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Review: Magnet Media's Zoom In

***Product no longer available***

March, 2003

Zoom In
Bi-monthly interactive DVD magazine

Manufacturer: Magnet Media, Inc (
Cost: Trial issue: $49.99 (Raises to $55.99 on April 1)
6 months (3 issues): $149.99
1 year: $289.99

Required Hardware/Software:
DVD-rom drive or DVD player.
Purchase HERE


by Tony Donaldson

Magnet Media, who also brought us "Inside Editing with Final Cut Pro", now debuts a brand new concept: a bi-monthly video magazine for video professionals.

This one is chock full o' good stuff, from tutorials on visual effects in several different applications commonly used, to interviews with industry professionals, to links to good sites, and yes, to Magnet Media's own training programs.

The menus are nicely done and the program flows well, easy to figure out where you are and how to get to wherever you might want to go. If using on a computer, there's the choice of seeing the tutorials in DVD or Quicktime, and you can easily do them a section at a time within each tutorial.

And the tutorials are packed in here. There are five, and all together they make up over 2 full hours of content. The first is called "Escaping Flatland: 3D Lower Third Creation in After Effects and Cinema 4D". It shows some great ways to do animated lower third graphics in After Effects and Cinema 4D, even if you've never used these programs. Like all the projects on the DVD, the project files are included if you want to play along. Programs (even trial versions) are not included, however.

The second one is brilliant, "Creating a Light-Streamed Title Sequence in After Effects," shows how to do a dropping text technique that looks really great and is, pretty easy. It shows one how to incorporate motion graphics with moving layers of text and how to do it as easily and quickly as possible.

The third is "New Media Management Features in Avid Xpress DV" and is a good explanation of Avid's new technology, from the auto logging feature to dealing with subclips and moving things around.

The fourth is "Importing Video into Flash MX" and shows the best ways to get quicktime, avi and mpeg files into flash movies including what to do and what not to.

Last but not least is "Tips for Preparing Graphics in Photoshop for Final Cut Pro", and it tells how to do everything from setting up title safe guides, to programming actions to prepare commonly used images. It tells what can and can't be programmed into actions as well. There are some amazing and powerful options and even blend modes that translate easily into Final Cut Pro. This tutorial covers quite well what translates and what doesn't between the two programs, alpha channels, etc. A lot of good stuff here.

Many of the tutorials have ideas that can easily be customized, and offer a good place to start and learn more of the tools that you already have. Magnet is promising many more tutorials that show tricks, tips on improving workflow, etc. The next issue has one of specific interest to me, building DVD menus. You can check back on the site regularly if you want to just buy the individual issues you'd like. Info on upcoming issues and samples of this one are at

The interviews in the inaugural issue include Alton Christensen of Edgeworx, Academy® Award-winning Editor Craig McKay, Skywalker Sound's Everett Moore, and Technical Director Lloyd Forcellini. These are not filmed interviews, only short text Q and A sessions, but they are informative and you do get to see what top professionals are doing and what they think of the technology. A lot of Mac lovers in this bunch. Some heavy hitters for sure, yet folks we common people can relate to. Would love to see more independent people like most of us in future issues.

There's a lot of really good stuff here. And where DVcreators (so far single titled) "Secrets of Final Cut Pro" offers tips on cool things that can be done in FCP, "Zoom In" is a regularly occurring series that offers tips on several of the programs most video producers use, including FCP, Photoshop, After Effects, Avid and others.

copyright©2003 Tony Donalson

Ordering can be done at HERE

If you use promo code, LAFCP03, you will receive FREE shipping via UPS Ground on your order.

The charter subscriber offer is a $250 bundle which includes a Zoom In annual subscription and their Inside Editing with Final Cut Pro DVD for FREE.  The package is almost a $450 value with total savings just under $200.   This is an exclusive offer only available to members of Final Cut Pro User Groups.  To receive this offer, members have to order from:

About Tony Donaldson: Tony is a sports photographer (still photography, mostly extreme sports) with clients including Sports Illustrated for Kids, ESPN the Magazine, Millimeter, Video Systems, Panasonic, Lee Jeans, Maxxis Tires and many more. He also shoots, edits and produces video projects from commercials to short films (Odessa or Bust, The Cypher) to the Redline Bicycles Team video to a new video-based photography training series and a television wine show pilot. He lives and works in the Los Angeles area and spends way too much time online learning all of Ken Stone's secrets .

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