Review - KenStone
$29.95 Ripple Training
Review by Steve
Well, it is about time! First we get an
announcement of a fantastic new reference source, tutorial, plug
in compilation being produced by Ken Stone and then we have to
wait a month or so before it is finally available. What timing!
But when you have reproduction issues that were not foreseen
things hit the fan, and we, at least, no longer have to bite
at our nails to get this excellent resource.
Back when Ken Stone first started
his site for Final Cut Pro there had been only one other avenue
for information and help and that was the 2-Pop Internet site.
2-Pop was a lifesaver at the time answering questions posted
by all the FCP 1.0 newbie's which most of us were at the time.
And then there was Ken's site, full of a growing list of incredibly
helpful articles and tutorials as well as an easy to use discussion
forum. Ken started a community of Final Cut Pro users that swelled
in ranks and expertise. When a question needed answering, a problem
needed solving, or a thread of thought needed expansion, you
could click on the kenstone.net site and know that solutions
were just a few minutes, (okay, sometimes hours) away.
I can't remember how many times
I would copy the new week's articles, especially the tutorials,
for reading during my breaks at work or for when I got home.
They were usually all well written with explanatory graphics
that were easy to follow. I loved it; I was learning most of
what I wanted to learn without a teacher with a hard ruler standing
behind my back. But, when you think of all the great articles
that have born themselves on the www.kenstone.net
site, you would need a great many reams of paper and unlimited
ink cartridges to print them up. Then there was the question
as to how many notebooks could you fill up with all of them and
how to index them as well. After all, there are over 500 different
tutorials, reviews, and articles on Ken's site. Finally, some
genius out there suggested to Ken that he take the best of all
the articles and tutorials and place them on a CD so as to make
them easily accessible as another essential resource. Glad Ken
stopped eating chocolate chip cookies long enough to put that
suggestion to task, because that is just what he has done; put
all the best of the best articles, one hundred and forty to be
exact, along with a massive number of some very excellent 'free'
plug ins from the likes of Graeme Nattress, CHV Electronics,
and a slew of tutorials from Steve Martin of Ripple Training,
onto a CD to appease everyone who has been asking him for just
such a resource in the CD format.
Now, why would anyone want to buy
a CD for articles that they could just as easily be read for
free on Ken's website? That's easy to respond to, and yet there
are a multiple of answers. Part of the reason for doing this
is printability. Printing articles from the web page can be wonky.
On the Unplugged CD all articles have been converted to PDF and
this greatly improves the printability. I, for one, am out of
the country frequently for various shoots off of some boat somewhere
and usually have no access at all to the Internet. On my downtime,
or while I am suffering through 30 hours spent on planes, or
waiting for them at the airport, it would be great to have a
CD like this whereby I could catch up on the many articles that
have come out and refresh my memory of the many I had forgotten
For those who are regular readers
or contributors in the discussion forum, it never ceases to amaze
me as to how often various tutorials, reviews and articles that
have appeared on Ken's site are quoted or referred to. Many times,
when the actual URL is not given, I will look at the referral
and try to find the article and just as many times, I find myself
scrolling, scrolling, scrolling just to find it. With several
hundred articles and reviews on site, that takes a bit of time.
Now I can just pop in the disc, use the excellent index and jump
right to it. Often re reading these articles refreshes my memory
about information or how 2s that I had forgotten were even there.
It seems like every major player/writer/instructor
is represented on this disc. All the names of so many people
whom I may not have met but know so well from their books, tutorials
or, simply their unselfish correspondence, are represented on
this CD; Steve Martin, Kevin Monahan, Ken Stone, Ned Soltz, Philip
Hodgetts, Ralph Fairweather, and too many more to mention all
have some of their finest contributions all compiled together
on this one disc. We all have our favorite articles, you know
what I'm talking about, the ones we always seem to seek out to
refer to and check out some item or technique. Just reading through
the index I found every one of my "Go to" articles.
I'm honored and humbled to have a small nugget of an article
by myself to be included with such luminaries.
As mentioned, there are over ten
separate tutorials from Steve Martin and Ripple training. They
cover all the applications one would want including the use of
Mattes in Live Type, various compositing modes and Color Correction
in FCP, Looping in Soundtrack, Encoding in Compressor, Template
Intro Movies in DVD Studio Pro, that sometimes confounding Media
Management and more. Each one is typical of what you get from
Ripple Training, high quality, easy to follow and excellently
Just one of the many
Ripple training tutorials to be found on the Ken Stone Unplugged
However, that is not all; from CHV Electronics whose transitions
and filters I have used for a long time now, comes an excellent
iSilhouette filter as well as the, by now famous, Silk and Fog
filter. Both are worth the cost of the CD by itself.
With CHV iSilhouette filter
With CHV Silk and Fog Filter
Behind door number 3 we have still more
to come. Fourteen plugins from Graeme Nattress round out this
CD with some truly useful filters ranging from the G Film Widescreen
Matte and G Theatrical Filter to an exciting G Earthquake filter
for anyone hoping to make the next disaster movie on Showtime.
There's also an easy to apply Reverse Speed filter and Glow Dissolve
With applied G Theatrical
Filter you can create
an almost 3 D effect
What we have here is the acoustic Ken
Stone, the down and dirty Ken Stone, the nitty gritty, get it
under your fingernails Ken Stone. What you get is the best of
Ken Stone to date. Thankfully, as Apple software and editing
challenges evolve in the future another "Best of" is
still awaiting us a few more years down the road. One caveat;
I did email Ken Stone and told him I thought the price of this
CD was absurdly low and that he was cheating himself. He laughed
at that, and the bonus still goes to all of you, as he never
did raise the cost.
Maybe this isn't a real review after
all; maybe it is simply my echoing the many unseen voices out
there in our FCP community who wish to thank Ken for the very
real contributions, help and encouragement that he continually
and magnanimously provides.
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. www.worldfilmsandtravel.com
copyright © Steve