Having just got into the whole Mac thing and having to learn much more in a short space of time than I would otherwise like I decided to take a look at this new training DVD from Creative Cow. "Stop Staring and Start Grading with Apple Color" is the first of what I hope will be a series of DVD's about this most comprehensive color grading software.
The DVD was created by Creative Cow regular Walter Biscardi Jr. It has seemingly been designed to run only on a Mac and cannot be played back in a normal DVD player. This is fine because it allows the prospective student to view the tutorial while using Color at exactly the same time. Thus following Walters tutorials is made ultra easy.
As a host Walter is enthusiastic. Perhaps too enthusiastic! Although having said that it is nice to have a voice with some get up and go talking you through things as opposed to a slow monotonous drone as is often the case with tutorial DVDs.
The DVD is broken up into many different sections:
Opening up Color for the First Time, Starting Color from the Projects Screen, Setting up the screens for the lessons.
Brief history and explanation of why the interface looks like it does.
An in-depth overview of the entire User Prefs dialogue in the Setup Room. Your Color experience will depend greatly on understanding these setups.
Settings for all the other Setup Room Tabs.
Overview of the Primary In Room including Wheels vs. Curves balancing, Auto Balance, Manual Balance, how to use Middle Click and some basic Primary Grading.
Overview of the Secondaries Room including Enabling Secondaries, Curves, Vignette Controls, Creating User Shapes, Motion Tracking and Keys.
Overview of the Rooms including Building a Node Tree, Applying Filters, How and when to use the Primary Out Room.
Overview of additional Geometry Room features, Pan and Scan, Keyframing, Setting up the Render Queue, Send to Final Cut Pro. Additional Shapes information.
Copying and Saving Grades, Taking Grades with you and some other final thoughts.
Color is a very in-depth piece of software and could take years to master fully. With this DVD Walter sets up the basics and gets the user on their way. Everything is explained in very straightforward terminology, and various subtleties as to the ways in which Color works and handles things are pointed out to help you avoid getting into an organisational mess.
One thing that the DVD manages to illustrate quite well is that Color isn't as scary as it may first seem. In fact many adjustments can be made very quickly and precisely. Precision is one of its strong points. Isolating the blue in a sky and making it 'pop' more for example is something that is easily achieved.
The DVD isn't designed to be an in depth guide on how to grade. But as an introduction to get you on your way it makes a superb tutorial, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who has just bought Final Cut Studio 2 and wants a bit of a head start.
The DVD can be purchased from www.creativecow.net.