Last week a very important book came out in conjunction with an arguably equally important film. Focus, a new film from directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa happens to be the first Hollywood feature to be edited in Final Cut Pro X. Mike Matzdorff, the assistant editor on Focus, decided that he wanted to document the process in order to write a book to help out all future editors working with FCP X. That book is called Final Cut Pro X: Workflow, and it is currently for sale through the iBooks store for $10 (give or take depending on your country). He has now literally written the book on cutting a feature with Final Cut Pro X. This is a must read for all FCP X editors, be it those working on music videos, corporate videos, short films, anything. Mike’s comprehensive knowledge and experiences will be helpful to anyone, no matter what you’re cutting.
I was able to get through the book in just a couple hours, and can say with certainty that it is a must read. Mike goes into detail about every step of the post process, from day zero testing, to the first day of shooting, to prepping for VFX, prepping for sound, and even final delivery. There's plenty of tips-and-tricks and recommended software for anyone working in a FCP X environment. Almost no stone is left unturned, and the book is written in a very easy to digest manner that makes it a very quick and easy read.
Sometimes though I'd have liked a little more detail. The book opens with the disclaimer that it is not a “how-to-edit-with-Final-Cut-Pro-X” book. That said, I would have liked a little more depth on specific workflow case studies rather than the more theoretical explanations that are given at times. While I understand why Matzdorff couldn’t always explain exactly what they did in a situation, seeing these workflows in practice go a long way to helping understand what exactly is going on (and I imagine FCPWorks' NAB15 presentation will do just that). It would also be great to get more images and visuals of the process, especially for those of us that are visual learners. There are some images here and there but more images to compliment the text would go a long way to helping better illustrate these complicated workflows.
That being said, this book is an indispensable tool that all FCPX editors should read. Here’s hoping that thanks to Matzdorff and Co.’s efforts we’ll be seeing more and more people working with FCPX.
With this book you’ll be ahead of the curve.
For more on the post process of Focus be sure to check out FCP.co's coverage.