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Review: Focal Easy Guide to DVD Studio Pro 3

January, 2005

Focal Easy Guide to DVD Studio Pro 3
For new users and professionals

The Focal Easy Guide Series

Written by Rick Young

Published by Focal Press
ISBN 0240519345
US List price: $24.95, Street price $16.49
219 pages
Purchase in the lafcpug store.

Review By Steve Douglas

Now this book is different, wonderfully so. Addressed more so to the newer user of DVD Studio Pro 3 than to the experienced professional, Rick Young's book is magnificently studded with beautiful color graphics and illustrations that make it a joy to look at and use. These color graphics are large, very easy to read and are printed on high quality paper. No squinting to look at and figure out the many displayed settings and pictures here. It is smaller in size and thinner than many of the 600 page behemoth books and manuals that are on the market and for this book that is a real plus.

The Focal Easy Guide to DVD Studio Pro 3 is designed to get the user directly up and running with the least amount of confusion and frustration. At the same time, no segment in the process of creating finished DVDs while using either the basic or advanced modes are ignored. Initial chapters cover all the basics from setup, preparation, and using your assets and lead naturally to further chapters focusing on using the templates, creating markers in Final Cut Pro, developing slideshows and full coverage of the use of the inspector and simulator. Naturally, this all leads you to the sequential use of the advanced mode illustrating how best to create and apply subtitles, graphics, adding DVD-ROM content and the use of the standard and alpha transitions new to DVD Studio Pro 3.

While Rick Young addressed the integration of Final Cut Pro and Adobe Photoshop and the exporting of assets from these programs, no mention is made of the use of Apple's Motion and how to create and use content within Motion for use in SP-3. For that, you may need to go elsewhere.

In chapter 15, there are included some very interesting interviews with a few of the leaders in the field of DVD production. I found their views on where the DVD production and content of the future to be thought provoking not only as to what their portent for the future might be, but on how they see simplicity of DVD production versus the complex multilayered menus many of us utilize to be at odds with what is pragmatic and useful. It made me want to rethink some of my own methods.

So what do we have here? A brief review for an easy to follow book short on pages but long on excellent and useful information and guidelines, what more is necessary?

Steve Douglas is an underwater videographer and contributor to numerous film festivals around the world. A winner of the 1999 Pacific Coast Underwater Film Competition, 2003 IVIE competition, and the 2004 Los Angeles Underwater Photographic competition, Steve has also worked on the feature film "The Deep Blue Sea", recently contributed footage to the Seaworld parks for their new Atlantis production, and is one of the principal organizers of the San Diego UnderSea Film Exhibition. Steve leads both African safari and underwater filming expeditions with upcoming filming excursions to Costa Rica, Kenya and Bali. Feel free to contact him if you are interested in joining him on any of these trips.

Review copyright © Steve Douglas 2004

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