Producing Great Sound for Film and Video
by Jay Rose, CAS

New Edition!
554 Pages + online files     Focal Press      Buy at Amazon.com
Paperback ISBN 978-0-415-72207-0    E-book ISBN 978-1-315-85850-0

About the Book:
Reader Resources
Click Here for additional content and downloadable files.
Passwords required; see entry pages.

General Resources
Inspired by the book:
How to write about sound... or anything else. Article from the Journal of the Cinema Audio Society.
Radio Producer's Guide to Lipsync. Article from Radio & Production Magazine.

And...
there's a boatload of free tutorials at Jay's main site, JayRose.com. Help yourself!

don't forget FilmTVSound, a valuable tech resource by Fred Ginsburg CAS, PhD.
It's one of sites Jay turns to for techniques and inspiration.

Free Plug-in
Click Here for the room tone generator described in the book. It's available to anybody, as a free Mac VST or AU plug-in.
No password required. Operation does require the free SonicBirth audio utility. Full instructions are at the above link.

Teacher Resources
Qualified educators can order an evaluation copy here.
A 33 page Teacher's Guide is also available with classroom exercises, suggested outcomes, and sample test questions. Request it here.



This site works best with a standards-compliant browser: Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.

What a couple of top professionals have said about this new edition:

“ This is the definitive book. It should be mandatory reading for anyone seriously considering a career making movies.”
-- Jeff Wexler, CAS (Mixer: Mission Impossible III, Fight Club, Independence Day, Last Samurai, Jerry Maguire, more than 70 others)

“ 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.”
-- Randy Thom, CAS (Director of Sound Design, Skywalker Sound; More than 100 films including Oscars for The Right Stuff, The Incredibles)

Book Cover

amazonStars
Amazon Customer Reviews (all editions)


Why this book?

The Digital Video revolution makes it possible for artists, animators, filmmakers, and ordinary citizens to produce first-class films using nothing more than a desktop computer... in fact, a lot of what you see on TV and in theaters has been assembled on ordinary Macs and PCs. (I should know. I create the soundtracks for them. My recent projects have included network-identity packages for PBS, spots for Disney/Buena Vista, and a theatrical feature for MGM.)

A lot of creative individuals have taught themselves how to produce and edit pictures by playing with these computer systems, and comparing what they do with what's being broadcast on tv.

But you can't teach yourself how to record, edit, and mix sound this way. There are too many interconnected factors. For instance, decisions you make while shooting can influence how effective your music score will be. And trying to improve part of a track by ear -- tweaking a knob until things seem better -- can make them much worse later on.

There's an art to good sound. But there's also a science, and a body of techniques that have been developed by professionals like me, over a large chunk of the past century.

This book teaches the science and technique of creating great soundtracks to go with your visuals. I don't expect you to be a scientist, so I've kept the physics and math to basics you learned in grade school, illustrated with visual analogies. And since I expect you to be primarily interested in results, the book is full of practical tips, how-to examples, and time-savers that have been proven in the field.        -- Jay Rose

   Wikipedia's independent entry on Producing Great Sound


User-friendly Features

Producing Great Sound was designed to be useful for the producer, videographer, and editor:
  • Comprehensive HELP chapter with quick tips for dealing with different kinds of garbled dialog, sync problems, and mix issues.

  • Organized for easy reference. Separate sections on: Technicalities for the non-technician; Pre-production planning; Production and audio acquisition; and Editing, Processing, and Mixing.

  • Lots of bulleted tips and step-by-step instructions.

  • Plenty of illustrations that actually demonstrate concepts and techniques.

  • Not tied down to a particular software or hardware platform. Will remain a useful reference for years.

  • Written in easy-to-understand language by a nationally-recognized professional.

  • Accompanying diagnostics, exercises, and audio and video demonstrations on this website. They can be played on your computer or from the text in properly equipped e-readers, and downloaded for your own use.

What's New In The Fourth Edition

Many aspects of our art have changed radically in the past few years.
  • DSLR cameras were just starting to appear when I wrote the last edition; now they're an accepted part of filmmaking.

  • Tapeless workflows are now the norm for both low-end corporate productions and Hollywood blockbusters.

  • There are new rules for working with wireless mics, and a lot more competition for available frequencies in most locations. But there's also a low-cost way for you to get priority access for the frequencies that are left.

  • There are new regulations for broadcast loudness in both the US and Europe, and most networks require that submitted tapes comply with them. It's more than just reading a meter; you also have to understand what to measure. Fortunately, there are some good software meters available for free.

  • There's even a new category of processing plug-ins, using neural network principles to do things that were previously impossible in desktop computers.

I had to cover these areas, while including older equipment and software that's still being used. And I rewrote a lot of the technical explanations to make them even easier to understand, while still keeping them comprehensive and accurate.

