There are three main stages in the workflow for sound and music creation:  pre-production, when you design your project and choose your basic equipment; production, when you record and edit the sound; and post-production, when you mix and master the sound (for CDs and DVDs) and deliver it, either live or on a permanent storage medium.  In this chapter, we examine these three steps as they apply to sound, regardless of its ultimate purpose – including music destined for CD, DVD, or the web; sound scores for film or video; or music and sound effects for live theatre performances.  The three main stages can be further divided into a number of steps, with some variations depending on the purpose and delivery method of the sound.

  • Pre-production

o   Designing and composing sound and music

o   Analyzing recording needs (choosing microphones, hardware and software, recording environment, etc.), making a schedule, and preparing for recording

  • Production

o   Recording, finding, and/or synthesizing sound and music

o   Creating sound effects

o   Synchronizing

  • Post-production

o   Audio processing individual tracks and mixing tracks (applying EQ, dynamics processing, special effects, stereo separation, etc.)

o   Overdubbing

o   Mastering (for CD and DVD music production)

o   Finishing the synchronization of sound and visual elements (for production of sound scores for film or video)

o   Channeling output

Clearly, all of this work is based on the first important, creative step – sound design and/or music composition.  Design and composition are very big topics in and of themselves and are beyond the scope of this book.  In what follows, we assume that for the most part the sound that is to be created has been designed or the music to be recorded has been composed, and you’re ready to make the designs and compositions come alive.