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Q&A with Lisa Brenneis

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Peachpit marketing manager Damon Hampson interviews Lisa Brenneis, author of Final Cut Pro 7: Visual QuickPro Guide, about some of her favorite new features in Final Cut Pro 7, exciting new developments in the world of film/video production and editing, and why all-girl bands aren't for her.
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Damon Hampson: Congrats on your new book. The Visual QuickPro Guide continues to be one of the most sought after book on Final Cut Pro. To what do you attribute its tremendous popularity?

Lisa Brenneis: Oh gosh…Peachpit got it right when they designed the series and they have the good sense not to monkey with a good thing. Visual QuickStart/QuickPro books are designed for people who want to learn as they go. It’s easy to find the bit of info you need, read up and then get right back to your project. As to why my Final Cut Pro VQP continues to be popular -- I have to assume it’s the high quality of my jokes.

Damon: Who needs to read your book?

Lisa: Anybody who is working with Final Cut Pro. Even if you’re familiar with parts of FCP, It’s impractical to memorize all the program’s details. FCP is an enormous program, not unlike a large city, and there may be neighborhoods you don’t travel to often. For example, when you’re working on a long-term project, you may go a year before using the color correction tools. Many people use the VQP to reacquaint themselves and catch up with the latest program features.

Damon: What are some of your favorite new features in Final Cut Pro 7?

Lisa: Let’s see….total redesign of the Markers feature, which sounds trivial, but editors use markers all the time to log, to spot effects or dialogue, to leave notes for one another. The Markers feature upgrade has made a lot of working editors happy.

The new Speed tool is much more usable than the old Time Remap function, and I’m won over to the idea of using Motion templates for titling (maybe it’s because I finally got a new computer). Using Motion templates is much easier than I imagined. I can fine tune an animated title in Motion , then just drop it into FCP and swap out text as needed.

Finally, the new ProRes codecs for working in HD formats. Beautiful quality at a practical size, and designed to run smoothly in FCP. Four stars.

Damon: Why do you think the number of Final Cut Pro Users continues to grow?

Lisa: Easy. Great application at an affordable price, and a strong base of community-minded FCP users worldwide. It’s quite a phenomenon.

Damon: What do you see as some of the most exciting new developments in the world of film/video production and editing?

Lisa: The cost of access to video gear keeps dropping so we’re seeing more and more new faces on TV, at the movies, and online. The more the merrier, I say -- except when I’m trying to get my own movie into a film festival.

Damon: You are a bestselling book author and award-winning documentary filmmaker, where do you get the energy and inspiration!?

Lisa: Fear of failure and hope for a good outcome take turns.

Damon: I heard a rumor that you were in one of LA's first all-girl Rock Bands - Tell us more!

Lisa: I was in several bands in LA back in the day. But I never ever played in an all girl band. I liked playing with the guys -- the drummers hit harder-- plus, I like boys.

Besides, in a girl band, who would carry the gear?

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