Digital / desktop video editing book review: Editing Techniques with Final Cut Pro

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Editing Techniques with Final Cut Pro

Digital/desktop video editing book reviews: Editing Techniques with Final Cut Pro by Michael Wohlby Michael Wohl

Publisher: Peachpit Press, 1st edition, Oct 15, 2001


Getting a Mac and a DV camcorder is the easiest way to start digital video editing since every Mac is equipped with built-in FireWire port. You don't have to buy any extra hardware. Final Cut Pro is the standard NLE software for Macs. And Editing Techniques with Final Cut Pro is the best book to learn basic video editing techniques and Final Cut Pro itself.

Clearly written and lavishly illustrated, this excellent handbook covers everything from the basics of video production and what an editor does, the language of film and video editing, the planning needed when preparing to edit, and the use of Final Cut Pro itself, from beginning through advanced techniques and effects like ramping the speed of a clip, compositing computer animation over a clip, picture-in-picture, color correction, creating titles, and more.

Most software books only focus on how to use the software itself. Editing Techniques with Final Cut Pro is an unique book to approach the application, Final Cut Pro in this case, as an editing tool. It also deals with the art of editing. 

The first 3 chapters deal with what the author calls 'The Invisible Art' (of editing). Starting with the script then moving through all the pre-production stages of film/video making, you will learn the roll that an editor can play and his or her involvement in the movie even before the first frame is shot.

Then move on to postproduction. 'Choosing The Shot' is your first task. Composition, headroom, point of focus, action, background elements, lighting, audio and the other factors will determine which shots will be used and which ones won't. 

It also covers in this section the basic rules of editing. Which shots to use, how to put them together in such a way that each clip moves seamlessly to the next, how to construct entire scenes and then create smooth transitions from scene to scene, different rules that apply to the different types of scenes included in the story such as action, chasing sequences, dialog, group shots and more.

Then the 'intermediate' and 'advanced' levels of editing. Each new editing technique is explained and illustrated with excellent art that clearly demonstrates the theory being discussed. At the end of each chapter is a brief interview with some of the most respected editors in the business.

Although the book jacket clearly states that it is written for the 'intermediate' and 'advanced' users, this is not really a book for the experienced users. If you are familiar with Mac, you will find it a beginner's guide on video editing and Final Cut Pro, a very solid guide. 

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