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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Millions of people are getting involved with digital video. Most of them fall into one of two categories. The first group will try it and just decide it’s too much trouble. The second group will catch the bug -- big-time. They’ll want to do really great work -- whether they’re producing last winter’s family gathering or the next Blair Witch Project. Chances are, they’ll get frustrated with the entry-level software they’ve been using. Many of them will go out and buy Apple’s new Final Cut Express, which offers truly amazing power and value for the price. Then, they’ll scratch their heads: Where to begin?
We suggest they start with Making Movies with Final Cut Express by Michael Rubin.
Nobody has more experience explaining digital video editing and production to newcomers. Rubin’s Beginner's Final Cut Pro was a breakthrough in beginner’s books on the “professional” version of Final Cut. He helped pioneer nonlinear editing techniques at LucasFilm back in the '80s and wrote the field’s classic introduction, Nonlinear: A Field Guide to Digital Video and Film. (Along the way, he found time to assist Academy Awardwinning editor Gabriella Cristiani in her nonlinear post-production of Bernardo Bertolucci's The Sheltering Sky, serve as principal nonlinear editor on Paul McCartney’s concert film Get Back, and work on Lonesome Dove.)
Think of Making Movies with Final Cut Express as “Film School in a Book.” Rubin isn’t interested in simply teaching you how to point and click; he wants to teach you to make great videos. Not a lot of abstract theory here: Rubin teaches hands on. (That’s what that DVD full of raw footage is for.)
Rubin starts by helping you make your Mac a bit more “video friendly,” and giving you a personal tour that makes all of FCE’s knobs, boxes, and numbers a lot less intimidating. If you’re moving from iMovie, he also provides a “Rosetta Stone” comparing the terminology of the two programs.
Before you start monkeying with the video controls, Rubin shows you some easy, professional techniques for precisely controlling where you stop and cut video -- both mouse- and keyboard-oriented approaches. (There’s even a find-the-right-frame “scavenger hunt” to get you comfy.)
Then, it’s on to basic editing. Rubin does a nice job of helping you ignore the complex tools you don’t need yet, so you can get results with the ones you do need. You’ll get comfortable with your footage (there’s a nice “Shot Vocabulary Cheat Sheet” to remind you what cutaway and establishing shots look like). Next, you’ll walk through making basic inserts, trims, roll edits, swap edits, and so forth -- meat-and-potatoes stuff you’ll use constantly.
Rubin presents a full chapter on working with multiple tracks: music and sound mixes; titles and text; picture tracks; transition effects; even keyframes and compositing. Maybe handiest of all: the chapter on “being your own assistant.” (Unless you have a paid staff -- yeah, right -- who’s gonna create the log sheets, handle the timecoding, and so forth? You.
If you’re ready to get serious about digital video, you’re ready for this software -- and this book. Bill Camarda
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks for Dummies, Second Edition.