Neil Hillman joined UK broadcaster Central Independent Television in 1982 after graduating in Electronics from Aston University, leaving in 1990 to become a freelance Sound Supervisor / Mixer / Recordist. He founded The Audio Suite in 2002 to better serve an increasing demand for him as a Sound Designer and Re-recording Mixer and he continues this feature film work alongside his role as a Supervising Sound Editor; uniquely acting as a single point of contact for Producers on both production sound (advising on location sound recording) and post-production sound (acting as a Sound Designer / Supervising Sound Editor). As an aside to post-production sound, he also operates in production sound as a drama and documentary Sound Recordist on location, and as a Sound Supervisor and Commentary Systems Engineer on Outside Broadcasts. In these two latter capacities, he has been engaged by the Host Broadcasters of prestigious global events such as the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and the Glasgow 2014 and Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
In 2019, the feature film ‘Scott and Sid’, one of many feature films recorded on location by Neil, won ‘Best British Film’ at the National Film Awards. He was awarded a prestigious Royal Television Society ‘Best Production Craft Skills’ award for his Sound Design and Re-recording skills in 2010, he is a past multiple winner for sound design from the New York and Los Angeles Festivals and he has amassed over 700 individual IMDb credits across more than 100 separate titles. He is a DaVinci Resolve Fairlight Certified Trainer, and he has trained advanced operators and coached company trainers on the Fairlight Digital Audio Workstation within DaVinci Resolve at commercial facilities in the UK, and at broadcast stations in Europe.
Under the ‘Dr. Neil Hillman’ banner, his Consultancy practice aids a diverse range of clients with services such as audio advocacy for film and television Producers, including ‘sound bible’ strategies and below-the-line budget planning for shooting and post-production cost analysis; as well as working with equipment manufacturers and systems suppliers at the product design, development and application stages of new industry products.
This advisory service extends to areas wider than film and television: consulting to a range of industry sectors on user interfaces (UI), end-user experiences and on creating more efficient workflow by embracing new ways of thinking about existing systems and production arrangements. Current development clients include a major motion picture equipment manufacturer and a cutting-edge Project Management software design house.
Neil Hillman is not just a highly-experienced practitioner; he is also an academic, an author and a speaker. His PhD concerning emotion in sound design was completed within the University of York’s Department of Theatre, Film and Television, presenting a thesis entitled ‘A new sound mixing framework for enhanced emotive sound design within contemporary moving-picture audio production and post-production.’ He has written prodigiously for trade magazines such as Studio Sound, Audio Media, Resolution and Audiofile, industry blog Pro Tools Expert, academic publisher Routledge and on the topic of broadcast sound for The Daily Telegraph. His first book, Journeyman, is available on Amazon and his latest work ‘Sound for Moving Pictures’ will be published by Routledge in January 2021.
As well as teaching undergraduates and delivering post-graduate modules at the University of York, Neil has been a guest lecturer and an invited speaker at many other institutions; presenting his thoughts through talks on sound, strategy and business in places such as the BFI, the Grierson Trust, the BBC Academy, Birmingham City University, the Birmingham Conservatoire, the University of Gloucestershire, the University of Staffordshire and the University of Ulster; as well as at the School of Audio Engineering (SAE) Brisbane and Queensland University of Technology (QUT), in Australia.
Neil can be contacted for consultation, or contributory writing, speaking and teaching enquiries through the contact form on this website.
Hillman, N. (2014), Organic and free range Sound Design, The New Soundtrack, Volume 4.2, pp. 123-138.
Hillman, N. & Pauletto, S. (2015), The Craftsman: The use of sound design to elicit emotions, The Soundtrack, Volume 7.1, pp. 5–23.
Hillman, N. & Pauletto, S. (2016), Audio Imagineering: Utilising the Four Sound Areas Framework for Emotive Sound Design within Contemporary Audio Post-production, The New Soundtrack, Volume 6.1, pp. 77–107.
Hillman, N. (2019), Foundations in Sound Design – Post-Production II. The Mix Stems: Voice, Effects, Music. (Chapter.) London: Routledge
Hillman, N. (2013), Journeyman, Birmingham: Merlin Initiatives
‘Journeyman is an authoritative, accessible and at times irreverent, retrospective view of the most significant decade of digital development in the professional audio-for-picture sector; written with humour and passion from first-hand, operational experience.’
Coming in early 2021…
Hillman, N. (2021), Sound For Moving Pictures: The Four Sound Areas, London: Routledge
‘This book is at its heart a love-letter to cinema, and in particular cinema sound, thinly disguised as an investigation into the relationship between the creative process of designing and mixing moving picture soundtracks; and an exploration of the emotions elicited in listening-viewers by doing just that.’