Record with Your Ears, Not Your Eyes: Ric Viers Returns to Campus [Video]

Foley artist and Film graduate Ric Viers is huddled around a microphone with a few students and grads on one of Full Sail’s sound stages. He’s come to town to speak at the monthly Behind the Scenes Tour, but while he’s here, he couldn’t resist the opportunity to teach a workshop on the basics of horror-inspired sound effects. He’s brought along a produce aisle’s worth of vegetables – celery to approximate bone snaps, various melons that will sound like severed heads hitting the ground or body cavities being looted by hungry zombies. But all that remains untouched in a corner.

Instead, Ric picks up a pair of rubber gloves meant to keep his hands clean while working with the produce. He holds them up to the microphone and snaps them. One of the students suggests rubbing the gloves together to see what kind of texture sounds they make, and Ric’s face lights up.

“I like it,” he says, thoughtfully folding the rubber against itself. “There are no rules, especially when it comes to finding sounds you’ve never heard before. Sounds can be deceiving.”

“Imagination is everything,” he adds. “I record with my ears and not my eyes, and I often will close my eyes while recording because our eyes have a tendency to trick us.”

For instance, an aspiring foley artist might want to record the sound of car tires squealing on pavement. But what do you do if you don’t have access to a vehicle?

“Early on in my career, I was playing around with a hot water bottle, and I figured out I could make that exact sound of a car peeling out just by scooting the bottle cross the counter and editing the sound a little in post production,” says Ric.

Ric Viers (center) poses with students and grads.

Ric stays with the group for almost two hours. During that time, they record everything from an actual car on the backlot to the inside of a metal trashcan. Oh, and they destroy a lot of fruit. The workshop culminates with Ric standing on a ladder and dropping a whole watermelon onto the base of a mic stand. It hits the fitting and explodes, providing a sickening (yet satisfying) splatter effect.

Film Production Master’s grad Manny Cedeno captures the whole thing with a shotgun mic. He brushes watermelon off his shirt and offers his headphones to the others.

“Guys, you’ve got to hear this,” he says, smiling widely. “It’s disgusting.”

Check out more from Ric’s horror-inspired workshop in the video below.