Difficult to learn FCS2?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Kamera RAWr, Jun 14, 2007.

  1. Kamera RAWr macrumors 65816

    Kamera RAWr

    May 15, 2007
    I'm where I need to be
    Hello all, my first post in the Digital Video forum area :) . I am curious as to how difficult FCS2 is to learn. I've been into still photography for a while now and am considering the move into video. I'm sure a few here are ready to ask "What does FCS2 have that you need? Why not iMovie?" The thing is that I am really wanting to get into some documentary film making... semi-seriously, if you get what I mean. I want to be able to make some professional looking videos. Also I'm curious as to what kind of camera would be good judging from what I mentioned above. Any helpful comments are greatly appreciated. Thanks :D
  2. -DH macrumors 65816

    Nov 28, 2006
    Nashville Tennessee
    I moved from still photography into video production about 18 years ago. The basics are the same, composition, lighting/exposure, depth of field ... are all the same. But there are huge differences as well. For example, you'll need to learn a lot about audio - something you never had to consider with still work.

    How hard it is to learn any software depends on one's own abilities and skill set. Some people learn to drive a car really well in a matter of hours while others can take months if not years. But it sounds like you need to learn about the entire realm of video production - not just editing software.

    For most productions, the primary element is the story. Film making is essentially the art of story telling through imagery and sound. If you have a natural talent at that, you're off to a very good start. If you have a technical side, that too will serve you well when confronted with the myriad of equipment that will all need to be interconnected properly.

    You're best bet would be to start out small with a relatively inexpensive camera. The Panasonic HDX-200 (DV/DVCPro HD) or their DVX-100 (DV only) would be good choices. But whatever camera you decide on, learn its capabilities and limitations well to get the most from it. You'll also need to consider lighting, mics, monitors, tripods and all the other costly goodies involved in the world of production.

    Best of luck,
  3. ppc_michael Guest


    Apr 26, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    I think learning something like FCS2 would be analogous to learning Photoshop, which I'll assume you've had some experience with. :)

    It just takes a lot of playing around, a few glances at the manual and some Google searches. You'll become accustomed to what tools you have available through Final Cut, and you'll be fine.

    The basic cutting is extremely simple. Once you have your footage imported, you just set an in-point at the beginning of the section you want to use, and an out-point at the end, and then drop it into your timeline, where you sequence all of the clips you've cut like that.

    The rest, as mentioned above, is more of an art.

    I think if it's something you want to do, you should definitely go for it. We'll always be here to answer your questions!

    As for a good camera, there are so many out there, there's not a specific one to recommend. If you're thinking about doing these documentaries professionally, and for hire, you would most probably want an HD camera of some sort. The "prosumer" format of that is HDV. Professional places use better formats like DVCPRO HD or HDCAM, but those get extremely expensive. I guess I'll let other people talk about specific models.

    As a photographer, I'm sure you're very informed about lenses, aperture, exposure, and ISO (which roughly translates to "gain" on video cameras... sort of). Unfortunately cameras with full manual controls over all those things and changeable lenses appear mostly in professional-grade equipment. So for a camera that you can use all your photographic knowledge on, it will be quite expensive.

    I don't want to end on a low note so... kittens!
  4. darwen macrumors 6502a


    Apr 12, 2005
    California, US
    I recommend Final Cut over iMovie because of control. You want to have complete control over what is being seen and heard. iMovie does not give you the detail oriented results.

    I taught Final Cut to myself back in FCP3. Start with the basics. You can buy the studio but just start with Final Cut. Figure out how to get video into the program and start cutting it up.

    Also, I would look into Final Cut Express. It seems to be the best fit for what you are doing.
  5. zioxide macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2006
    Yeah, you probably won't want to go out and spend $1300 just on editing software if you have no idea how to use it. I'd recommend you get Final Cut Express (same interface as Final Cut Pro) and learn to use it. Also, if you can, try to take a class or two on video production.
  6. puckhead193 macrumors G3


    May 25, 2004
    as mention above, actual editing is pretty easy, its making things look good is the challenge its an art like photography. If you think you might be interested i would take a look into express. It take getting some footage and just playing around and learning the ins and outs
  7. Rasheem macrumors regular

    Jul 12, 2006
    If you decide to buy FCP i reccomend buying the Apple Pro training series book. It comes with a data dvd which includes video files that are already to be edited. It tells you step by step how to do everything you need with them to make them look professional. I bought it after i had the basics down and it was still of great use for more advanced stuff, however it is still packed with info on basic stuff.
  8. sarge macrumors 6502a


    Jul 20, 2003
    Training Videos

    The good news is that FCPS is a very flexible tool. By that I mean that Apple have engineered a number of different ways to accomplish similar editing tasks from drag&drop to tool buttons to keyboard shortcuts. As far as getting a handle on workflow, I would highly recommend getting some training videos. Total Training have a suite of videos and I have personally used Larry Jordan for FCP and Lynda.com for Illustrator which I have found extremely helpful. Books are a great reference but I have found that the videos convey a ton of information and are great for getting up to speed.

    Good luck!

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