Field recording is a unique craft. It is practiced under very specific circumstances: field recording captures real sound effects beyond the controlled environment of a sound studio.
That makes field recording tricky to learn. I have mentioned in the past that some schools touch upon field recording in film and recording courses (article one, article two), as do actual field recording workshops. Generally, though, field recording is learned via exploration or apprenticeship. A dedicated, academic method of learning field recording has yet to emerge.
Of course, there’s a more immediate way to learn field recording: by reading. I’ve been collecting links to field recording books for some time. So, today’s article presents a resource for those of you that want to sit back and flip through a good book about the craft of field recording.
Covering Audio From Every Angle
Pro audio news website The Audio Spotlight has the most extensive list of sound books I’ve found so far. They have six separate pages of them, divided by category:
- Audio mastering books.
- Audio mixing books.
- Audio recording books.
- Film audio books.
- Game audio books.
- General audio books.
Each page has a comprehensive summary of each book. The audio recording books page is the best area to look for books about field recording.
Summer Sound Recording Reads
A great Tonebenders podcast assembled a solid list of pro audio books. On their list are titles from sound designer Ric Viers, game audio pro Rob Bridgett, and noted field recordist Gordon Hempton.
As always, the podcast itself is worth a listen.
You can also find a quick list of the books on the episode page.
Sound Design Books
Popular sound pro website Designing Sound has covered audio books extensively. They curated two lists of sound books, helpfully organized by category. While the lists cover a lot of topics, there are a few good sound effects- and field recording-specific reads.
- Sound Design Essentials: Books.
- Sound Design Essentials: 6 Recommended Books and 11 Google Book Links.
- Find more audio books on Designing Sound.
The comments on each page have bonus suggestions not in the articles themselves.
Conceptual Field Recording Books
I interviewed Stuart Fowkes about his Cities and Memory sound mapping and field recording remixing project last year.
Fowkes recently published Seven Essential Field Recording Books. This list is a bit more focused on field recording itself. Most of the books approach the craft from a philosophical slant. Books toward the end of the list become enticingly conceptual as they examine how sound effects recording plays with ideas of location and space.
Other Field Recording Book Links
Here are a few other links to field recording books I’ve recently found:
- Caught by the River – An Antidote to Indifference, A Field Recording Special by Cheryl Tipp (Issue 6).
- In The Field: The Art of Field Recording by Cathy Lane and Angus Carlyle.
More Field Recording Books
I’ll keep adding more books to this page as time goes on.
Do you know of any field recording books, or lists that should be included here? Email me and I’ll add it to the list.