January 11, 2010

Final Cut Pro 7 Core Training by Ripple Training

Ripple Training
DVD Edition $109.00
iTunes download version $99.00

Review by Ken Stone

With every major update to Final Cut Pro, there is alway a flurry of tutorials to go with the update. However, not all tutorials are create equal. Some simply have 'What's New' added, folding some new information to an existing tutorial or, in the case of books, one is sent to a web site where you get an 'Addendum'. The new FCP 7 DVD tutorial from Ripple Training by Steve Martin was built from the ground up.

I was first introduced to Ripple Training's tutorials almost 10 years ago and have been viewing and learning FCP from them ever since. High production values have always been a hallmark of Ripple Training and over the years, the on screen presentations have only gotten better, making use of new technologies as they are developed. The tutorial's graphics move around and zoom in on different interface elements as they appear during the lessons, making following the lessons simple and straightforward. Each of the 17 lessons are divided by chapter markers that make for easy navigation.


So, who is this FCP 7 tutorial for? Well, almost everyone, beginner through intermediate. The first chapters include information for people who are new to FCP, replete with lessons about video in general, and the basic information that is needed to get one started in the world of video editing. Codecs, formats, frame rates, Easy Setups, Projects, instructions for setting up your Mac to run FCP, the terminology of video editing, etc., is all explained. There is also basic Mac information; the Mac OS, Finder, Dock, file organization, Interface, etc., for those who are new to the Mac as well. Many will skip the first lesson, but it is of value that this information is available for those who need it.

While we are transitioning from tape based to file based acquisition, we will still be working in both worlds for some years to come and both methods of acquiring our video are throughly covered in this tutorial, each in its own lesson. While 'Final Cut Pro 7 Core Training' gives proper attention to all aspects of using FCP, from acquisition to delivery, very special attention is given to the actual editing process. The lessons not only cover all of the various editing tools and techniques, but through example, how and why we would use these tools to achieve a well edited story. There is even a little bit of 'the art of editing' philosophy included in the lessons.

Steve Martin, who wrote the tutorial and is our host and instructor, clearly enjoys teaching FCP. Each lesson is well thought out and the tutorial is structured in a manner that flows you through the learning process. While there is a lot of information for the viewer to absorb, there is an efficiency to the lessons, they are clean and clear, each new element to be learned is presented at just the right time, which enables the student to learn the natural workflow of moving a project from start to finish.

The tutorial is divided into 17 lessons and runs just over five hours. The Projects files and Project Media that are used in this tutorial are included on both the DVD and the iTunes download, so that the student can work along with the lessons, learning techniques by doing the exercises. Ripple Training has provided a number of excerpted tutorial videos for you to check out.

It is important that a tutorial works well in two ways. The first way is to use the supplied Project and Media files to work through and do the lessons as they play out for you. This tutorial really succeeds in this regard, as it takes you through the entire process of cutting and building a TV show and touches on all of the aspects and abilities of FCP. The lessons are clear and easy to both understand and work through. Second, one should be able to sit and watch the entire tutorial without actually doing the project exercises; it should work as a 'stand alone' tutorial, and FCP 7 Core Training does this very well.

Final Cut Pro 7 Core Training, hosted by Steve Martin, a little expensive, but about as good as it gets.




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