Total beginner at video editing (final cut pro)

As you know from the ‘about us’ section Will is the super computer wizz of this partnership. I can use email/youtube/word basic stuff like that, but I wanted to increase my skills so that I too can produce my own videos and create a youtube channel of some of the stuff I’m interested in and not have to rely so much on Will for everything technical.

So Will suggested I learn to use Final Cut Pro on the Mac using a book he used to us to teach people – ‘Apple Pro Training Series: Final Cut Pro 7 – professional video editing by Diana Weyland’…….eeek (14 lessons)

So I sat down at the Mac and started to learn from the ground up – how to use a mac etc. which I dont really know how to use properly. Luckily for me FCP was already installed  but the book does tell you how to do this before the first lesson in ‘Getting Started’.

In the first 3 lessons you work with video footage of the ‘Believe’ killer whale show at Seaworld. Through this learning how to set up FCP for a work session, organise windows, play and navigate through clips, organising the project, making overwrite and insert edits, adding music and narration, and rearranging clips for best effect, so you end up with a pretty good rough cut. You get to the end of lesson 3 feeling like you could go and be the next documentary video editor on Frozen Planet, and you get to learn a bit of the lingo too!

It is really easy to follow, literally tells you button by button, click by click, if you get lost go back a few steps and carry on. The author Diana Weyland doesnt bog you down with too much jargon and always gives you different ways to do a certain steps so you really have a thorough understanding of navigating your way round the programme, keyboard and Mac.

1st Video

So after doing those first 3 lessons (approx 90minutes per lesson) I was itching to have a go at editing my own footage. I took the video camera to a halloween party and here are the results post-FCP.

I did cheat a little. Will captured all the footage off the camera and put it into FCP (you dont learn about that until lesson 8 and I couldnt be bothered with that part yet), and he put some flashy finishing touches on the video like the opening/ending fright night titles but other than that its all my own work. One of the most interesting and pleasing bits was when Will showed me how to use the beats of the music track to decide when to cut in shots to create a music video style sequence.


I’m working my way slowly through the book and having a bit of a love-hate relationship with it to be honest. Some lessons I just cant get into and they end up taking me days to complete as they are just not drawing me in. And there is so much to take in and remember! But I think that’s because I’m just not that technical and can find it boring as its not my own footage im working with. I’m up to lesson 10 so will keep plodding though till I finish but think it’s important to have your own projects running alongside on which you can practice and revise things already learnt.

Also, I struggle with the learning style sometimes. For example, the writer Diana Weynand, sometimes deliberately leads you down a dead end so that she can demonstrate some subtle change or setting to be applied. Like I said before it is all step-by-step, but being an impatient type of person when it comes to technology I like to keep going when I’m on a roll, and find when this happens it infuriates me and makes me lose track and concentration.

However I would say that this book is an excellant place to start, and to develop your skills in video editing at a professional level. I would say though editing isn’t quick to learn or do. That 3 minute video took me about 10 hours to edit! I dont have the greatest attention spans so it really challenged me and made me pay attention to detail as you can spot the flaws a mile off (watching TV is now a new experience too). But you do have a great sense of achievement when you watch it all back and get feedback.

Will post more videos I do and maybe you will see an improvement.


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