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Final Cut Pro Foundations

New training DVD excellent for beginners By Stephen Schleicher

When I teach my video editing class, a lot of time is spent on the basics of how to use the tools in Final Cut Pro.  While this is valuable, other topics, like editing theory, can get pushed to the side.  A training DVD is a great way to get students familiar with the interface, how basic steps are performed, and it allows them to work at their own pace. has recently released Final Cut Pro Foundations, which is the perfect training tool for beginners.

Before we get into the review, a disclaimer is needed.  I recently completed my own training DVD for (After Effects 7.0 PowerStart go buy one now), but this review is no way influenced by my relationship with that company. 

I decided to work with on my own DVD because Ive been a big fan of their training series for years.  What sets their training material apart from other companies is their ability to quickly get to the point, giving the viewer what they need to know in a fun an entertaining way.

Final Cut Pro Foundations is hosted by Josh Mellicker, who has been involved with Final Cut Pro since the wee early days of the softwares launch.  His knowledge is very deep, and even today, when he and I are talking Final Cut Pro, I learn a new tip or technique.   His presentation style is very relaxed and viewers will not be intimidated by the volumes of information he dishes out.

Final Cut Pro Foundations is not a master course.  Instead, it presents the viewer with everything she needs to know to perform a basic edit session from beginning to end.  The editor learns how to digitize, perform insert and overwrite edits, create graphics, and sweeten audio.  This is done by building a simple, yet fun commercial for a make believe dating website.

The first time I ever edited on a non-linear editing system was way back in 1995.  My boss had just purchased an Avid system and wanted a commercial edited before the end of the day (it was already 4:00PM).  While I was able to get the piece complete on time, I would have felt that much more comfortable having had some kind of training session.  Today, I see that same anxiety in the eyes of new editors sitting in front of a Final Cut Pro system for the first time.   Final Cut Pro Foundations is a great tool to aid the editor as they learn the ins and outs of the non-linear system.

While the student does learn how to perform simple cuts only edits, J and L edits (split edits), color correcting, and even round tripping a project to Soundtrack Pro are not covered.  These topics are being saved for the next level course, which will be released soon.

If there is one problem I have with this DVD, it is the section on digitizing.  The DVD does an excellent job of explaining how to digitize clips, but it would be so much more valuable if the viewer had a tape of the raw footage to practice with.  This isnt just a problem with this DVD, but rather all editing DVDs on the market today.  It is a pure cost issue, I know, and is a bit of a nit-picky thing, but is a major step in the editing process that beginners should practice.

Overall, I think Final Cut Pro Foundations is an excellent DVD for beginners.  Any school using Final Cut Pro as its edit system should purchase a copy to get students up to speed quickly.  And anyone who is thinking of purchasing, or has recently migrated to, Final Cut Pro will find the information immensely valuable.  For $59.95 you get everything you need for about the same price as a big heavy text book.  I give Final Cut Pro Foundations a Strong Buy Recommendation.

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Stephen Schleicher has crossed the country several times over the last couple of years going from Kansas to Atlanta , Georgia, and Southern California. In his time traveling, he has worked as an editor, graphic designer, videographer, director, and producer on a variety of video productions ranging from small internal pieces, to large multimedia
corporate events.

Currently, Stephen shares his knowledge with students at Fort Hays State University who are studying media and web development in the Information Networking and Telecommunications department. When he is not shaping the minds of university students, Stephen continues to work on video and independent projects for State and local agencies and organizations as well as his own ongoing works.

He is also a regular contributor to Digital Producer, Creative Mac, Digital Webcast, Digital Animators, and the DV Format websites, part of the Digital Media Online network of communities (, where he writes about the latest technologies, and gives tips and tricks on everything from Adobe After Effects, to Appleā??s Final Cut Pro, LightWave 3D, to shooting and lighting video.

He has a Masters Degree in Communication from Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas. As a forward thinker, he wrote his Thesis on how Information Islands and e-commerce would play a major role in keeping smaller communities alive. This of course was when 28.8 dialup was king and people hadnā??t even invented the word e-commerce.

And, he spends what little free time he has biking, reading, traveling around the country, and contemplating the future of digital video and its impact on our culture. You can reach him at

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