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Final Cut Express HD for Mac OS X

Learn Final Cut Express through quick study guides By David James Rockingham III

Final Cut ExpressWhen Apple released Final Cut Express HD, there were plenty of happy users to hear about the new advances in the program. With the release of any new application, users of previous versions and especially new users now have to get themselves up to speed with the new program. With a book like Lisa Branneis' Final Cut Express for Mac OS X, you can learn the latest video editing program in short order. The 555-page book cover topics ranging from the basic hardware requirements for Final Cut Express HD to the more sophisticated elements such as compositing, effects, transitions and rendering.

The Contents
Author Lisa Brenneis begins with the absolute basic of Final Cut Express. Here’s where all of you experienced FCE users can skip through but those new to the program will want to know what you’re looking at when you launch the program. The book (Final Cut Express HD for Mac OS X) then moves on to the program’s presets and preferences. You’re going to want to configure the program to its most optimal settings so you should pay attention to chapter three. Chapter four shows you the elements that make up a Final Cut Express project.

Chapter five covers the capturing of various types of video. This includes HDV video, capturing with device control, batch recapturing and start and stop detection. Chapter six covers importing of digital media. This includes working with Photoshop files, audio files and importing iMovie files. Chapter seven shows how to better organize your clips in the browser. Learning this will help you plan out your project and keep yourself organized among all those media files. Chapter eight is all about working with clips in the viewer. This includes clip marking, timecode, creating in and out points, subclips, markers and working with the viewer display.


Chapter 9 covers basic editing. Every piece of video you see has to undergo some form of editing and this is where you really apply your skills. You will learn the FCE protocol of three point editing, moving the playhead, editing multiple tracks, how to insert an edit, replace an edit, overwrite an edit, supoerimpose an edit and create transition edits.  Chapter ten covers the usage of the canvas, the elements in the tool palette such as the number of tools such as the selection, edit, view and keyframe. How to work the timeline, working with timeline tracks, selecting timeline items, linking clips, closing gaps, multiclip adjustments and how to change the speed of a clip.

Chapter eleven and twelve covers trimming edits, covering out of sync clips, using audio tools from within Final Cut Express, editing audio in the timeline, recording audio, mixing and finishing audio inside of the program. Chapter thirteen shows how you can create transitions, add effects, video and audio transitions and rendering transitions. Chapter fourteen is about compositing, applying effects, using the all important keyframes. Chapter fifteen is motion, motion and more motion. From setting your motion properties to using wireframes, changing a clip's appearance, animating a clip's motion to editing a motion path.

Chapter sixteen through ninteen will teach you how to use filters, how to use alpha channels and what compositing is all about. Titles and generators is what chapter seventeen is about and Branneis demostrates how to generate text, create outline text, animated text generators and the use of LiveType. Chapter eighteen covers real time and rendering. Learn how to use real time effects, rendering video, rendering commands and how to manage render files. The last chapter covers the one thing to make your final project complete and that is how to output your masterpiece. Learn how to export to QuickTime, the differences in formats, various codecs and the exporting of LiveType and Soundtrack.

The Final Word
Author Brenneis does a wonderful job covering the many features of Final Cut Express HD. Even though I was familiar with FCE and have used it for a few projects, I found the upgrade to Final Cut Express HD to be worth it.

If you’re looking for a step up from Apple’s iMovie, then you should invest the money into purchasing Apple’s Final Cut Pro Express HD software and a copy of Lisa Brenneis’ Final Cut Express HD for Mac OS X book. Using the step-by-step guides along with the program and you should be able to produce your finished Final Cut Express project in no time.

I would strongly suggest to anyone trying to learn Final Cut Express that you pick up a copy of Branneis’ book because you could save yourself several months worth of time and energy either fiddling around this program and only learning the basic features or you can use this book to not only speed up your learning curve but to also maximize your usage of Final Cut Express.

You can click HERE to purchase Final Cut Express HD for Mac OS X by Peachpit Press.

About the Author

Lisa Brenneis is the author of Final Cut Pro for Macintosh: Visual QuickPro Guide as well as the previous editions of Final Cut Express: Visual QuickStart Guide. She has also been a teacher, panelist, virtual theater performer, and film production manager. Her production credits range from interactive digital media to educational films, animation to live action, documentary to poetic fantasy. Her past clients include Disney, MCA/Universal, the Getty Museum, Library of Congress, International Olympic Committee and Mattel.

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David James Rockingham III is a former radio disc jockey and network administrator. An avid gamer and technology guru who enjoys rock music, sunsets, Star Wars video games, Visual Pinball, classic hot rods and superhero movies (except The Hulk). You can find David James answering questions on DMN Forums ( His articles appear on Consumer Electronics Net ( and Digital Media Net (
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