No… not the Wild and Crazy Guy Steve Martin-the Ripple Training Steve Martin. (Of course, he might be wild and crazy but he kept his cool during our chat.)
This is the Steve Martin who hosts Final Cut Pro: Advanced Techniques, an interactive DVD-ROM available from Ripple Training (www.rippletraining.com). Final Cut Pro: Advanced Techniques (written and produced by Martin along with Andrew Balis and Nathan Haggard), boasts more than 50 tutorials on effective use of Apple's popular NLE, and is so straightforward and easy to follow that even the newest of FCP editors should have no problem jump-starting their abilities with it.
FCP: AT opens with the main interface and a Start Here button. This simply opens up a help movie explaining how to navigate the interface, which in itself is pretty self-explanatory. Steve's voice guides you with onscreen actions that you can follow along with using the included media. This allows you the ability to learn by seeing, by hearing, and--most importantly--by doing. Having a dual-monitor setup is ideal for this: FCP: AT on one, your FCP interface on the other.
Along the left are chapter buttons, and in each chapter are more specific buttons, making this not only an excellent training device, but an equally useful reference tool. The Play All button in each chapter will play each sub-chapter in sequence.
Most of the tutorials include suggestions on how to accomplish a variety of tasks, offering not just one, but several approaches to streamlining your workflow, giving you the flexibility to pick the one that works the best for you. There are so many tools and so many ways to accomplish the same tasks in Final Cut Pro that many users tend to develop a method of doing something and not really investigating alternative approaches. This is the case with the Ripple and Slide tools for me.
After watching the tutorial on Segment Trimming under Timeline Timesavers, I've developed a new understanding of these tools. From logging to final output, there are 57 training sessions, eight of which are geared towards those working in 24p or 24fps film. In addition, the DVD-ROM also has sample chapters from other training discs, direct links to the Ripple Training Web site, and free tutorials.
In short, I tried to find something about this DVD-ROM to dislike, just so this review comes across as fair and balanced. Okay, I don't work with 24p so I'll concede that that chapter wasn't much use to me. There. Happy now?
Final Cut Pro: Advanced Techniques is available at www.rippletraining.com for $79.