Final Cut Pro 4 and the Art
Final Cut Pro 3 and the Art of Filmmaking
By Jason Cranford Teague and David Teague
(Includes a companion DVD)
Published by Sybex US$60.00
Book Review by Roger Richards
Apple’s Final Cut Pro (FCP) was introduced in 1999, early adopters
found that books on how to use it were rare, the first decent one
being Lisa Brenneis’s low-cost guide that came out a few months after.
It should have been included with the program instead of the terrible
user manual Apple boxed with it.
Things are different these days, with several excellent books on FCP
available. Apple has also changed, including extensive manuals and
documentation with Final Cut Pro 4. As someone who has used the
program since it first came out I was always searching for books that
could teach me new things….no matter how long you use the program,
there are always things to learn, the program is that feature-packed
I received a copy of Final Cut Pro 3 and the Art of Filmmaking when it
first came out a couple of years ago, and just got a copy of the new
version for Final Cut Pro 4. The first impression of these books is
how visually appealing they are. Unlike all the other FCP guides I
have seen, which mostly read like scientific manuals, these books use
color photos and illustrations to full effect. The result is an easy
to navigate and understand reference manual.
If you are a beginner to Final Cut Pro or to DV editing in general,
getting started can be a daunting thing. Years of experience as an
editor is a plus, but what if you are an independent filmmaker trying
to cut your own piece and IMovie just will not do? This book can help
get you going.
First, there is a section that explains how to set up a DV editing
station, including useful info on editing decks and other hardware
such as the different types of computer hard drives for storing your
footage. There is a good overview of FCP with illustrations on how to
set up and use it for the first time. The descriptions are clear,
concise and detailed.
Also of use for beginners to both DV filmmaking and FCP is a chapter
on how to shoot video for efficient editing. This section has tips on
timecode logging and a few pointers for beginners on how to shoot
digital video and recording effective, clean audio. Although not very
detailed, the advice here in this section could end up saving a
neophyte filmmaker a lot of headaches.
For a newbie, the book has detailed explanations of how FCP works. It
guides the reader through the principles of three-point editing, how
to adjust audio and the use of transitions. For the intermediate and
advanced FCP users, the book will serve as a handy reference for using
features such as color correction, compositing and fine tuning audio.
The illustrations really come in handy here. One of the good features
of this book is the use of actual film projects, from reality-based
productions to experimental music videos, as examples of how
filmmakers are using Final Cut Pro to produce their creative visions.