October 22, 2007

Visual QuickPro Guide: Final Cut Pro 6
By Lisa Brenneis
687 pages - $34.99 list

Review by Steve Douglas

With each new version of Final Cut, I anxiously await for Lisa Brenneis to dust off her accumulated notes and author her latest edition updating the long standing Visual QuickPro Guide published by the Peachpit Press. I have given several Final Cut Pro based books away to friends over the years. However, I have saved every copy of Ms Brenneis' QuickPro Guides for my library. (I might have missed out on the 4.5 version)

It's been said before and I'll say it again, while there are several excellent Final Cut Pro tutorial books and DVDs on the market, it is the Visual QuickPro Guide for Final Cut that I keep closest at hand. It is the first reference book I go to when I need to learn a new feature or have to look up a specific procedure for a given task. The QuickPro Guide continues in much the same format as its previous versions providing step-by-step instructions accompanied by many visual graphics to help demystify the workings of Final Cut. Most of the chapters and sub chapters are also the same as in previous versions; however, it is all updated for Final Cut Pro 6.

Whether you are an experienced professional or hobbyist or a complete newcomer to Final Cut Pro, this is probably the reference book you will continue to go to first. Most every topic you might want has been updated and covered whether they be simply learning to work within the interface, correctly applying transitions and filters, proper media and capture settings, rendering, audio tools and techniques, media-management strategies, and export.

This is not a tutorial book where you are given a media disc and tasks towards finishing a project. Those books and DVDs certainly have their place and value and can provide essential experience utilizing many of the same techniques found in the QuickPro Guide. Final Cut Pro 6 by Lisa Brenneis is strictly a reference tool and has been the king of the hill since its' inception with version 1.

Unlike the Peachpit Press's Apple Pro Training Series of tutorial books, the graphics in the Quick Pro Guide remain in black and white. They are still easy to see and clearly demonstrate the technique and steps being applied. I was not bothered by the black and white graphics at all. There is, however, room for improvement. I was disquieted to find that the single page covering the time remapping parameter under the motions tab did not cover it at all. Rather than demonstrate and explain its use, the reader is referred back to the original owners manual and a 9 page PDF article at Peachpit online. To gain access to this and other sections not covered in the Quick Pro Guide you need to register your book at Peachpit which allows you access to several other FCP 6 related pdfs. Unfortunately, as the pdfs open up in Preview, you can not use the 'Save' or 'Save As' functions. This means that anytime you wish to access these pdfs, you will have to go back to the Peachpit Press site, log in and then access the article. This is very inconvenient for anyone who, perhaps while editing in the field or elsewhere, does not have internet availability. It is interesting to note that the Brenneis book for FCP 5 does include a proper section on the time remapping functions. I do not understand why, for the Final Cut Pro 6 version of the QuickPro Guide, it was done this way. It seems to me that a complete reference book is supposed to be just that, a complete reference book.

My bottom line for the new version of the QuickPro Guide for Final Cut Pro 6 is that even though they have changed the composition of the cover art for the first time, a leopard still does not change its' spots. Despite a few flaws, it has been and remains THE reference book to have. My guess is that no book on the horizon will change that.

Steve Douglas is a certified Apple Pro for Final Cut Pro 6 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 a recent History channel MegaDisaster show. Steve is one of the founding organizers of the San Diego UnderSea Film Exhibition and leads both underwater filming expeditions and African safaris with upcoming excursions to Kenya & Lembeh Straits in Indonesia in 2007, the Coco Islands, Costa Rica & Truk Lagoon in 2008 and safari in Africa for 2009. Feel free to contact him if you are interested in joining Steve on any of these exciting trips. www.worldfilmsandtravel.com


copyright © Steve Douglas 2007

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