Ric Viers is a sound effects producer, author, instructor and Full Sail University Hall of Famer. Based in Detroit, Viers has been recording and editing sound for nearly 20 years and operates boutique audio facility, The Detroit Chop Shop (https://www.ricviers.com/detroitchopshop
In addition to publishing sound effects libraries, each summer, Viers hand picks a number of interns, whom he mentors, teaching them the sound recording process. Their experience in the field and in the studio is documented and released regularly as The Detroit Chop Shop Video Diaries, a Web series that’s shot and edited by one the interns as well.
Post’s Marc Loftus caught up with Viers at NAB in Las Vegas in between his speaking engagements and book signings. Here, he provides insight into recording, his career, and how aspiring sound professionals can get their start.
You perform many roles: sound recordist, sound editor, library publisher, Web series producer… How would you describe your job?
Viers: “This September marks 20 years that I’ve been doing this. I see myself as a ‘sound effects producer.’"
You are a Full Sail graduate and Hall of Famer. What advice can you offer to those looking to get into the pro audio field?
Viers: “Your character and personality goes so much further than your resume. Show up on time. Have a great attitude. Work well with others. Leave the ego at the door. And be prepared to put in a solid five years of assisting.”
Did you get any advice when you were starting out?
Viers: “I have to give kudos to Charles Maynes. I called him up. He’s a cool guy — about 10 years older than me — but so approachable. I was recording and asked for his advice. He recommended an economic mic. He said, ‘It doesn’t mater what you use, it matters how it sounds.’”
Do you have favorite gear?
Viers: “I [recommend] going with your gut reaction. Sometimes the best piece of gear is the one you have in your hand. For example, if you’re trying to record a train going by, and you are going to miss it because you are looking for a certain piece of gear? Make it work! Kids seem to think you need the best piece of gear.
“I do have what I call my ‘oh shit kit.’ It’s a tackle box with screws and threads and all sorts of parts that I can use to always fix things. Other than that, it’s your imagination.”
You mention “using what you’ve got.” Are devices such as an iPhone practical when it comes to recording the quality that you are shooting for?
Viers: “I think we will get to that point, but it’s not there yet.”
Outside of the studio, what are some of your current interests?
Viers: “Meditation! I have been doing it since January and I am a 100 percent different person. It’s helped me focus. I seem calmer and more comfortable. I have a routine I go through every morning: I drop my kid off at school and go to the gym, shower, meditate, write, think, reset, shower again and then get into my day.”