KitSplit: Tell us a little bit about your studio and work.
Cory: Silver Sound is an Emmy award-winning sound studio in Manhattan. We are a team of sound superheroes who do both production and post-production sound recording and mixing. These days I find myself in the studio more often than not, but I also go out in the field to record audio — I’m particularly excited this year to do more VR work with our Soundfield Ambisonic microphones (SPS200). I’ve worked on independent films and TV shows, commercials, and even installations for fine artists.
K: What parts of your work are you most proud of?
C: Well, it’s always hard to say what my most anything is, but I am very proud of being the Supervising Sound Editor for the last two Troma films: Return To Nuke ‘Em High Part 1 and Poultrygeist. There was a scene in Poultrygeist that was hard to conceptualize sonically — a character actually defecated himself out of his own rectum — and my team really nailed the landing on that one. There’s a film I sound supervised recently, Driftwood, that was recorded completely without sound on set — and that just premiered at Slamdance on January 24th! But in addition to being proud of my and my team’s work, I am proud and grateful that I am able to make a living in New York City doing what I love: sound for the indie film world.
K: Can you tell us a little about the post sound process?
C: Sound design and mix is first and foremost about making sure you understand the vision of the person you are collaborating with: everything you’re doing with sound should reinforce the story they are trying to tell. There’s the technical end — edit, denoise, restoration, etc. — and the creative end, which is sound design and creation. The last bit is mix, where the entire piece is gone over with a fine tooth comb to adjust volume, EQ, and reverb. On a narrative movie, 10 minutes of movie will usually take around 8 hours to mix.
K: What is your most-used or favorite piece of gear?
C: In the studio it’s hands down the DAW Reaper, the noise reduction suite Izotope RX, ValhallaRoom and RoomVerb for reverb, and EQuality for EQ. On set as a team we are big fans of the Zaxcom Nomad and Maxx, the Sound Devices 633 and 688, Lectrosonics Wireless, Schoeps microphones (all of them), DPA and Sanken microphones (almost all of them), K-Tek for bags and harnesses, and probably a few more things I’m forgetting to mention! Personally, though, for small documentary work I’m absolutely in love with my little Wendt X3 audio mixer. The thing is a tank. The batteries last forever. It sounds great. It’s simple. I’ve taken it all over the world — over 15 countries on three different continents — and it has never let me down. It’s a real shame that it was recently discontinued. Luckily, we’ve got three over here at Silver Sound!
K: What are your favorite parts of sound production for documentaries?
C: Some documentaries I have been lucky enough to be a part of, such as Cultures of Resistance, have changed the way I look at the world. I love being able to meet new people, see and experience cultures different than mine. Documentary filmmaking lets me travel and see a bit of the world. One thing that’s kind of nice about travelling as part of a crew is that I’m not just a tourist. We have an agenda. More often than not, we’re going to interview someone or experience something particularly interesting or important — but being part of the crew allows for some distance from and perspective about what we are doing or who we are talking to.
K: What’s the best piece of advice you got when starting out?
C: To spend time and thought finding the most elegant solution for problems. The best possible solution may not necessarily be industry standard or the most common. Then again, it might be. One needs to try things out for themselves.
K: What advice would you offer to others starting out in sound?
C: I don’t really feel like I should be giving too much advice. Even though I’ve been doing sound for ten years, I feel like there’s so much more to learn. More than giving advice, I want to be getting advice! I hope that I will always be open and looking to learn more.