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Review - Getting Started in Final Cut Pro

February, 2006


Getting Started in Final Cut Pro
Ripple Taining

Available in the lafcpug store




Review by Steve Douglas

My biggest beef is 'Where the heck was this tutorial disc when Final Cut Pro first came out? I sure could have used it in the stone age of non-linear editing applications. Aimed at the beginner to intermediate user of FCP this tutorial disc is just the ticket to getting a new user up and running with confidence in what they are doing. Hosted by Steve Martin of Ripple Training, Getting Started in Final Cut Pro is definitely one of the best and most user-friendly discs I have come across. As always with the Ripple Training discs I have previewed or used before, the quality is as consistent as ever with an easily resizable window enabling you to run the tutorial chapters at the same time as you have your own Final Cut Pro project up. Switching back and forth between the disc and your FCP interface couldn't be easier. Steve Martin's narration is clear and easy to understand and, more importantly, the pacing of the various tasks is slow enough to follow without getting confused or lost. Unfortunately, I have seen many tutorial discs that simply speed along at such a rapid pace that following along without frequent reversing was nigh impossible. That is not the case here.

If you do not have your own media to work with, that is no problem. Steve provides 35 separate QuickTime and AIFF media files and 3 projects, which you can use to complete each step of the tutorials. Divided into 15 individual chapters, Getting Started in Final Cut Pro, covers just about everything the beginner will need to know in order to feel comfortable. As to be expected, and would be required, are chapters on capturing footage, understanding the interface, creating and using the timeline, audio mixing, editing tools on the tool bar and the use and application of transitions and filters. And there is so much more! In addition, each chapter has its own sub-menu, which you can use to bring yourself to the specific tool or technique you are seeking. Each of the 15 chapters may be viewed individually by accessing the 'Lessons' folder's individual QuickTime movie for each chapter or by bringing up the Quicktime film entitled "The Whole Enchilada" which contains the entire contents of the disc in one movie. It is up to you to decide which way you want to use this disc and what works best for you.

This lesson on the slip tool was typically clear and easy to follow.

As I stated before, Getting Started in Final Cut Pro is aimed at the beginner or the intermediate editor who seeks a more thorough grounding in the use of Final Cut Pro. You will not find extensive tutorials on the use of Alpha channels or advanced motion graphic effects nor should the purchaser of this excellent tutorial disc expect to. Ripple Training has simply created a tutorial that really does achieve its initial aims, to familiarize the student with the interface and its many components, the primary use of the many tools and with the necessary use and understanding of composite modes, filters, transitions, multi cam editing and final output options.

   Editing is more than just video, here Steve Martin
   explains the use of the Audio Mixer and how to add and remove audio attributes.


   Though new to Final Cut Pro, 'Getting Started in FCP' doesn't skip
   the beneficial ability gained by editing with several camcorders with the Multicam feature.


   The time remapping feature still confuses some, Steve Martin clears it up in this excellent chapter.

As an initially unexpected bonus, Steve Martin and Ripple Training have included two extra tutorials with supplied media for Apple's Live Type text application. Both bonus lessons retain the same quality as those addressing Final Cut Pro; they're a real plus from my perspective.

Ultimately it is just not fair that I had to struggle through a steep, time-consuming learning curve when Final Cut Pro 1 first arrived. If I had had Ripple's 'Getting Started in Final Cut Pro' way back then, I would have been a much happier camper. That's a darn good recommendation if I say so myself.

Available in the lafcpug store

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 2006

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