Tutorial Review - FCP

January 12, 2004

Review - Final Cut Pro 4 - On The Spot
Time-saving Tips and Shortcuts from the Pros
By Richard Harrington and Abba Shapiro
Price: $27.95
CMP Books

Review By Ken Stone

While this book could be called a FCP 4 tutorial, that would be a misnomer. This is not your typical 'tutorial' type book. Rather, it is a book filled with some 350 techniques, tips if you will, that will enhance both the speed and ease with which you work in FCP and also the creative level that you work at. Each technique starts with a general explanation, then provides step by step instructions which are supported by screen shots. Coverage of FCP runs the gamut as shown in the list below.

Table of Contents

  1. Plugging In:Mastering Final Cut Pro's Interface
  2. Setting Up for Success:User Settings for Best Performance Out of the box, Final Cut Pro is a fast application.
  3. Notching It Up:Taking Effects to the Next Level Effects are more than dragging and dropping.
  4. A Cut Above:Building Better Transitions. Learn to create commercial-quality transitions.
  5. Fixing It in Post:Color Correction...You Need It!
  6. Type-Oh! Creating Titles That "Work"
  7. One-Click Wonders: Using Buttons and Keyboard Shortcuts.
  8. Sounds Good:Enhancing and Troubleshooting Audio Sound is more than half the picture.
  9. Still Life:Designing and Importing Graphics Learn how to move seamlessly between graphics and video applications.
  10. Master of Your Domain:Controlling the Timeline The Timeline is the blueprint for your project.
  11. Crisis Management:Troubleshooting and Recovery Techniques It's inevitable that things go wrong.
  12. The Finish Line:Learning Advanced Finishing Techniques Learn polishing tips that create a better program.
  13. A Place for Everything:Media Management and Backup Video projects are never done.
  14. I Didn't Know It Could:Secrets of the Power Users.
  15. Out of the Box:Exporting and Publishing Your Program Put the show on tape, CD, or DVD or even prepare it for a website.

I don't know that I would recommend this book to someone who is just starting to learn FCP, a more traditional tutorial type book would be a better first choice. However, for people who have been working in FCP for any period of time, this book fills a gap in the learning curve. Learning and using FCP is not only about basic processes, it is a matter of always improving workflow, finding better ways of achieving results. How do you discover those special techniques or tricks that enable you to work with FCP in a more seamless manner? 'On the Spot', by Richard Harrington and Abba Shapiro, is filled with them, experienced editors showing you tricks of the trade.

The book lacks an index. Having one would make it easier for the reader to find subjects of interest. I also found some of the art (dialog boxes), too small to be of value. Other than that, I really like this book, and have learned many new techniques from it. Some important and some just cool, techniques that I would never have discovered on my own.

Excerpt from Chapter 4:"A Cut Above: Building Better Transitions" PDF (1.4 mb)



You can purchase 'Final Cut Pro 4 - On The Spot' from the lafcpug store.

Review copyright © www.kenstone.net 2004


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