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Beginner's Final Cut Pro by Michael Rubin

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Beginner's Final Cut Pro by Michael Rubin



A Creative COW "Real World" Book Review



David Callaghan reviews Michael Rubin's Beginner's Final Cut Pro.
David Callaghan
David Callaghan
Los Angeles, California, USA
©2002 David Callaghan and CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.

Article Focus:
David Callaghan takes a look at Michael Rubin's
Beginner's Final Cut Pro published by Peachpit Press. David found this book a very solid, conceptual introduction to FCP, as well as to nonlinear editing in general. He goes on to say it will leave a beginner confident and very well prepared for further exploration.


Michael Rubin's Beginner's Final Cut Pro takes a different approach to introducing FCP than most books. Rather than thoroughly detailing all the features of the application, he focuses on the underlying editing concepts behind them. Rubin thinks his approach will help you learn faster and come out of the book with a deeper understanding of FCP. His claim: Final Cut Pro is easy.

As a pioneer of nonlinear editing technologies at LucasFilm in the 1980s, and as a film industry professional as well as a teacher, Michael Rubin has credibility when he claims he can painlessly deliver a deeper understanding of FCP. The book completely succeeds in demystifying FCP for new users. However, for a user with any experience, it will probably not be useful, aside from possibly adding clarity to or reinforcing certain concepts.

Rubin begins by introducing the interface and basic tools like the scrubber and jog wheel (Rubin often ignores the FCP terminology for certain tools). The early part of the book is devoted to basic actions like marking in and out points and getting to know a few essential keyboard shortcuts.

The section on simple editing moves tutorial style, guiding you through editing the footage provided on the accompanying DVD. It provides a clear introduction to editing actions such as performing a trim or a lift.



Beginner's Final Cut Pro is a very solid, conceptual introduction to FCP, as well as to nonlinear editing in general. It will leave a beginner confident and very well prepared for further exploration. I highly recommend it for absolute beginners.

I give it 4 out of 5 cows.
The book's midsection contains the most well-conceived material, as Rubin really ditches the "tour of the software" approach that most books take, and lays out several important editing techniques. You'll find clear introductions to three- and four-point editing, locking and linking, slipping and sliding, as well as a short but good audio section including, for example, audio cross-fades. The book only very briefly touches on using filters and effects.

Beginner's Final Cut Pro wraps up by covering some practical material, such as logging, exporting, and file management. Rubin's perspective on these types of workflow issues is interesting, and you can take some of his personal tips and feel a little more confident about interacting with the software.

Beginner's Final Cut Pro is a very solid, conceptual introduction to FCP, as well as to nonlinear editing in general. It will leave a beginner confident and very well prepared for further exploration. I highly recommend it for absolute beginners. Users with any experience won’t benefit much. However, they may want to check out Rubin's classic on nonlinear editing, titled simply Nonlinear - A Field Guide to Digital Video and Film.

Caution: Only for absolute beginners.




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