There are two types of people who will buy Jay
Rose’s Audio Postproduction for Digital Video . The first group consists of anyone who wants to learn more or fine tune their audio post production skills in today’s nonlinear
editing environments. The second group will buy the book because they have immediate audio problems they wish to solve. Neither group will be disappointed.
For those who have immediate audio concerns, the author leads into his book with the first chapter, appropriately titled
"Help". This chapter covers the most frequently asked technical questions regarding digital audio post, and answers each issue with quick tips, or references other places in the book where
you can find more in-depth information and solutions for any particular problems. The issues covered include volume levels in your NLE, distortion or other anomalies in your tracks, problems
with lip-sync, mixing problems and even "random strangeness" such as dropouts and static in your dubs. Once you have identified and solved your specific issues, you can continue with the rest
of the book, which is where the real learning begins.
The next few chapters cover the basics of sound. This book cuts through the hype and technical jargon that is sometimes
found in books on sound engineering, and gives its readers a comprehensive, yet easily understandable foundation regarding digital audio basics. The book covers how analog and digital sound
works, before taking you through a tour of how NLE suites can be designed with audio post in mind. Several chapters focus on editing room acoustics. audio equipment and wiring, before turning
towards teaching you how to choose your audio workstation software. It's refreshing that this book is not platform or program specific. It focuses instead on good and fair overviews of what
to look for when designing your edit suite for audio postproduction.
The rest of the book focuses on the actual work that you will do on your tracks. No stone is left unturned in the audio
postproduction process. The text starts with how to plan and budget a good soundtrack, and then takes you through every step you might take to get to a great sounding presentation.
Chapter 7 covers how to get audio into your NLE while maintaining sync and quality. It covers the different types of time
code and other methods of maintaining video and audio sync. This chapter also offers the single best explanation that I've seen when it comes to how and why analog and digital audio levels
are typically measured and monitored.
After a brief chapter on voiceover recording and dialog replacement, we come to what ended up being both my most
and least favorite section of the book. It's my favorite because Chapter 9 is where the author teaches us how to edit dialog. He covers waveform based techniques, but quickly goes on
to show us how to train our ear so we can perfect what he calls "audio based editing". I wish I had several spiral bound copies of this section, so I could give it to most of the video
editors that I know. This chapter covers phonetic-based editing and teaches some great techniques for editing within your talent’s audio passages, to get the best final performance
possible. This and the following chapter consist of what I would call "advanced" audio editing techniques, which are guaranteed to take you farther and faster than your NLE manual ever will.
If you master these techniques, you will truly understand how good editors "fix it in post".
Chapter 10 continues with some great techniques for editing music, but is also the part of the book where I got slightly
annoyed. While most of the book is indeed "software agnostic", the section on "finding" your music direct readers heavily towards the "DeWolfe" music library. There is nothing wrong with
pointing out how good and versatile the "DeWolfe" collections are (it's my personal experience that they are very good indeed) . The problem is that while the author briefly mentions
that there are "other" music libraries that could suit your needs, he doesn't give any of them anywhere near the coverage that he gives DeWolfe. It's understandable that he would want to
promote them, given that they provided the majority of cuts for use on the book’s companion audio CD, but I could have done without the blatant plugs for DeWolfe in the "Hear for yourself"
sections of the book. To the author’s credit he does list at least three different sources of sound effects libraries, even though "Hollywood Edge" has a sound effects demo at the end of the
companion audio CD. Product plugs not withstanding, the techniques and tips in these sections are immediately useful and the author offers a multitude of ways to get what you need out of your
After covering how to work with sound effects, the book moves into its more complex subjects, such as equalization,
dynamics control and time and pitch based effects. The author contends that these subjects are among the most misunderstood topics among audio post-production professionals, and spends quite
a bit of time covering these issues.
This is one of several places in the book that even producers who have substantial audio production experience will learn
a few things. The book is recommended for the "novice to advanced" levels, and these sections definitely target the seasoned audio professional.
The book wraps up with a comprehensive overview of "The Mix". There are a lot of considerations to take into account when
mixing your projects and preparing them for final delivery. This section covers both the aesthetics of the final mix and the most common compression and delivery formats you may face. The
information is presented clearly and the author takes it even farther by covering some things to do after you've given your client the final master.
While most of the book shies away from creative and philosophical concerns (except where they are tied to technical
issues), the "Afterword" is an introspective "behind the scenes" look at the author's working philosophy. It's obvious that Jay Rose loves his work and I can appreciate how that his love of
the craft translated into his attention to detail while writing this book. (I did find a couple of spelling errors and mismatched references in the book, but all of the concepts presented
are solid and proven.)
I must also mention the "cookbooks" that are scattered throughout the book. These are step-by-step instructions on how to
solve particular issues that you might come across. Although they can never match your specific problems exactly, they provide a good starting point for troubleshooting several common hurdles
you might face.
The technical tables, illustrations and visual examples provided throughout the book are by themselves worth the cover
price, and the author’s sense of humor and positive attitude throughout the text only add to the enjoyment of what could have been a very dry subject.
While the author is brilliant in his choice of words to describe certain philosophical and technical concepts, the
companion audio CD serves to augment and clarify many of his points with examples that would have been next to impossible to describe using text alone. The CD also contains several files that
can be loaded into your NLE to work along with specific "tutorials" in the book.
This book contains over 400 pages of great information, plus almost an hour of material on the companion CD, so if you
are serious about improving you audio post, plan on spending quite a bit of time with "Audio Postproduction for Digital Video". The time that you spend with this book will be well worth the
benefits and knowledge that you'll gain.