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July 21
DV Companion for Final Cut Pro Updated
Revised to cover FCP 1.2.5 and add Web-based searching

by Tim Wilson
Man About Town™
[email protected]

This week's Macworld saw the release of the latest version of "The DV Companion—The Intelligent Assistant for Final Cut Pro." Updated to include the latest features in Apple's most recent release of Final Cut Pro, the Companion includes some new features.

"One of the requests that we've gotten from users is to include dynamic examples of the filter effects in Final Cut Pro," says Philip Hodgetts, the DV Companion's developer. "What we've done is include some first steps to at least indicate how each of the sliders in an effect work and what they do. We've also begun developing some interactive examples of how filter settings affect each other and how to use multiple effects together.

Published by Intelligent Media, the DV Companion is a training tool that works within the Apple Help System to the kind of help users need. Combining more than an hour and a half of QuickTime movies with visual and verbal instruction with hundreds of pages of written information, the DV Companion is built on a variety of Macintosh-only technologies, including AppleScript and Sherlock, to create a dynamic help experience.

The Companion uses sprite QuickTime movies to demonstrate individual tactics from within Final Cut Pro step-by-step. An editor can follow along, pause the Companion, and try the same function within the program. Every movie has a draggable slider bar, allowing the user to move backward or forward or scroll to any point in the movie to review key information.

Apple's Sherlock search capabilities also allow the addition of another dimension to the Companion's help strategies: the Internet. Among the new features in the DV Companion is an adaptation of Creative Mac's exclusive "Search the WWUG" Sherlock plugin. This means that an FCP user with an Internet connection can search for a specific topic, such as deck control with Final Cut, in a variety of places: Apple's own FCP Help files, the dynamic help of the DV Companion and, now, in the more than 200 forums of The World Wide User's Groups (The WWUG). (The WWUG, like Creative Mac, is part of the Digital Media Net family of online properties.)

"There's simply nothing like this combination of dynamic help inside an application, combined with the global resources of the WWUG's community of professional users," says Hodgetts.

In addition to new technologies, the latest edition of the Companion introduces some new topics:

  • How to work with 16:9 Anamorphic;
  • How to work with reference movies;
  • When to use YUV, RGB: White and SuperWhite image processing
  • ;
  • The difference between exporting as a Final Cut Pro movie and exporting as a QuickTime movie;
  • How to Chroma Key in Final Cut Pro, and more.

The DV Companion was codeveloped by Intelligent Media and mission:DynamicMedia, an interactive developer from Australia.

The DV Companion is available directly from Intelligent Media for $149. Current users can upgrade to version 1.2.5 for $19.95. For more information, visit http://www.intelligentmedia.com.

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