

    Charles Tomaras
    Seattle, WA

    PS I also need to add that those rates are for experienced ENG sound mixers.
    If you are looking for a new career and thinking of investing in equipment
    you still have lots of mistakes to make before you get to that level of
    Charles Tomaras, Jul 29, 2003
  4. sectioneight

    Ty Ford Guest

    I'm thinking $400/$450 for a ten is right with gear. You just want a hose to
    feed your camera, right?

    Of course per diem and travel would beadded if you want this person to
    travel with you.


    Ty Ford

    For Ty Ford V/O demos, audio services and equipment reviews,
    click on http://www.jagunet.com/~tford
    Ty Ford, Jul 29, 2003
  5. sectioneight

    Evander Guest

    WOW you TV people get screwed. I was working on a low (really low) budget
    feature the sound mixer was getting $750 for 12 with the gear.

    Evander, Jul 29, 2003
  6. sectioneight

    Evander Guest

    I used to work as an 1st Assistant Director on non-union work I'd get $150
    to $800 a day flat. Union 2nd $500 for 12. But I'm working into the camera
    dept where I get $475 for 12 as a loader.

    The feature where the sound guy was getting $750 I was making $100 flat and
    the DP was getting $250 flat w/ gear. The sound guy was making a low rate,
    according to him, but he was the highest paid person on the production. In
    the end he made more than the Director. Weird huh?

    Evander, Jul 30, 2003
  7. Not weird at all. The DP gets a "DP on a feature" notch in his belt and
    something for his reel. The director gets big credits and something tangible
    for his resume. The sound guy probably had $30,000 worth of equipment with
    him and gets absolutely NOTHING tangible out of mixing a low budget film.
    He'll be recording the noisy sound of the "budget mags" on every shot that
    there won't be a post budget to fix. He'll have an inexperienced boom
    operator trying to get the mic in on a frame that he's lit out of by low
    budget electrics and grips who don't know how to set a cutter or light for a
    tight boom. Best of all he'll spend most of his time listening to the
    background noise of the poorly scouted low budget locations. By the time the
    production tracks make it out of the under budgeted audio post sessions
    he'll want his name to read D.B. Fader in the credits.
    Charles Tomaras, Jul 30, 2003
  8. "Charles Tomaras" wrote ...
    Hear! Hear! Nominated for RVP Post of the Month!
    Worthy of RAMPS Thanks, Charles!
    Richard Crowley, Jul 30, 2003
  9. sectioneight

    Evander Guest

    I still think TV sound engineers are screwed harder than film sound mixers.

    Evander, Jul 31, 2003
  10. Go read the current "Project Green Light" thread on ramps!
    Richard Crowley, Jul 31, 2003
  11. sectioneight

    Evander Guest

    I'll head over there for a read right after this post.
    Evander, Aug 1, 2003
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