It's a lot of material: the fourth edition has 20% more pages than the third one... and that's not counting one whole chapter we moved to the web, to keep costs down. (The new edition needs that much more paper, so a printed copy is just under 20% more expensive than previous versions.)

I also added more insights and from-the-trenches tips from top professionals; coverage of a new kind of collaboration between sound and image during production; and more "How do I fix this?" answers to solve common problems quickly. And for the first time, the book has a dedicated website to support it all.

I'm thrilled with how this edition came out. After a long and happy career creating tracks for just about every medium, winning friends and gaining recognition for my work, I've got the chance to teach the entire sound process in ways that'll be useful to every filmmaker — beginner and experienced pro alike.


Critical comments

Here's what industry experts have said about previous editions:

  • Folks, this book is a treasure chest. Don't call Producing Great Sound for Digital Video by Jay Rose an audio primer or even a reference source, it's much more... It's like taking a class taught by a caring, affable, pro. The writer's intimate and accessible style is what makes this book a great value for anyone interested in audio. Whether you're just starting in the field of digital audio/video production, or are a seasoned pro, you'll find information in this book that will improve your end product.
           -- John Hartney, Creative Cow.com
    Read the full review.

  • There's a lot of technical stuff ... but there's also a lot of ideas that can quickly and easily improve your soundtrack. This is a great book.
           -- Fiona Jackson, nzindie blog
    Read the full review.

  • 5 out of 5. I have been looking for this book for 20 years - no exaggeration. Obviously, I was looking in the wrong places, as this Focal Press paperback is in its third edition. In the first half hour I skimmed through this book, Rose answered many of the technical sound questions I have accumulated over the last fifth of a century... Love the Frequently Asked Questions sidebars of common sound problems and their fixes. The chapter on Editing Voices alone is worth the price tag.
           -- Morgan Parr, Videomaker Magazine
    Read the full review.

  • ...Numerous references to current software and cameras... Digital artists are very much hands-on, and Rose is the right man to write audio books for this new generation of filmmakers... direct experience with DV equipment and projects is apparent throughout the book. Rose largely succeeds in his mission to provide a one-stop source for digital filmmakers to learn everything they need to know to get the job done...
           -- S. D. Katz, Millimeter Magazine
    Read the full review (you'll have to scroll down; a different book is reviewed first).

  • If you are just starting out in video/film production, you will find this book to be lifesaver. If you have been working for a while in the business you will manage to pick up a lot of good tips and tricks to perfect your techniques... I found myself saying "how come I didn't read this book before I started shooting my productions? It would have saved me a lot of pain and agony.... wonderful real world guidance that will make your shows sound a heck of a lot better and save you lots of time and money trying to fix your audio mistakes.
           -- Mark Shapiro, Internet Video Magazine
    Read the full review.

  • 5 out of 5. A very through and practical guide to the audio production process... valuable tips from industry professionals with real-world examples. Whether you are just beginning your adventures in audio and video production or are a seasoned veteran of the production realm, this text includes something for everyone.
           -- Robert Nulph, Videomaker Magazine November 2008
    Read the full review.

  • A truly great book... I really enjoyed the read. This book is an ABSOLUTE MUST if you will be shooting on a budget and doing sound yourself. You'll learn what mics to use in the field, how to fix an echo, how to deal with line noise, cheap fixes for potentially expensive problems--and that's just the beginning.... this book will teach you tips and tricks that will make your head spin. This book can literally save you THOUSANDS in post production.
           -- Biagio Messina, AccessDV
    Read the full review.

  • ...Crammed full of practical advice on recording, editing, and mixing audio for your production, including many of the technical basics.
           -- Trish Meyer, Cybmotion
    Read the full review.

  • Most folks who write about doing sound for moving pictures, on film or on video, focus on the sexy stuff--mostly writing music, sometimes doing foley, often talking technical. Jay Rose doesn't mess around. He digs right into the hardcore side of audio for moving pictures -- recording and editing dialog, sound effects, and music. He debunks common myths, shows the reader how to make do in limited-budget, time-constrained situations, and puts it all in context on a technical level. Producing Great Soundtracks is an invaluable collection of step-by-step how-to information combined with the technical reasons things do or don't work. It's essential reading for anyone serious about making a living doing moving pictures.
           -- Dominic Milano, Digital Video Magazine

  • The most comprehensive, in-depth resource I've found for audio production in the desktop environment... a must-have resource for professionals involved in video, multimedia or internet production.
           -- Randy Cates, Videography Magazine

  • Jay Rose brings a wealth of experience to Producing Great Soundtracks... With over 400 pages and many illustrations, the book is replete with facts and useful information.
           -- Dennis Berkla, Videomaker Magazine

  • Rose knows his stuff and presents it well.
            -- Peter Plantec, AV Video Multimedia Producer

