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Review: Final Cut Pro 6 - Beyond the Basics

April, 2008



Final Cut Pro 6 - Beyond the Basics
By Michael Wohl Apple Pro Training Series - $54.99

Review by Steve Douglas

Released recently is a new addition to the arsenal of Final Cut Pro based books, 'Final Cut Pro 6 Beyond the Basics' by Michael Wohl. This book is massive in length coming in at 678 pages and is designed to bring the editor from the basic workings and editing techniques used in Final Cut Pro to the next level of mastery.

Typical of the Apple Pro Training Series of books is an accompanying disc full of media and project sources which enable you to follow along on a variety of projects, each exploring a new phase or skill level designed to enhance your understanding and use of the many options and tools within Final Cut.

Additionally, typical of the Pro Training Series is that how you use this book is very much up to you. While it can never hurt to follow along sequentially from beginning to end, it is understood that if you have purchased this book, some chapter focuses may be more of interest, or need, than others. Thus, skipping to anywhere in the book can be just as beneficial as a start to end read. Keep in mind that simply following a bunch of tutorial steps will not necessarily teach the understanding of what and why you are taking those steps. Anyone can follow the numbers but it is up to the user and reader of this book to confirm that they understand the purpose of the given directions so that this comprehension can be applied to their own project sequences.

Beyond the Basics is divided into 5 major sections, Advanced Editing, Sound Editing, Visual Effects, Color Correction and Project Management. Each of these sections contains several chapters relating to that specific aspect of the editing workflow. Chapter 16's lesson on Tapeless Importing and Outputting is very well done. Unfortunately, the short section on creating video for HD DVDs is no longer relevant since Toshiba's decision to give up the ship on HD. In the Visual Effects section a well written lesson on Nesting Sequences is also a stand out and will help those who may be bewildered as to how to efficiently and creatively work with nested sequences. Mixing and roundtripping from Final Cut Pro and Soundtrack is the major focus of the Sound Mixing lessons and the lessons covering Variable Speed were well demonstrated.

Retaining the belief that this book is intended for the editor already familiar with Final Cut Pro, I was dismayed that not much was covered on the use of HD or HDV footage and codecs. There was no mention of Pro Res in the index but maybe it was hidden here somewhere and I just didn't see it. The media reflected several genres of footage from surfing videos, motorcross, dancers and a bar scene. While several clips were widescreen most of the media was shot in 4:3 720x480. In my opinion, it is time, and especially in a book aimed at the more advanced user, to stick to downconverted HD or HDV 16x9 footage for media resources. That said, 'Final Cut Pro 6 Beyond the Basics' by Michael Wohl is a comprehensive course for those who feel the need to go beyond the knowledge and skills they already possess.

Steve Douglas is a certified Apple Pro for Final Cut Pro 6 and underwater videographer. A winner of the 1999 Pacific Coast Underwater Film Competition, 2003 IVIE competition, 2004 Los Angeles Underwater Photographic competition, and the prestigious 2005 International Beneath the Sea Film Competition, where he also won the Stan Waterman Award for Excellence in Underwater Videography and 'Diver of the Year', Steve was a safety diver on the feature film "The Deep Blue Sea", contributed footage to the Seaworld Park's Atlantis production, the History channel's MegaDisaster show and other networks. Steve is one of the founding organizers of the San Diego UnderSea Film Exhibition and leads both underwater filming expeditions and African safaris with upcoming excursions to Indonesia and the Coco Islands, Costa Rica in 2008, Kenyan safari in Africa and the Red Sea for 2009, and Truk Lagoon in Micronesia for 2010. Feel free to contact him if you are interested in joining Steve on any of these exciting trips.


copyright © Steve Douglas 2008

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