|Review: Secrets of final cut pro 2 - Volume one
of final cut pro 2 -
Presented by DV Creators.net
Hosted by Steve Martin
projects - CD ROM
Review by Ken Stone
I found Secrets of
Final Cut Pro 2.0 CD Rom to have the highest production standards
of any tutorial I have ever seen. The interface, art work, and
on screen images are full sized, sharp and clean. The movies
are high resolution and the audio is superb. Steve Martin narrates
the lessons in a slow paced comfortable style. The learning environment
is very friendly, much like having an instructor standing right
behind you giving you instructions.
So who is it for? Both the beginner
and intermediate. This might sound like too wide a gamut to cover
but this tutorial teaches in two different ways. It offers 20
techniques (tricks) that are mostly built around compositing
that are targeted for the intermediate, but it teaches in such
away that the beginner will learn not only the tricks but in
the process learn basic editing. More on this later.
This tutorial offers two approaches
to learning it's Secrets.
The first approach is to simply
watch the lessons. Each lesson is broken into what DV Creators
call 'chunks', the lesson stops at various stages so you can
go back and repeat the last 'chunk' or move ahead. You can also
play each lesson like a movie, play straight through and watch
the entire lesson without stopping.
Using the second approach you to
have FCP open and running along with Secrets. You play a 'chunk'
in Secrets then switch to FCP and do it yourself, back to Secrets
for the next step and then back to FCP. You work your way through
each lesson going back and forth between Secrets and FCP. All
of the material necessary including audio is provided on the
CD. You drag this folder (containing 63 clips at 232 megs) to
your HD and then bring the clips into your Browser for use in
So lets take a look. When you open
Secrets you get a splash screen and then move on to the main
Main Menu open with
'flash to white' movie being shown.
When you select one of lessons on the left a movie opens up in
the 'show me' window on the right. A movie plays showing the
completed effect. If you want to move on to the lesson you click
the 'show me the secret' button and the tutorial opens up and
the lesson begins. We are presented with a full FCP screen; Viewer,
Canvas, TL, Browser, Tool palette, and VU meters, shown below.
As each lesson begins the necessary clips are in the Browser
and the Timeline is empty. As you move through the lesson each
and every step is shown on the screen and Steve talks you through
the process, there is even a bit of humor.
So what are the 20 'Secrets' on this CD?
||Using the effects and tools
built right into Final Cut Pro and QuickTime, you will be amazed
how easy it is to achieve that elusive "film look"
for your videos.
||Who needs bluescreen or greenscreen?
We show you a simple alternative to live-action keying that is
much easier, and produces more satisfying results.
||Think you can't do ramped
opacity with FCP? You can now! A cool technique for any graphic
separation behind titles.
||One big advantage of film
is shallow depth of field. Here's how to simulate this in post
with remarkable results.
||PIP, also known as picture-in-picture
is a fairly common video effect. However, on this CD we show
you how to animate your PIPs to get uncommon results.
|Timeline split edit
||This is one little "secret"
that is worth it's weight in gold. And that's what you'll be
worth when your clients see how fast you can manipulate sound
and video without ever losing sync.
|Grunge typewriter text
||Using the cool new typewriter
effect that comes standard in Final Cut Pro 2.0, we will show
you how to squeeze the most out of it.
||We'll show you
how to create an amazing video wall effect using Final Cut Pro's
powerful nesting features.
|Match Frame & Replace
||Many editors still wonder
what the match frame button really does. After we show you this
killer secret you'll never stop using it.
|Flash to white
||It's an effect you see all
the time in commercials and movie trailers - white bursts between
shots of intense action. When we start seeing even more of this
effect, we'll all know why.
||Those little network I.D.
"bugs" that sit there "inconspicuosly" on
the bottom corner of the frame are simple to create using Final
Cut Pro's powerful compositing tools.
|Multi-clip level control
||Manipulating the sound levels
on a single or multiple tracks was a big challenge before Final
Cut Pro 2.0. Let us show you how powerful and flexible this new
||Learn how to make your text
HUGE without having to go to Photoshop. We show you an innovative
way to use nesting that you probably haven't thought of yet.
||A great little secret that
will move you quickly into "power user" status.
||A terrific eye-popping effect
you can add to almost any title to give it more polish and shine
||If your tired of using that
heart wipe for the hundredth time, let us show you how to create
dazzling transitions using black and white gradients that can
be created easily from within Final Cut Pro or Photoshop.
||This one secret alone is worth
the price of this CD. A spectacular text effect that would be
at home on X-Files.
|Video filled title
||Learn variations on a theme
of putting moving video inside your type.
||You'll discover the valuable
secret of compositing your Photoshop artwork in Final Cut Pro.
As an added benefit, you'll learn some new ways to use the particle
|Steve's exploding head
||After finishing this CD, this
is what I felt like. Learn some new ways to apply Final Cut Pro's
amazing filter and matte tools to do just that... blow off my
- I stole this table from the DV Creators' web site - ken)
I mention above that while it seems that these lessons are targeted
to the intermediate user, this CD would work very well for beginners.
As you go through the lessons there are many basic procedures
that are involved over and over again. Seeing these procedures
repeated over and over and then doing these procedures as you
learn the 'secrets', is an excellent learning tool. For example,
it would be impossible for you to go through the Secrets CD and
not use the 'f-10' and 'f-12' keys in your daily work.
Price at $ 79 the Secrets CD has good
value for the intermediate user. It has a number of tricks that
would find their way into on going Projects. The intermediate
user would learn not only the tricks but would be able to customize
these 20 tricks to hundreds of new tricks. For the beginner I
believe that this CD has greater value as not only will the beginner
learn these tricks but would, at the same time, learn many of
the basic of FCP.
There are few problems.
One of the lessons, 'Color Key', has
a flaw - stalling out two thirds of the way through the lesson
and returns you to the start of the lesson. I contacted DV Creators
about this problem. I was told that they are doing two things.
First they have posted the 'Color
Key' lesson at their web site. Second they will replace for free any CDs that have this problem.
When you are viewing a lesson using the
'chunks' method, it is possible to move ahead or back one 'chunk'
but you can not move back more then one 'chunk', you'll have
to go back to the start of the lesson. Lastly, when viewing a
lesson it is not always obvious when the lesson is over, some
type of 'sign off' would be helpful.
Except for the one lesson that stalls,
I consider these complaints to be minor. What makes 'Secrets'
such an excellent tool, aside from it's really cool tricks and
high production standards, is that it's fun.
copyright © Ken
This article first
appeared on www.kenstone.net and is reprinted here
All screen captures and
textual references are the property and trademark of their creators/owners/publishers.