Film industry on the hunt for audio engineers

An aspect that we may take for granted when we’re watching beautiful curated films and videos is the audio side of things. When you’re filming, you’re focusing on capturing the strongest footage possible, but the sound element of your footage is vital to creating an enjoyable experience for the viewer. The film industry is aware of this, as seen by SAE Bachelor of Audio Engineering student Donna Kavanagh, who has landed her dream job of working as a sound assistant on Shortland Street — all while only in her second year of the degree!

Kavanagh has one more year of her degree to go, but she is now working a solid 55 hours per week as a sound assistant for the TV programme. When she saw the role advertised on the SAE alumnae page, she submitted her CV, testing her chances of getting into the industry she desired to be involved with.

Donna Kavanagh

“I was interviewed by Shortland Street sound recordist Greg Moon — I felt really good about how it went. During the interview I offered to work on set for the rest of the day and meet everyone, so I went on set and helped out then and there! I got to spend time with the other two soundies and [learned] what was involved in the role,” Kavanagh explains.

Primarily, Kavanagh will get experience in boom operating in her newfound role, although her big goal for her career is to get into sound and music for film. Down the track this would ideally transition into doing this work for major films.

SAE provided Kavanagh with her first experience of using a boom when she was doing her Diploma in Audio Engineering, which turned out to be a vital skill required in securing the job with Shortland Street. Students had to make a short film and put sound to it, and do the recording, as well as the sound operating.

Kavanagh is now doing a lot of post-production audio work, and she has discovered that it’s really important to have good location sound, which is an aspect of the job that she really enjoys working in.

If you’d like to broaden your knowledge about the processes behind creating films, videos, and TV shows, extending beyond the lens of the camera, head to auckland.sae.edu for more information on audio engineering opportunities.