The Focal Easy Guide to Final Cut Pro 7 Paperback – 31 Dec 2009
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About the Author
Director and Founding Member of the UK Final Cut Pro User Group and an Apple Solutions Expert. A freelance television director and editor with many years of broadcast experience, including work for the BBC, Sky, ITN, CNBC and Reuters. Also a Final Cut Pro Consultant, Rick has attended numerous UK and US exhibitions, is a liaison to the US FCP user groups, and author of the best-selling series The Focal Easy Guides to Final Cut Pro.
Top Customer Reviews
Well laid out content and written in a style which is not too 'tech-ey' (which is quite an achievement bearing in mind how 'tech-ey' Final Cut Pro is!!)
I have come to Final Cut Pro with little expererience with video editing software (just a basic grasp of iMovie) and this book has guided me through the process very well thus far . . .
Only reason I haven't given '5-stars' is that I have not yet completed my first project through to 'Output' so have yet to confirm the same quality for this stage of the process . .
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I have a long-standing habit of reading instructional books and manuals long before I get my hands on the actual product, and Rick Young's book is the latest addition to that list. I have experience with Final Cut Express 4.0, and much of what Young covers is applicable to that product, so I felt pretty comfortable covering the material in text without getting a chance to go hands-on.
Young concentrates primarily on workflows, prefacing each with a description of why you will need to use the tool--and make no mistake, to use FCP effectively, you WILL need to use almost everything Young addresses, one way or another. There are a number of tools he skips over, yes, and he does so quite intentionally: when you're trying to get your feet wet with a product, the last thing you need to be worrying about is one of the more esoteric tools--no matter how powerful--that you won't be able to employ until you have a foundation of understanding and experience with the software.
The workflows are concise and include many full-color screenshots and interface excerpts so that you know exactly what to click and when. The only complaint I have about the formatting is that the process steps are often flowed around the images in a way that will occasionally split steps: you may complete a step only to find yourself searching a bit for the next one. Small complaint, really.
Another, less obvious "feature" I like is that the book is smaller than these sorts of technical books usually are: rather than having a big, clumsy book to balance while you're trying to work your way through the process, the more compact format of Young's book makes it easy to hold one-handed, or prop up between your keyboard and your monitor. For a guide book intended to help you learn hands-on processes, the importance of the book's ease of handling can't be overstated.
Definitely a worthwhile book to have when you're learning FCP7: in sharp contrast to many other Final Cut Studio technical guides, you won't find yourself drowning in an ocean of Too Much Information.
Contents: The book starts by giving you a history lesson on film editing - interesting, but not crucial to learning the program. It then moves on to the steps for installing the program and settings its preferences. Afterward it walks you through: Capture and Transfer, Organizing your footage, Editing, Rendering, Effects, Audio, Encoding and Output, High Definition, and Multi-cam.
If you need help with improving the raw video this book is disappointing. If your video just needs to be cut into clips and re-ordered or you want to include some special effects, then it competes with Diana Weynand's Final Cut Pro 7 (576 pages, same price-which I own).
I found the instructions to be be easy to follow and understand. But one of the URL links was outdated e.g. the one for downloading Apple's Alpha transitions. Since it said it was there, through diligence, I was able to eventually find the transitions on Apple's site.
Final verdict: I must admit that I, who have had Final Cut Pro since it was first created, did learn a thing or two. So I have to give it points for that. Although it does a pretty good job of covering the basics, it falls short in being a complete manual. Whole sections are missed, e.g. many tools such as color correction are completely skipped. Also, most manuals cover what all the menu items are for. Not this book. It just covers the ones needed to do basic functions.
Would it be useful for a new user to get the basics? Yes. Would it be of use for the advanced user? Probably not.
The content is direct and to the point, unlike much thicker books which tend to ramble on and stray off course. The book also delves into detailed information on the different media types to provide the user information on the best way to import data from the various types of media, such as SD and CF cards.
One specific area covered, that I found extremely helpful, gets into the use of SSD hard drives, and how they can provide Final Cut Pro users an option to get the most out of them, should they decide to purchase this type of storage device.
The section on multicams is useful to know, especially if you plan to move into this area as I do. Final Cut Pro, along with this book will really help out folks who are serious about video editing.
I can tell you from experience, most video editing tools on the market are a waste of time, resulting in frustration and disappointment.
1. Terms Defined
2. Workflow Overview
3. Media Management
4. Creating Clips
5. Building Video Tracks
6. Editing Audio Tracks
7. Creating Effects
8. Adding Transitions
9. Adding Titles
10. Flatten the File
11. Output the File to DVD
A. The Apple Computer
B. FCP's Interface
C. Other FC Studio Programs
However, you can see by examining the book's Table of Contents via Amazon's "Search Inside" feature that a few of the above-listed chapters are missing. Critical chapters that I wanted but did not see in this tome were 1, 2, and appendix C (as listed herein above). If the book had defined its terms, given us a simple but thorough overview of the video editing workflow process, and then given us chapters on each of the stages in the workflow as described, we would have had a pretty good book worthy of at least 4 stars and if well written then 5 stars.
But what is the difference between footage, clips, scenes, sequences, and tracks? What is the difference between capturing and importing? What is the overall definition of "editing?" Why wasn't there a chapter on just Effects, one on just Transitions, and one on just Titles? Furthermore, I saw no need for Chapter 11 on high definition, and Chapter 12 on multicam since the book was clearly one for novices.
Final Cut Pro is a great program, but it doesn't work in a vacume. It is part of suite of programs, and I think there should have been an appendix chapter that would have at least identified, explained, and interrelated the other programs that work with Final Cut Pro. The introduction and chapters 1 and 2 were fine and dandy, but they probably belonged in appendices rather than in the front of the book. The book really should have been centered on workflow, not on the basics of the computer or the software interface per se.
Bottom line, if you are totally new to Final Cut Pro there is a lot of good information in this book. Unfortunately it was not presented in an easy to understand manner. You will almost certainly have to struggle reading, taking notes, and then organizing your notes so the book will have meaning for you. In my humble opinion such a book cannot be awarded anything higher than a average rating. 3 stars!
PS. One other point. I didn't think it was appropriate to make so many references to how things were done before Final Cut Pro came into existence. I didn't need a history lesson. I just wanted a straightforward tome on the basics of Final Cut Pro. To compare and contrast how things were done then and how they can be done now made things way to complicated (at least for me).
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