In this article, CreativeCOW.net leader Alex Alexzander reviews Avid XPress Pro and DV On the Spot
written by Steve Hullfish, Chris Phrommayon & Bob Donlon, and published by CMP Books,
256 pages, September 1, 2004, ISBN: 1-57820-254-X. "As I write this, I have this big grin on my face. You see, you're in a forum reading this review, and the fact that you are in this forum reading
this review is exactly what makes this book so perfect for you. Allow me to explain. We all go to forums, like this one, because from time to time we have a question. Sometimes we're not clear on
how to accomplish a certain task or achieve a certain goal. Perhaps you're on the other side of this coin, and you arrived here to help others with their questions. No matter where you fit into
this forum, you are no doubt someone who likes tips, shortcuts, and learning new techniques."
So why am I grinning so? Well, because that's the very subject of this book. It's a collection of over 300
time-saving tips and shortcuts. For any forum-goers, this should peak your interests immediately. Who wouldn't want to learn a better or faster way to accomplish a task? Whether you're here to ask
a question or help answer a question, I think this is the perfect companion book for you.
Traversing the Contents:
Let's take a look at the contents, as there are so many topics we'll just cover a few things to give you the general concept of this book and what makes it so useful
As you can see from the topics above, this is all about configuration, time-saving tricks, and tips for usage. It is meant to take you a step further than whatever level you are at now. This is
also one of those rare books that absolutely does not need to be read cover to cover, starting from the start and finishing with the end. Instead, flip through the table of contents, find the
subject that interests you, and rip right through it.
Let's Get Involved:
If you have ever seen someone else's Avid Editing system, you know how customizable they are. No two look alike. I think people spend an awful lot of time just getting comfortable with their
systems. The right keystrokes, the right look, the right feel. It's quite important to most, and this book has you covered: not just in making the system your own, but also with a few neat tips to
help keep your current project free from the accidents of wandering hands as others examine your progress while you step away momentarily.
These tips practically grow on trees it seems. How would you like a free feature upgrade? You can add additional functionality by attempting to import settings and views from a higher-end Avid
system. You'll find out how in Interface Tricks.
How about getting organized like never before? There are tons of tips to help you sort through, find, and organize your clips. Tips on Match Frame, the use of Locators, sorting Bins, and so many
other tips that I can't begin to list them all.
Build a better Mojo with a simple addition of cable, or expand your drive's capture capabilities by using an offline resolution. How about importing Final Cut Pro batch lists with the use of a free
utility? How about tips for optimal importing of After Effects compositions? These are the kinds of informative tips you'll find here.
Beyond the Basics:
Looking for tips on using the effects tools? Transition effects are covered in Chapter 8. Flip Flop on the Fly with your frames, or make a simulated organic camera flash. Want to add a little
smoothness to those transitions; you're covered in Chapter 9 with tips about using Acceleration. When you're done, save your effects for future use.
What about audio tips? Chapter 11 has you covered. Learn to get rid of that annoying hum. Want to make your use of your Avid much more effective? Chapter 7 has tips to increase efficiencies.
There are tips for just about everything in the book. We could literally go on like this for some time. From importing pictures perfectly to encoding for the Web using Sorenson Squeeze, if it's a
function, it's likely in here. There is something for everyone in this book.
I've actually put this book to use. There are features I knew in Final Cut Pro for example that are not obvious in Avid Xpress. How do I advance 5 seconds forward, or go back 5 seconds, for
example. In the editor I am most used to, there is a timecode counter which is editable. I didn't see one here so I wrongfully assumed that function didn't exist, which was a bit of a
disappointment to me. That one feature is something I used often, and without it, I felt my work flow was disrupted and less than it should be.
As I flipped through the many sections in this book I found exactly what I was looking for. Click on the Composer, hit the minus or plus key and type the timecode value I was to reduce or go
forward to. Just like that, I am smiling again. I have one of my favorite features back.
There are lots of things exactly like this in this book. It's up to you to re-explore your own work flows and see if you find a better way to work. Perhaps there is a method you are using right
now, that you had hoped to find an alternative to. Perhaps you just want to know if the way you are doing something now is the best way. Whatever it is, there are 300 tips in this book and you will
no doubt find a few that are just what you never knew you needed.
©Copyright 2004 Alex Alexzander | Creative Cow
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