Sound Special Effects Editor

Mix and create the major sounds effects that make movies pop.
picture of Sound Special Effects Editor

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$26,000 – $112,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Sound Special Effects Editors do?

A Sound Special Effects Editor is a highly specialized position found on large film sets. Here you create noises, like explosions or helicopter propellers, to accompany their visual counterparts in a film. On smaller sets this job is done by a Sound Editor, but in big productions there is so much editing to do that it gets delegated to a Sound Special Effects Editor.

Your job as Sound Special Effects Editor is to use a soundboard and sound library to electronically mix and create special effect sounds: You take care of the big booms and bangs, and the sounds that are made by off-screen actions.

Once you have identified the sounds you will create, you draw on your vast sound bank (which is stored in your head) to mix, equalize, and balance the sounds so they match to the images on screen. After that you send your work up to the Re-Recording Engineer who mixes them with the other audio.

Because your sounds are created from a sound library, it is easy to mix different pitches and recreate general noises. What is difficult for you to do, is tailor your sounds to individualized actions. So while you can make the whirl of a helicopter, you cannot make the sound of the helicopter door opening. Sounds that require the specificity and minute timing of the latter action are left to Foley Artists.

Should I be a Sound Special Effects Editor?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • Also known as: Editor, Sound, Sound Fx Editor

    How to Become a
    Sound Special Effects Editor

    Most Sound Special Effects Editors have a Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:osc9aa&chl=no+college+%2812%25%29|certificate+%2836%25%29|associate%27s+%282%25%29|bachelor%27s+%2850%25%29||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,12,50
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