  • Jay Rose's Producing Great Soundtracks is one of those crisp, tight, practical how-to books where production insights and experience just leap off the page at you. All focus, no fluff. If you're trying to do audio for video, this book is a must, just to keep you sane!
            -- Dave Moulton, TV Technology Magazine, author Golden Ears ear training course

  • The entire book is fascinating: it's absolutely packed with useful information and tips. ... Digital cameras, inexpensive computers offer all kinds of ways to create visual eye candy, but embryonic filmmakers don't always realize that the picture is only half the story. Producing Great Sound for Digital Video explains how the other half works, what to watch out for, and how to achieve professional results.
            -- Mike Caputo, Amazon.com staff reviewer

  • ...a complete audio training guide as well as a quick problem-solving resource for the working pro... hundreds of real-world techniques to use from preproduction through the final mix. Readers get how-tos, tips, and time-savers, plus tutorials on key skills such as dialogue and music editing... It also includes updates on working techniques, including new software categories for postproduction and new interchange standards.
            -- Walmart.com
    Read the full review.

  • This book delivers proven solutions to specific problems throughout the entire process of creating engaging audio for digital video. Written by a Clio- and Emmy-winning sound designer, he explains hundreds of real-world techniques you can use from pre-production through mix. You get how-tos, tips and time-savers, plus tutorials on key skills such as dialog and music editing. With an audio CD of sample tracks and diagnostic tools.
            -- Wolf Seeberg, Sync Sound and the New Media

  • Rose has created an easy-to-approach text that feels like a one-to-one tutorial between a teacher and his student. Rose's effervescent sense of humor permeates every page with relatable anecdotes from his own life and professional career. Throughout, he preserves a notion he singles out on the first page: Good Soundtracks aren't just a question of art. You also have to understand the science.
            --Chris Kriofske, Imagine 2000 NewsMagazine

  • When an expert who understands what he is talking about -- and Jay Rose is a consummate expert -- writes about audio production, you knew you are onto a winner. Rose knows his subject matter forwards and backwards, and displays a cool, calm air of authority that permeates his writing.

    Starting from first principles, Jay leads us through the often-times confusing world of microphones, mixing and recording formats, until even the most neophyte user can fully understand and -- more usefully -- use the hard ware to produce great soundtracks for all forms of video presentations.

    Undoubtedly, this is a book that's destined to be THE essential work on sound production for project-video users.
            -- Mel Lambert, Media & Marketing (Hollywood) and internationally-respected audio consultant


Reader comments

amazonStarsAmazon.com captured on June 20, 2014 (All Editions)
Click here for live link to Amazon's reader review page. (I'm taking a risk that the reviews stay positive...)

  • I'm an independent animator working on my first feature film... I needed a good place to start, and this book was the one. Get your mind around it and you will be rewarded with the knowledge of how to get perfect sound. Now I'm starting to build my own sound effects library, and I know how to clean it and work with it... I would highly recommend this book, especially to indies or people on a budget.
            January 6, 2012 Reviewer: ZephyrStar

  • This book covers everything I can think of to assist me with a confusing subject, audio production... you can get the high end audio you need for your corporate, commercial, television and internet productions. I highly recommend this book for anyone in the production business. It's the audio bible I use.
            February 28, 2011 Reviewer: R. Cates

  • I'm pretty picky when it comes to buying reference books about anything. The book has to be comprehensive, and it also has to be packed with practical examples, good advice, ... easy to read, understand, and apply. This book definitely lives up to the hype....What more do you want?
            October 11, 2010 Reviewer: Louis S. Carrozzi

  • Tech details, and more importantly, balanced with real world examples, with tried and tested solutions. ... Well written, not too dry and good value. A really useful reference.
            September 25, 2010 Reviewer: A Kid's Review (name suppressed by Amazon)

  • Absolutely amazing book. ...Wonderful tips that I keep handy for times I encounter the situations mentioned here (all the time). I just bought another of Rose's books "Audio Postproduction" to get a better knowledge of how to enhance my capabilities and to see how things are correctly done. Great books!!
            September 9, 2010 Reviewer: Alvaro Calandra (Montevideo, Uruguay)

  • Outstanding Book! If you are learning about sound, this is the book to get. I am going to buy every book Jay Rose has written. He's an excellent, experienced author. Highly recommended.
            August 27, 2010 Reviewer: Tim Warneka

  • If you're going to read only one book on sound this would have to be it. While a lot of sound books come across very dry, technical, and quite frankly can tend to be boring, I actually found Producing Great Sound for Film & Video to be entertaining... most readers will only wish they had read it sooner.
            August 5, 2010 Reviewer: Paul Burns

  • Fantastic, worth every penny... written extremely clearly and thoroughly, without feeling too dry or boring. The author clearly has a sense of humour, as well as a wealth of experience of working on soundtracks for a large range of budgets (corporate to feature film). I actually read it cover to cover, and have dipped into it several times since.
            March 19, 2010 Reviewer: T. Dowse

