The Barnes & Noble Review
Pro-quality digital video tools like Final Cut Pro extend the art of filmmaking where it's never gone before. Combine these tools with today's DV hardware, and you can often drive out 90 percent of the cost of video production. As video production becomes less expensive, it becomes increasingly accessible to anyone with the discipline and talent to master it.
Make no mistake: the newcomers need as much discipline and talent as ever. But for the first time, they have the opportunity to learn. And that's where this book comes in. Editing Techniques with Final Cut Pro assumes you've already got Apple's 1,400-page manual to give you chapter and verse on every dialog box. This book does something rarer: it illuminates the thought processes and techniques of expert film and video editing, showing you how to use Final Cut Pro to bring your story or message to life.
Author Michael Wohl's done it all, from corporate training pieces to documentaries to feature-length independent films. His own insights are supplemented by interviews with the world's best film editors, responsible for movies ranging from Star Wars to Traffic -- including the legendary Walter Murch, the one editor whose name every serious film aficionado recognizes (Apocalypse Now, The Godfather, The English Patient).
You could get your money's worth out of this book even if you work with Premiere: the insights into the art of video editing are that valuable. But as a Final Cut Pro user, you're especially privileged. Wohl was the "video editor" on Apple's Final Cut Pro design team. He helped shape the software's powerful capabilities -- and in this book, he uncovers productivity gems and workflow solutions you simply won't find anywhere else.
Wohl starts by reviewing the film editing process, offering some common sense tips that too many beginning editors ignore (get involved early to make sure there's adequate coverage; remember that the rough cut's just the beginning; understand composition conventions such as headroom and noseroom).
Then, it's on to a complete primer for beginning editors, starting with the language of film: types of shots, camera angles and movement, master shots, POV shots, reaction shots, cuts, transitions, the 180° rule, when to cut, how to think about pacing, and more. Wohl introduces "meat-and-potatoes" patterns for editing dialogue, comedy, documentaries, corporate video, even action sequences (surprisingly, shootouts and conversations have a lot in common from the editor's perspective).
There's practical advice on the mechanics of working with Final Cut Pro: logging, filenaming, using Final Cut Pro's auto scene detection features, and problem-solving (repairing broken timecode, correcting for insufficient pre-roll, and so forth). Wohl really shows how to really get into the flow, so Final Cut Pro acts as an extension of your mind, eye, and hand -- and gets out of your way. You'll learn the quickest way to set zillions of In and Out points; when to use keyboard shortcuts, how to build sequences and finetune them in the Timeline.
You'll be spending a lot of time in the Timeline. So does Wohl, starting with simple "no-trim" editing and then moving on to advanced roll edits, ripple edits, slip edits, even multitrack trimming (which intimidates many pros, but offers immense power and efficiency to those willing to try it).
There's a full chapter on sound editing (did you realize that after its creators made The Blair Witch Project, the distributors spent millions of dollars on a new sound mix? More than visuals, sound is the express route to your emotions, even more important than video or script.) Wohl covers ambient sound and "room tone," audio capture and editing, sweeting, cleanup, filters, mixing, and more.
If you want to do great DV work without first getting a film school degree from NYU or USC, it's hard to imagine a friendlier, more useful companion than Michael Wohl's Editing Techniques with Final Cut Pro.
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer with nearly 20 years' experience in helping technology companies deploy and market advanced software, computing, and networking products and services. He served for nearly ten years as vice president of a New Jerseybased marketing company, where he supervised a wide range of graphics and web design projects. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks For Dummies®, Second Edition.