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Review: Final Cut Pro 5 for Mac OS X: Visual QuickPro Guide

August, 2005

Final Cut Pro 5 for Mac OS X: Visual QuickPro Guide
By Lisa Brenneis.
Published by Peachpit Press.
List price: $29.99
lafcpug Store price: $19.79
766 pages

Review by Steve Douglas

Once we cut away from all the hyperbole surrounding the latest and greatest books regarding Final Cut Pro we are left standing before the altar of probably the very best Final Cut Pro reference book out there. From Lisa Brenneis' first edition of 'Final Cut Pro for Macintosh' to, this, the newest version for Final Cut Pro 5 for OS X, this series remains as the standard bearer for users from beginners to advanced.

To the uninitiated, this is not a FCP book on how to be creative with a load of tutorial projects to follow along with. This is a reference book that brings you up to date with all the workings of Final Cut Pro including, as one would expect, important references to the many new features found in version 5. These include using the RT Extreme with Dynamic RT, higher quality effects and a more intimate integration with Apple's other applications, DVD Studio Pro, Motion 2, Livetype and Soundtrack Pro.

New in Final Cut Pro 5 is the long sought after feature enabling multiclip editing. I have already viewed a few tutorials on this feature elsewhere, many of them excellently done. Never the less, Lisa Brenneis covers the topic superbly, bringing the user along sequentially in easy to use and understand steps.

Forgot how to accomplish something in FCP? This is the book to have by your side, go to the index, look it up and jump to that section where you will find clear and concise, step-by-step instructions as well as alternative methods. In fact, one of the books strongest features is its excellent indexing of all the applications Final Cut Pro has to offer.

For the intermediate and advanced user a page by page read through is unnecessary. You will jump from topic to topic as is needed. That is what a good reference book provides; easy to find information and references.

While the beginner might be overwhelmed by the depth and amount of information found in this book, she will, unquestionably, find that as she learns more about using FCP, more and more in this book will provide startling epiphanies. "I didn't know I could do that, cool" will be an often repeated phrase. I guarantee it!

And with that guarantee, I can't recommend this book enough. I've said it many times before to so many editors; this is the book I keep closest at hand to go to first when in need. You should too.

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, 2004 Los Angeles Underwater Photographic competition, and the prestigious 2005 International Beneath the Sea Film Competition, Steve has also worked on the feature film "The Deep Blue Sea", contributed footage to the Seaworld parks for their Atlantis production, and is one of the principal organizers of the San Diego UnderSea Film Exhibition. Steve leads both underwater filming expeditions and African safaris with upcoming filming excursions to Kenya, Bali and the Red Sea. Feel free to contact him if you are interested in joining Steve on any of these trips.

copyright © Steve Douglas 2005

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