I’ve wanted to get this book for quite some time, but at a $60 (retail) price I was always putting it on the ‘someday’ list. Well, Someday came and I snagged it up for about $10 on clearance at Barnes and Noble. It’s a little worn, but not bad enough that I wouldn’t want to get it.
This book was written by J.W. Rinzler with a forward by Ben Burtt. Anything by J.W. Rinzler is bound to be well written and entertaining to read. This one is no exception, which I find to be impressive. Because, well, it’s a book about SOUNDS. How can a book about sounds be interesting? Well, first – as just mentioned – Rinzler wrote this book of sounds; second – it’s about STAR WARS sounds. While these two would be enough to want me to pick it up and read it, the awesome people at Chronicle Books allowed it to go forward with a built in library of these sounds from Star Wars.
As you can see in the photo, there is a built in display with a speaker, and headphone jack, that allows the reader to actually play the sounds that are being discussed in the book. The book focuses a lot on Ben Burtt, and rightfully so, and his awesome work in sound over the past 30+ years. I believe it was with him that the term ‘Sound Design’ became a common phrase, at the very least Ben made it famous.
The book starts with Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope and covers each feature film through Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and ends with the animated series, Star Wars The Clone Wars. Each film has it’s own section, and within each section there are descriptions on how key sounds were created by Ben and his team. There is usually a photo of the scene in the film portraying the sound with a number next to the photo. This number corresponds to the sound recording in the audio library that comes with the book. So while reading about the creation of the sound and how it was used in the film, the reader can select the sound and play the sound that has been isolated from the rest of the sounds of the film.
There are over 250 sounds included in the library! From lightsabers to blasters to starship engines, etc., etc. there are so many sounds to listen to. The first time I sat down to read and listen, I didn’t get past the first scene from the first movie! This book will take days and days to get through it all and is well worth the $60 retail price, not to mention the clearance price that I paid for it. I want to thank J.W. Rinzler, Ben Burtt and Chronicle Books for putting this awesome book together and for their fine work in creating this memorable and fun book. If you have the chance to purchase this book, I more than recommend it to anyone and everyone.