  • Just what I was looking for... Sound is the vehicle that communicates the message. This book is exclusively about audio and it is very thorough. It gave me the confidence to handle the audio part.
            February 1, 2010 Reviewer: K. J. Broekema (Roosendaal Netherlands)

  • This book is well written; clear, concise, and thorough, loaded with a wealth of knowledge, and the productions tips are to die for. A must read for anyone who is serious about their storytelling.
            March 15, 2009 Reviewer: R.X.Garcia (Los Angeles)

  • If you only buy one book on sound, this is it ... 20 years ago I used to be the "The Amp Doctor" fixing commercial PA systems, I was an electrical engineer after that, but I recently decided to make documentaries... I got several books on sound, I figure buy six, one has to be good. You can save your money, this book was the one in six. It all becomes much clearer after reading this book. Not only does this guy know his stuff, even more importantly, he knows how to communicate it.... some authors will tell you something is bad or wrong, with no explanation.. Jay gives you good examples. Borrow money if you have too.. but buy it.
            September 8, 2006 Reviewer: Brian R. Findlay "brfindla" (Merrimack, NH USA)

  • I've often been taken in by large reference books that promise to be a comprehensive guide to a subject, but turn out to be a lot of filler (screen shots of PC applications, or an excuse for the author to give lots of less-than-useful anectodal stories, etc.) Not so with Jay Rose's 'Producing Great Sound'. This informative guide covers a lot of ground, including sound theory, equipment explanations and use, and techniques for sound production including NLE tips, audio mixing... The great thing about this book is it is written with the expectation that your sound production values should be professional, but it's still accessible to hobbyists and those on a budget. I learned a lot from this great work.
            January 4, 2006 Reviewer: N. Utzig (Princeton, MA)

  • After spending years and years trying to get my recordings to sound the way I wanted them to, Jay Rose showed me how. This is the best book I've ever found on digital audio... and for audio recording in general. He taught me how to set up the gear and use sound absorbing material... how to use equalizers, compressors, and other gear better than I ever imagined possible... Now my tapes sound better than some of the professional ones!
            February 12, 2002 (about the first edition) Reviewer: Ed Bernd Jr. from Laredo, TX

  • If you are interested in using audio for anything from location sound to post, this book is a must read. Even if think you know enough already, Jay will teach some fun tricks, time savers, and just plain great techniques for gathering and editing sound. Sound gathering is far from simple but Jay lays it all out for you in an easy to refer to manual.
           December 7, 2002 Reviewer: avatar71 from Seattle, WA

via e-mail

  • Just a quick note to tell you that using your text "Producing Great Sound for Digital Video" in my basic audio production course was a big success. The test scores were significantly higher than in the past... thanks for sharing the knowledge
            May 13, 2003 Len Barish

  • I've been poring over tons of production books in the past few months in preparation to attend graduate film school... yours has by far been the most comprehensive and comprehensible of the lot. Your candor, wit, and clarity made "Creating Great Sound" not only an informative manual, but also a good read... thanks for your help in passing on the knowledge of the masters to us "Ambitious Newbies."
            January 7, 2004 Kris Maxwell


Table of Contents and Sample Text


About the Author

Jay Rose CAS is a Clio and Emmy-winning sound designer, and proprietor of The Digital Playroom -- a creative audio-for-video boutique. Playroom projects have included:
  • Network identity packages for PBS
  • Documentaries for A&E, Discovery, Versus, and other national networks
  • Dozens of festival-winning indie films
  • Hundreds of high-end corporate, sales, and training films
  • Theatrical sound design for MGM.
  • Rose was also a featured columnist for ten years at DV Magazine, a founding blogger at ProVideo Coalition, and a lecturer at MacWorld, other conferences, and professional meetings. He has designed audio processing software for pro studio manufacturers Orban and Eventide. He is a member of the Cinema Audio Society and past officer of the Audio Engineering Society.


    For Classroom Use

    Many colleges are using Producing Great Sound in their film and video programs, as a complete soundtrack course that students can keep as a reference after graduating. A Teacher's Guide is available from Focal Press (free registration required).


    How to buy Producing Great Sound

      Amazon.com sells the book at $47, a 15% discount*.

      Save On Textbooks lists a bunch of US sellers asking between $35 - $47 including shipping*. You'll have to do your own research into delivery and other policies.

    If you hear of other good discounts, please and I'll post it here. (My royalty is only a couple of bucks per copy, no matter where you buy it.)

    For what it's worth, the e-book versions are somewhat cheaper.

    E-book and print versions both include access to the online content.

    * Discounts are up to the vendor, and subject to change. I'll post updates as I'm aware of them.


    May 7, 2014 & updates