Final Cut Express HD 3.5 Editing Workshop

Tom Wolsky

Focal Press, $34.95

paperback with companion DVD

Focal Press has been making step-by-step software guides for some time and it shows. Final Cut Express HD 3.5 Editing Workshop is another one of their winners. The book is easy to follow for the beginner and full of enough hidden gems for the experienced FCE editor. It covers the essentials that are so important for a smooth workflow, from set-up to output. We liked the sections on organizing clips (crucial) and making titles in Photoshop. The Effects Filters and Compositing chapters take the beginner into the intermediate realm of editing. The companion DVD is a valuable accomplice containing an essential bridge to carry iMovie editors to the more industry standard timeline-editing world of Final Cut Express. If you are just starting out with FCE, do yourself the favor of taking the time to work through these eleven tutorials to develop a strong foundation for an efficient workflow. Rating:4

High Definition Postproduction: Editing and Delivering HD Video

Steven E. Browne

Focal Press, $34.95


With twelve high definition broadcast formats and over 50 production formats, a guide into the world of High Definition video acquisition and post-production is very welcome. Steve Brown takes readers from history, definitions, myth and questions into the technical, shooting and editing challenges, ending with HD’s relationship with film and Digital Intermediates and finally employment opportunities and the future of HD. Brown does a skillful job of keeping the beginner in mind while diving into some of the more difficult technical considerations of High Def video, using real life examples of professionals and their workflows. The black and white images and screenshots are perfectly minimal, leaving the majority of the page for a wealth of information that will save the prospective HD producer hours of trial and error not to mention many high definition headaches. Not a bad book for nubies either as he covers many production and postproduction basics that are not unique to HD such as the use of a clapboard and the importance of heads and tails. The chapter summaries are a nice inclusion. Rating: 3

Money For Nothing: A History of the Music Video from the Beatles to the White Stripes

Saul Austerlitz

Continuum, $24.95


A must read for anyone interested in the genre of music video. Saul Austerlitz, after a wordy politically correct diatribe on the exploitation of women in music videos, gathers himself and delves into the rich history of the music video. But history is not the only subject being explored. Austerlitz has a strong knowledge of the artists, the culture that spawned or was spawned by them, business powers that backed or hampered them and the art and craft of the visual accompaniment to their tunes. This is not a “how to” book but rather the knowledge a devotee to the medium should know before s/he delves into music video production. Austerlitz covers the greats such as Michel Gondry and Spike Jonze as well as famous film directors who dabble in the genre such as Spike Lee, Brian de Palma and John Sayles. These 250 pages move quick as Austerlitz does a commendable job of putting each three to four minute “short” into context with the many factors that account for its success or failure. Rating:4

Developing Quality Metadata: Building Innovative Tools and Workflow Solutions

Cliff Wootton

Focal Press, $59.95


We’re just going to say it; put it out on the table: this book is intimidating. It’s not for someone who thinks, “I heard of metadata, I think I want to learn more.” This is for the hardcore – metadata person. If you’re brave, this well written book does cover some of the basics like “What is a Markup Language?” and “What is a Command Line?” This 530-page hard cover “text book” is for multimedia professionals. The tome is not cluttered with unnecessary screen shots, graphs, graphics or empty space. A good amount of programming languages are incorporated to illustrate powerful programming tools and user techniques on a variety of platforms. About half the book is background information while the second half contains over 60 tutorials. Also included are five appendixes, a glossary, a bibliography and a webliography of useful URLs. Rating: 3

Contributing editor Morgan Paar is a nomadic producer making documentaries worldwide.

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