Review by: Sable Jak
This is not a book to simply glance through and then put on your shelf and pull out now and then. If you're involved in sound at all, I doubt you could do that. This is a book to carry with you in the field, have next to your computer, in your editing suite and taped to your cereal box so you can read it while you have breakfast.
There is so much information in this thing I don't even know where to begin, so I'll tell you a little set-up information first:
I recorded my own audio drama serial last year (2008) and I wish I'd had this before I started. It sure would have helped stop a lot of stumbling and fumbling around. At the same time, it's more than a little nice now and then to find a piece of information in it that lets me know I did something right... on occasion.
Viers knows his business. He's worked in film, radio, television and video games for years. According to his bio he's one of the world's largest independent providers of sound effects, with over 150,000 sounds and 150 sound libraries. He's also created sound libraries for large companies.
He's taken all that experience and crammed it into 326 fully-loaded pages. He starts out by explaining what sound effects are, from natural to manufactured to designed. Why start with such a basic? Because he's all about understanding what you're doing. So, if the chapter on the science of sound may seem like it's reiterating an old science class, remember; who among us can't benefit from a refresher course?
Not being mechanically/technically inclined I appreciated his information on microphones and their accessories, and even how to put together a portable recording package. In addition to helping you build your own Foley stage (complete with pictures, yippee) he covers studio equipment, recording in the field, recording Foley and working with a database. There's so much information it's hard to absorb it all. I'd like to say it's best taken in small increments, and for someone who works best by doing, it is, but at the same time, there's so much here you want to keep reading in case the next page contains something vital to your current project. However, keep in mind the book is laid out so you can quick reference specific needs without having to wade through unrelated information.
I have to say, some of the hard core technical information is a little hard for me to understand, even though it's written very clearly. But the more I read, the more I work on projects and the more I use this book, the more I will, and do, understand. I say this because to me it seems that Viers knows that having a good reference guide at hand is always a help, no matter how much you do or don't know.
In short, I highly recommend this book.
Author: Writing the Fantasy Film