March 19, 2012

Ripple Training's Compositing in Final Cut Pro X
Authored by Mark Spencer
Mac and iPad - $29.95

Review by Steve Douglas

Admittedly, in my genre of filming, there is not a lot of call or opportunity to do much green screen chroma keying work so there was a great deal to learn along these lines. It was good timing for me when I received Ripple Training's latest iTunes tutorial series on 'Compositing in Final Cut X', which focuses primarily on proper keying techniques, and how to handle and correct several possible issues that may arise when doing such work. Tweaked by frequently referring to matte view and adjusting possible transparency issues, and using Final Cut Pro X's Edges parameter along with the Sample Color really go a long way to creating that perfect key.

Compared to several keying tools I have tried in the past, Mark Spencer's tutorial on keying in X, makes things a whole lot simpler and considerably less time consuming.

However, there is also a good deal of attention paid to so much more.

Note that while Compositing in Final Cut X was released before the latest 10.3 update,
chapter 11's 'Appendix Advanced Keying Controls' brings you up to date with the latest tools.

In the guise of creating a keyed commercial for a sports drink, I found the section on creating a holdout matte to deal with animation issues as well as the chapter on secondary color correction within FCP X to be both interesting and informative.

Just one part of the screen, the product itself, needed to be color corrected.
Mark Spencer makes it both easy to do and, for the editor new to keying, easy to understand.

To date, I have not been overly impressed with Final Cut Pro X's audition feature. It just seemed to be an unnecessary bell and whistle for me. However, Ripple Training's 'Compositing in Final Cut X', showed me just how useful and timesaving it can be in the Auditioning Backgrounds chapter. I'm glad I didn't breeze past this chapter as it not only demonstrates how animated or still backgrounds can be used in Audition, but also how different foley effects can be applied.

Whether using it with video or audio, I learned just how useful Audition can be.

While the latest Ripple Training tutorials are no longer being released on DVDs, they are now available as downloads and can even be synced to an iPad using Apple's iTunes software for far less than the DVDs used to cost you. One thing not changed is the quality that the Ripple Training brings to the consumer. Production, as always, is top notch and though so called tutorials are ubiquitous on YouTube and elsewhere, their quality is often of a dubious and not always accurate value. If you are going to do something, you might as well do it right and get off on solid ground. 'Compositing in FCP X' is beautifully produced, uses excellent quality footage, comes supplied with all the media necessary to work with in your own Final Cut Pro X and is easy to follow. Having it in your iTunes podcast means you can always have it available to refer back to at later times, and with this Ripple Training tutorial, you know you are getting accurate information and superb production quality.


Steve Douglas is a certified Apple Pro for Final Cut Pro 7 and underwater videographer. 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, where he also won the Stan Waterman Award for Excellence in Underwater Videography and 'Diver of the Year', Steve was a safety diver on the feature film "The Deep Blue Sea", contributed footage to the Seaworld Park's Atlantis production, and productions for National Geographic and the History channels. Steve was a feature writer for Asian Diver Magazine and is one of the founding organizers of the San Diego UnderSea Film Exhibition. He is available for both private and group seminars for Final Cut Pro and leads underwater filming expeditions and African safaris with upcoming excursions to Bali, Raja Ampat, Indonesia, and the Maldives Islands. Feel free to contact him if you are interested in joining Steve on any of these exciting trips.


copyright © Steve Douglas 2012

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