Producing Great Sound for Film and Video



''Producing Great Sound for Film and Video: Expert Tips from Preproduction to Final Mix'' is a non-fiction, filmmaking handbook. It covers the process of acquiring professional quality sound for motion picture productions. Author Jay Rose is an Emmy-award winning sound professional. He has won over 150 major awards including 12 Clios, and he has contributed to nearly 15,000 commercials. His work includes the MGM release '' Two Weeks''. The book is published by
Focal Press Focal Press is a publisher of creative and applied media Media may refer to: Communication * Media (communication), tools used to deliver information or data ** Advertising media, various media, content, buying and placement for adverti ...
, a media and technology publishing company.
Focal Press Focal Press is a publisher of creative and applied media Media may refer to: Communication * Media (communication), tools used to deliver information or data ** Advertising media, various media, content, buying and placement for adverti ...
is an imprint of the academic press Taylor & Francis. The book was first published in 1999 under the title ''Producing Great Sound for Digital Video'' by Miller Freeman Books and was 375 pages. Seventeen years later, as of 2016, the book is in its fourth edition, and stands at 520 pages. It has been a part of required reading at many film schools, including the University of Southern California (USC). The book was also awarded five out of five stars by '' Videomaker Magazine''. When released, ''Millimeter Magazine'' noted that the book was one of very few publications extensively covering the art of capturing motion picture sound. ''Producing Great Sound for Film and Video'' has been called, "...''the'' book on the subject."


In the opening of the book, Rose states:
The heart of this book is the tricks, shortcuts and industry practices developed over nearly a century, since the beginning of radio and talking pictures. In the 40-some years I've been at this, I've worked on tracks ranging from sales videos to theatrical features...and seen my projects win Clios, an Emmy, and hundreds of other awards...This book is an attempt to share as much as I can.
''Producing Great Sound for Film and Video'' is broken into four main sections, ordered to reflect real-world filming situations: *Audio Basics *Planning and Pre-Production *Production Sound *Post Production Subjects covered include analog versus digital audio, recording and using
sound effect A sound effect (or audio effect) is an artificially created or enhanced sound, or sound process used to emphasize artistic or other content of films, television shows, live performance, animation, video games, music, or other media. Traditi ...
s, microphone techniques, ADR, mixing, and mastering. One section highlighted as unique by '' Videomaker Magazine'' was that on "editing voices." Rose breaks down how human speech works, and how that translates to film and video productions. Tips include stealing unvoiced sounds from other characters, or people speaking in a scene, and using them to replace problematic recordings of others. The "editing voices" section also discusses sounds with "hard attacks" and training the ear to hear
phoneme In phonology and linguistics, a phoneme () is a unit of sound that can distinguish one word from another in a particular language. For example, in most dialects of English, with the notable exception of the West Midlands and the north-w ...
s, which helps in isolating and correcting speech recording issues. Numerous "recipes" for dealing with common sound issues, such as reducing or eliminating echo on sets, and removing line hum and buzz from recorded audio, are also provided. Eliva Silva writing for '' San Antonio Express-News'' said of the book:
t isthe whole theory -- and beautiful theory -- on the science of audio and the way that audio is recorded through voltage, converted into digital information, back to voltage into sound.


Author Rose states in the book that he wishes to appeal to technical and non-technical people alike, adding he hopes to keep the book approachable and conversational in tone, dispelling the idea that audio needs to be difficult to understand. He states that audio is not "rocket science." While the book does contain math and science, Rose points out the math is elementary school level and the physics is "common sense." The current version of the book provides downloadable files including sample sounds and music, diagnostic tools and additional tutorials allowing the reader to practice with the principles explained. Earlier versions of the book included a CD-ROM of similar assets. In 2003, ''Millimeter Magazine'' felt the style was right for the time:
Digital artists are very much hands-on, and Rose is the right man to write audio books for this new generation of filmmakers. Rose operates his own boutique sound studio and bridges the analog and digital eras - he's made the discoveries and mistakes that no one should have to learn on the job. This direct experience with DV equipment and projects is apparent throughout the book.

Classroom use

Major universities and film schools that have used the book as a textbook include: * University of Southern California (USC) * UCLA Extension * Long Island University * Wichita State University * Fredonia State University of New York * California State University, Northridge A 33-page instructor guide is also provided by the publisher.


Critical reviews

Covering the first edition of the book, '' Videomaker Magazine'' noted the high price tag of the book, but said:
With PBS and Turner Network Television production experience under his belt, author Jay Rose brings a wealth of experience to ''Producing Great Sound for Digital Video''...the book is replete with facts and useful information.
Of the second edition, ''Millimeter Magazine'' said:
Shortchanging film sound is typical of new filmmakers, and the emphasis on picture over sound is a bias running through film schools and film publications - articles, books, and courses on visual subjects far outnumber those on film sound. Author Jay Rose is single-handedly addressing the problem.
John Hartney writing for '' Creative COW'' said of the second edition, offers such a wide range of usable information about hands-on digital audio production, that by reading it, the reader is empowered with production skills and enlightened by an appreciation of how the experience of audio enriches video.
In 2008, covering the third edition of the book, '' Videomaker Magazine'' awarded it "five out of five stars" and said:
I have been looking for this book for 20 years - no exaggeration...The chapter on Editing Voices alone is worth the price tag.

Entertainment industry reviews

Academy Award winner Randy Thom (director of Sound Design at Skywalker Sound, Oscar winner for '' The Right Stuff'' and ''
The Incredibles ''The Incredibles'' is a 2004 American computer-animated superhero film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Written and directed by Brad Bird, it stars the voices of Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah V ...
'') wrote praise of the author and book:
Jay Rose is one of the leaders in spreading the gospel of using sound creatively. He presents cutting-edge ideas about the collaboration of sound and image, and also covers the basics… all in an easy to read, easy to understand style.
Academy Award nominated sound mixer Jeff Wexler ('' Independence Day,
The Last Samurai ''The Last Samurai'' is a 2003 epic period action drama film directed and co-produced by Edward Zwick, who also co-wrote the screenplay with John Logan and Marshall Herskovitz from a story devised by Logan. The film stars Ken Watanabe in th ...
Fight Club ''Fight Club'' is a 1999 American film directed by David Fincher and starring Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, and Helena Bonham Carter. It is based on the 1996 novel of the same name by Chuck Palahniuk. Norton plays the unnamed narrator, who is ...
'') wrote a blurb for the book stating:
"This is the definitive book. It should be mandatory reading for anyone who is seriously considering a career making movies."


{{reflist Books about film Handbooks and manuals Audio engineering Sound recording Sound technology Sound production Broadcast engineering Media studies textbooks