This is an ambitious book, that would be a great place to start for anyone who wants to get familiar with the Adobe Creative Suite programs focused on working with pre-captured video. As such it would be perfect for the filmmaker or video producer getting started with Adobe. There are lots of guides on individual programs, but this is the only one of its kind, that focuses on all of the programs that are most likely to be useful for the film and video producer. It should also be noted that while there are a number of beginner's and advanced guides focused on After Effects, there are only a few books focused on Premiere Pro, and none that I'm aware of focused on Soundbooth or Encore CS5 (there are some packages of Lynda Video Tutorials focused on those). In fact, my main reason for taking a look at it was to see what textbook I should recommend to students who want to get started with Adobe for filmmaking. This is an excellent text for beginners, especially for those who have some experience with basic editing but really want to push their post-production skills to the next level and learn how to fine tune and enhance their work using the other Adobe products. Especially useful for students are the "Project Builder" sections at the end of each chapter - that are effectively like homework assignments, asking the reader to try out the skills they've just learned by practicing on some additional projects that are included on the dvd.
Each of the focused sections reads like a quick version of the kind of thing you'd get with the more detailed "Classroom in a Book" guides to each program. They explain the basic concepts, and then give you directions for using the project files included on the dvd that comes with this book, to create various different types of projects. Projects are explained clearly enough to follow along for beginners, but it would probably help to have some experience with at least one of the Adobe Creative Suite programs before getting started. The book does move more quickly than, say, the "Classroom in a Book" lessons, and one of the things about all of Adobe's programs is that they're very precise, so that if you miss a step or if you have the wrong thing selected, thing's won't work in the way they say. Moving more quickly in this book means it's less likely they've anticipated every misstep a beginner might make, which explains why a couple of the other reviewers might have gotten stuck. As another reviewer mentioned, though, that means that you have to work some of this out on your own, and I often find that's when I learn the most. Many beginner's guides to software read like recipe books that explain exactly what to do at each step - and that helps to get through a lot of material quickly, but I appreciate the more open-ended project assignments at the end of each chapter as ways to really build upon the basics and solidify skills.
Other reviewers have noted that this is not a reference guide, but I don't think that's a reason to knock it. There's no way to have a thorough reference guide in a single book that covers all of what this book manages to cover. It's set up to give you a quick hands-on look at what's possible in each of the Adobe video production programs and also to show how they can be used together: to edit video (Premiere Pro), fine tune scenes and add effects (After Effects), sweeten the audio (Soundbooth) and publish to dvd or Blu-Ray (Encore). It's put together well, and clearly illustrated. Highly recommended.