Tag Archives: Stir Audio Post

Behind the Title: Stir Post Audio sound designer/mixer Nick Bozzone

NAME: Nick Bozzone

COMPANY: Chicago’s Stir Post Audio (@STIRpost)

DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY:
Stir Post Audio is comprised of engineers, mixers, sound designers and producers, who transform audio mixes into what we call “sonic power shots.”

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
Senior Sound Designer/Mixer

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
As a post sound professional, there are many different disciplines of audio that I use on a day-to-day basis — voiceover recording/mic techniques (ADR included), creative sound designing, voiceover and music editing, 5.1 and stereo broadcast (LKFS) mixing, as well as providing a positive (and fun) voice in the room.

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT FALLS UNDER THAT TITLE?
The term sound designer envelops more than simply spotting stock sound effects to picture, it’s an opportunity to be as creative as my mind allows. It’s a chance at making a sonic signature —a signature that, most of the time, is associated with the product itself. I have been very fortunate through my career so far to have worked on these types of commercial campaigns and short films… projects that have allowed me to stretch my sonic imagination.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
My favorite part of the job is when its time to mix. Mixing can be just as creative, if not more so, as sound design. There are a lot of technical aspects to mixing heavy-hitting commercials. Most of the time there are a bunch of very dynamic elements going on at the same time. The finesse of a great mix is the ability to take all of these things, bring them all together and have them all sitting in their own spot.

WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
It may be my least favorite part, but it’s a necessary evil… archiving!

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE TIME OF THE DAY?
During work, it’s when the whole room gives my mix a thumbs up. During the weekend, it’s definitely around sunset. For whatever reason, no matter how tired I am, around sunset is when my body kicks into its second wind and I become a night owl (or at least I used to be one before my daughter was born five months ago).

HOW EARLY ON DID YOU KNOW THIS WOULD BE YOUR PATH?
“If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” That was told to me when I entered college, and I took that quote to heart. Originally, I thought that I wanted to be a creative writer and then I had an interest in being a hypnotherapist. Both were interesting to me, but neither one was holding my interest for very long. Thankfully, I took an introductory class in Pro Tools. That one class showed me that there could be a future in sound. You never know where you’ll get your inspiration.

Nick creating sounds for Mist Twst.

CAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
Many projects that come through our doors require quite a bit of strategy with regard to the intention or emotion of the project. I worked on the re-branding campaign for Pepsi’s Sierra Mist, which changed its name to Mist Twst.

There were a lot of very specific sound design elements I created in that session. The intention was to not just make an everyday run-of-the-mill soda commercial; we wanted it to feel crisp, clean and natural like the drink. So, we went to the store and bought a bunch of different fruits and vegetables, and recorded ourselves cutting, squeezing, and dropping them into a fizzy glass of Mist Twst. We even recorded ourselves opening soda cans at different speeds and pouring soda into glasses with and without ice.

I also worked on a really fun 5 Gum radio campaign that won a Radio Mercury Award. The concept was a “truth or dare” commercial geared toward people streaming music with headphones on. It allows the listener to choose whether to play along with listening to the left headphone for a truth, or the right headphone to do a dare.

We did campaign for Aleve with beautiful film showing a grandfather on an outing with his granddaughter at an amusement park and suddenly he throws his back out. The entire park grinds to a halt as a result — visually and audio-wise. There was a lot of sound design involved in this process, and was a very fun and creative experience.

Kerrygold

For a recent package of TV spots for Kerrygold, the Irish dairy group, created by Energy BBDO. my main goal for “Made for this Moment” was to let the gentile music track and great lyrics have center stage and breathe, as if they were their own character in the story. My approach to the sound design was to fill out each scene with subtle sound design elements that are almost felt and not heard… nothing poking through further than anything else, and nothing competing with the music, only enhancing the overall mood.”

Behind the Title: Stir Audio’s Amber Tisue

NAME: Amber Tisue

COMPANY: Stir Post Audio @stirpost 

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
Stir Post Audio, based in Chicago, is a new joint studio venture involving the partners of APG Audio and Sonixphere Music. We work in every aspect of audio post production for TV, radio, interactive and film.

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
Senior Sound Designer and Mixer

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
It entails everything having to do with creating sound for picture. Basically, I’ll get a video completely stripped of all sound and then create the soundscape to either sound very realistic, abstract or a blend of the two, depending on creative direction.

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT FALLS UNDER THAT TITLE?
I think most people, at least those outside of the industry, don’t really understand what I do. It’s funny because every time my dad sees a commercial I’ve done, he’ll call me up and ask: “You did the music on that commercial? That was great!” I then have to explain, “Dad, I make everything you hear in the commercial except the music.”

Also, I feel that many people underestimate the power of a soundscape. Sound is truly half of picture, but is thought of last. Imagine a film like Jurassic Park without the T.rex footsteps or the roars or the jungle ambience. The impact would be stripped from it without sound.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
My favorite part of what I do is the fact that I get to be creative and make people feel emotion through sound. I approach each project as a work of art, and I get to paint each canvas through sound.

WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
My least favorite part is that it is all so subjective. Everyone has his or her own idea of what something should sound like, and it’s neither right nor wrong. Finding that balance between what I want as an expert in my field versus what a client wants is the hardest part of what I do.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TIME OF THE DAY?
Hmm… Well I’m most definitely not a morning person. I think my favorite time of day is at dusk, where I can be outside catching a sunset, meeting up with friends, grabbing a happy hour drink on a patio, and just being.

IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
Well my dream is to be able to work on my music full-time and to be able to focus on perfecting that craft. If I had ultimate freedom from monetary pressures, I would be traveling the world with the one I love and helping animals in some capacity.

HOW EARLY ON DID YOU KNOW THIS WOULD BE YOUR PATH?
I really feel that this profession chose me. I knew early on that I wanted to be able to record my own music, and subsequently earned a degree in audio engineering from San Francisco State. I interned in the Bay Area’s top music recording studios but couldn’t make ends meet financially. I heard about an opening for an audio engineer at the ad agency Goodby Silverstein and Partners in San Francisco and landed the job… with zero real-world post production experience. So in that way, I really did fall into being a sound designer.

I’ve always had a profound interest in how sounds are made, how sound in film is created to be so impactful, to evoke emotion and to glue the viewer to the screen. I learned that it was so involved, intricate and technical — you don’t just plug a microphone in and what you record is what ends up on screen. There is an entire world of processing to enhance the sound before it makes it on screen.

CAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
I recently finished a huge 5 Gum re-branding campaign (below). I designed the mnemonic and the soundscape for the campaign, which was a lot of fun.

4 nice main project shot

I also recently won a Bronze Addy for my sound design on a Re/Max spot called Dreams, where I created a dream-like, whimsical world with overstated sound effects and crazy reverberant spaces.

WHAT IS THE PROJECT THAT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?
My favorite project was one of the earliest spots that I worked on. It was for Adobe Photoshop and it was completely abstract. I had to create a sound for something that had no sound, that didn’t make a sound and didn’t exist in life. A creature born from a petri dish, evolving through time from a guppy-like thing, into a metallic vegetable, into a conglomerate of bird-reptilian species that escapes the petri dish and flies off into space.

I often speak about the idea of the “anti-sound,” or sound that exists in silence, if that makes sense. For example, what it sounds like in your head after a close-range bomb detonates — you lose your hearing, but there is still sound there to be heard.

NAME THREE PIECES OF TECHNOLOGY YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
I am enamored by the simple things in life, so technology to me is more of an asset to life than a necessity. I do enjoy having an iPhone and I use the map application most. I like knowing how to get from place to place, even if it’s in another country.

My other favorites are headphones — having high-quality headphones allows me to work from anywhere at any time — and lastly Pro Tools, which is the industry standard, and I wouldn’t have this career without it.

WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS DO YOU FOLLOW?
I used to be an avid Facebook user, but found myself getting lost in the Internet vortex. I’ll post occasionally and message friends, but I focus my time on other things these days. Twitter eludes me, but Instagram is probably my favorite form of social media because it allows me to post a picture and get back to my life.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO DE-STRESS FROM IT ALL?
I love being outdoors, being in nature, connecting with something bigger than myself. Being in or near water is the most calming to my soul; being with loved ones and family fulfills me most. And vacations, I am always planning a vacation.

Stir Post Audio ups Matt Holmes to sound designer/mixer

Stir Post Audio, which has multiple locations in Chicago, has promoted associate engineer Matt Holmes to sound designer/mixer. Holmes, who has a Bachelor of Science in Recording Arts from Indiana University’s prestigious Jacob’s School of Music, joined the company for launch last June. Since that time he has mixed spots for Lay’s, Bud Light, Ziploc, Hunt’s Sauces and Hebrew National.

“With his great ears, easy going manner, and technical proficiency, Matt, in a very short time, has become an in-demand team member who adds value to our client’s sound design and mixing projects,” says EP David Kaplan, who is partnered in Stir with Mindy Verson and Greg Allan.

A multi-talented instrumentalist, who plays drums, guitar, bass and piano, Holmes also mans the drum chair in the indie acoustic band, Valaska, with whom he has recorded two CDs, and also regularly gigs around Chicago at the Beat Kitchen and Schubas, as well as other venues in the Midwest and nationally. In 2013, the band released their first CD, “Natural Habitat,” and, earlier this year, followed up with “Thing,” which he also recorded and mixed.

“Matt’s background as a musician and a member of a band affords him the ability to work well in a team structure and percolate ideas that help the client’s work reach its highest potential,” says Verson. “We see him as someone who will grow and thrive within the vision we have for Stir.”

Adds Allan, “He has been mixing for us over the past year and the response has been so positive, we decided to make his move up official.”