For this week’s blog post, we wanted to give you a little insight into the day-to-day life of a Sound Ideas’ Sound Engineer. Luckily, Kevin Munro (one of the Sound Engineers at Sound Ideas) had some spare time to sit down with us to answer a few questions.
SI: What drew you to the sound design industry?
KM: As both a fan of music and a musician myself, I initially became interested in the technical side of audio through studying recording and engineering music. From there my interests progressed and I began to see that there were so many more applications to professional audio outside of simply music.
SI: How did you get started in this industry?
KM: After graduating from the Music Industry Arts program at Fanshawe college I began an internship at Sound Ideas. It wasn’t long before I was sent on location to record.
SI: What does your job as a sound engineer entail?
KM: One of the most important parts of the job is to actually set up recording sessions. That includes everything from cold calling potential locations (for example race tracks or a local industrial museum) to tracking down potential props or tools to take into the studio.
Once we actually have a recording session set up, the job is to record the sound as I’m hearing it in its environment. This means staying out of the way of the sound as much as possible, even to the extent that I’m often conscious of the sounds my clothing makes or how I’m breathing while recording.
SI: How do you come up with different projects to work on?
KM: When working in the sound industry you start to view everything through the lens of recorded sound. If I’m at a baseball game I’m thinking about what it would take to record the sound of the crowd or the crack of the bat and what challenges that would present.
As a result, I’m often jotting down ideas or typing them into my phone when I’m out and about. Other than that, a lot of the time coworkers, family and friends often present ideas to me when they think of them. This can mean everything from stopping by a friends’ house to record their newly acquired chainsaw, to gaining access to unusual locations to record.
SI: What kind of tools or resources do you use in your day-to-day work?
KM: Our main stereo rig is a Sound Devices 722 recorder and a Sanken cuw-180 mic. This setup is both versatile and durable, something that is very important to us. Our equipment gets hauled around a lot and needs to stand up to a lot of wear and tear.
SI: What have been some of your favourite memories from working as a sound engineer?
KM: My first major assignment at Sound Ideas was the Oklahoma Full Auto Shoot, just south of Tulsa, Oklahoma. This weekend long Machine Gun festival presented me with the opportunity to record various fire arms and also gave me a chance to fire a few rounds myself. Another favorite experience was hanging out with a Lemur in the studio when Hands on Exotics came by the office.
SI: What have been some challenges you have had to overcome?
KM: The biggest challenge is almost always dealing with the environment that we’re in. An on location recording session can be completely ruined by factors such as traffic, airplanes, wind, birds or any number of unexpected circumstances. For example, if we’re recording vehicles, we will scout out a location far away from the city and be monitoring weather reports well in advance.