Unlike shooting or directing, recording sound is 90% technical and 10% artistic. The art of sound comes later, in post. On set, it’s my job to collect raw materials for good sound design: Clean dialogue, good ambience, and usable sound effects.
What this means is that a nice sounding audio reel only demonstrates a minimum level of competence: I was able to record audio that was good enough to be cleaned up and polished by the sound designer.
What makes me a good sound guy isn’t the fact that I can record enough good audio to fill a 60 second sound reel. It’s the fact that I can record good audio consistently on the first take in an uncontrolled documentary environment. That’s a much higher standard.