Book Review - DVD Authoring with DVD Studio Pro 2

May 10, 2004

Review - DVD Authoring with DVD Studio Pro 2
By Jeff Warmouth

List Price $ 44.95 - Street Price $ 30.57
DVD Included
Publisher Focal Press - 458 pages
ISBN: 0-240-80516-X

DVD includes bit budget calculators,
media encoding tests,
tutorial source files,
and application demos.

Review By Steve Douglas

When I was first asked to write this review I had several reservations. The truth be known, I have had almost no experience in DVD production. DVD Studio Pro 2 just sat on my desktop for a long time, like SP 1.5 had. I meant well, I just always found myself too busy with one project or another and I never got around to learning how to use the darn thing. Well, I told this to Ken Stone and he said, "We'll get the beginners perspective as to how well this new book guides you through the learning process". Can't argue with that logic and, besides, it forces me to learn what I have been meaning to anyway. One other thing, however, we all have different learning modalities and while I generally use these types of books as references for when I draw a blank on something, I have always learned best from someone physically showing me the steps as I repeat them and do it myself. Learn a whole new application from a single book? Now that will be a heck of challenge. This 458 page tome' is really 2 books in one. The first three chapters (114 pgs) constitute learning SP 2 in the basic configuration, while the second book in a book covers learning SP 2 in its advanced mode. Naturally, I started with the basic.

There is no fluff here, no wasted rhetoric, which can often serve only to confuse the reader. Jeff Warmouth has an excellent writing style, which guides the newbie, like myself, step by step through each process beginning with the setting up of the proper preferences. One thing I found while reading is that Jeff doesn't simply tell you what steps to take but takes the time to explain the reasons for taking them.

On the other hand, this is also not a book that should be skimmed through. For the individual either just learning or the editor already fairly knowledgeable of SP-2, this is a book best read cover to cover. Learning is sequential and, to his and the books credit, Jeff Warmouth builds upon each and every step. Chapter one starts you off with a succinctly clear explanation of the many tools and settings. Usually this is the part in manuals that either puts me to sleep or loses me entirely but Jeff Warmouth's writing style makes for interesting and easy to comprehend reading.

Chapter two starts you off with Basic Tutorial, which you can use with your own materials or with that on the disc.

Chapter Three covers creating custom menus, testing and finally burning that disc without failure. After thoroughly reading the initial chapters on setting up and properly configuring the first project to be, I felt fairly confident. Explanation in clear and concise terms is what I need when reading this type of book and that is pretty much what I got.

The disc supplied with the book is filled with tutorial clips and slides; however, I chose to use my own 5-minute shorts for the video, soundtrack creations for the audio and still image shots for the slideshow. Following directions step by step was not very difficult. It might be redundant to say but this is one very easy book to follow. Did I make any errors? Sure, but they were usually because I was getting ahead of myself or had overlooked something I had thought I just read. Early senility must be creeping in.

The more advanced user will find plenty of new and useful insights towards creating DVD projects. Part Two of this book begins on page 119 and continues till the end. Chapter 4 thoroughly delves into the use of the SP-2 in both the extended and advanced modes while Chap 5 covers the sequencing of the planning and production process. The entire rest of the book digs deep into the functioning of the many advanced features, which can be created in SP-2.

If you already are competent in SP-2 than why buy the book? Knowledge is power and I can guarantee that there is plenty to learn and plenty that you might have been unaware of, and isn't it great when you know you've learned something new or had an epiphany of understanding? And that brings me to the bottom line for this book review. Am I now an expert in DVD Studio Pro 2? Not by a long shot, but did I get frustrated trying to follow directions from a book which only got me more confused? Never came close. If someone were to ask me for my own recommendation on a DVD Studio Pro 2 book, I wouldn't hesitate to say this one. I can't speak more highly than that.

- Steve Douglas

Steve Douglas has been an underwater videographer and contributor to numerous film festivals around the world. The winner of the 1999 Pacific Coast Underwater Film Competition and the 2003 IVIE competition, Steve has also worked on the feature film "The Deep Blue Sea" and is one of the principal organizers of the San Diego UnderSea Film Festival. Steve leads both African safari and underwater filming expeditions and is based in San Diego. Feel free to contact him.

You can purchase 'DVD Authoring with DVD Studio Pro 2' from the lafcpug store.


Review copyright © Steve Douglas

© 2000 -2004 Apple Computer, Inc. All rights reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, Final Cut Pro, Macintosh and Power Mac
are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Apple. Other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

All screen captures, images, and textual references are the property and trademark of their creators/owners/publishers.