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Review: FCP X Pro Series - Ripple Training

August, 2011

FCP X Pro Series - Ripple Training
$39.99 - Tutorials & Media Via iTunes

by David A. Saraceno

What’s In The Box.  The Ripple Training FCP X tutorials, narrated by veteran Steve Martin, provide 1.41 GBs of video broken into thirty eight individual segments in iPad format.  The bundle includes 1.33 GBs of tutorial media in representative project media formats -- .aiff sound captures and music beds, high definition h.264 video clips, jpeg production stills, and .wav sound effects. 

The training targets beginner FCP X users, but includes intermediate and advanced instruction.  If you are familiar with iMovie ’11, some interface and workflow similarities exist in the two applications.  However, the instruction is not a rehash of iMovie features.  Ripple Training’s series demonstrates in a real world editing workflow the innovative and powerful editing capabilities of FCP X.   

A New Interface.  FCP X introduces different terms to identify media collections, projects, editing tools, and general workflow.  The initial tutorial titles explain the app’s new terminology and how these tools compare to those in legacy versions.  Segments explore the basic interface, demonstrate keyboard shortcuts for media management and editing, and detail import, organizational, and distribution strategies.

The concept of keywords to identify media topically is introduced as well.  The section “Organizing Media with Keywords” is particularly instructive on how keywords and favorites can streamline the editing process by quickly cataloguing media.  For example, FCP X can create the equivalent of sub clips using keyboard shortcuts or by designating a selection of a clip as a “favorite.”

Other sections demonstrate how FCP X has streamlined legacy user and system settings into three windows that establish how media is imported, where it is stored, how and when it is transcoded, and analyzed for correction on import.  The last function -- analysis -- includes settings to automatically correct common video and audio problems, and create intelligent collections, based on content, of the imported video. 

This is where Martin is at his best -- explaining how a set of simple preferences selections can provide a significantly eased workflow, and a faster editing experience.   

The Editing Segments.  The middle selection of videos introduce and explain by example how video and audio editing has changed in FCP X.  Attention is directed to FCP X reimplementation of basic editing tools - roll, ripple, slide, slide and trim - and how the interface simplifies access to each of these tools.  Also explained are one letter keyboard shortcuts for adding clips to the storyline.

As with all the segments, Martin identifies each of the tools and explains how they work using the tutorial media.  The segments explaining FCP X’s “auditioning” capabilities for video and audio are particularly instructive.  “Auditioning” a clip or multiple clips allows the editor to “try out” different video and audio clips in the story line without having to delete or replace an existing clip.  The alternative clips are stacked in a container, and the editor simply selects which one to assess with a couple of mouse clicks.

Additional segments explain how to adjust clip timing, work with audio, markers, retime video, create hold frames, and secondary story lines.

The Effects (Filters).   FCP X filters mimic most, if not all, the legacy effects of previous versions, with one distinctive, and powerful difference.  Select a clip in the story line, and click on an effect, and a real time preview of the clip with the effect applied is provided.  There is a segment on transitions, including how to modify the transition’s parameters using the FCP X “get info” pane.  Other information on transforming images (skew, crop and perspective), applying and animating titles, and working with themes and placeholders is supplied. 

Color Correction.   FCP X dispenses with legacy color wheels for color correction, and replaces them with a “match color” function, and a radically different multi-parameter “balance color” function.  Approximately twenty one minutes of instruction is provided for color correction, balance, and using color and shape marks, all demonstrated by example using the tutorial media.  

Additional Instruction.  The remaining tutorials address how FCP X distributes the completed edit.  These include publishing to “Apple Devices,” to the various internet video hosting sites, and to optical media including blu-ray™ and SD DVD.  A section on exporting using the latest version of Compressor is included.

Thoughts.  Any review of instructional materials must pass the threefold test:  pace, content, and delivery.  If one is absent, then the overall learning experience is marginalized.  Martin’s FCP X instructional series hits on all three cylinders for this introductory series.  Hopefully, more advanced instruction will be provided in a supplemental offering.

These initial tutorials are not exhaustive of FCP X’s capabilities, but accurately demonstrate the application’s innovative, and powerful editing capabilities.  After completing these tutorials, you may conclude that FCP X is or isn’t for you.  However, I believe that the process is essential to making an informed decision one way or the other.   At $39.95, it’s an inexpensive means to an informed decision.

Copyright ©2011 David A. Saraceno

David A. Saraceno is a motion graphics artist located in Spokane, Washington. He runs a video blog and review site called secondchairvideo that provides information on most things Final Cut Pro and video related.  He has written for DV Magazine, AV Video, MacHome Journal, and several state and national legal technology magazines. David moderates several forums on, is active on the Apple Support Discussions forum for their Pro Applications, and and is a moderator at

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