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Fix It In Post: Solutions for Postproduction Problems Paperback – Mar 25 2009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Focal Press; 1 edition (March 25 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0240811240
  • ISBN-13: 978-0240811246
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 18.4 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 590 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #815,411 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"Finally!  A well-written software agnostic guide to fixing common problems in post ranging from shaky camera to film look!"

-Jerry Hofmann, Apple Certified Trainer; FCP Forum Leader, Creative Cow; Owner, JLH Productions

About the Author

After working for some time in the field of computer animation, Jack went to work for Kodak's brand-new Cinesite Digital Lab. It was the first of its kind anywhere in the world, the aim being to reproduce all laboratory processes in the digital domain. It remains one of the leading post-production houses that uses digital intermediates. While at Cinesite, Jack worked on HBO's "Band of Brothers," which incorporated 10 hours of finished film, all to be scanned, edited and finished digitally. He was a member of the team that established and designed procedures and protocols which later became industry-standard. His core expertise is in establishing workflows of data management, film restoration, and conforming (making sure the final edit matches exactly what the editor of a film has cut--procedures which have widely been adopted elsewhere. Since leaving Cinesite, Jack has worked on the digital intermediates of many feature films including Miramax's "Cold Mountain."

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 34 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
"Fix it in Post" A book for every video editor July 9 2009
By Kel - Published on
Format: Paperback
Mr. James puts together a really great book on some of the technical tricks to help fix video footage in the post production phase of video content creation.

I have been in the industry for 23 years, and have read many books on all parts of the production process, but "Fix It In Post" is one of those wonderfully rare books that targets a very specific niche in the video work flow. Many people, from students to professionals have access to very powerful software to create videos. Either on a Mac or in the PC environment. They all come with an extreme amount of very solid tools. But which ones do you use? How can you identify specific problems or correct those problems if/when you are faced with them? Mr. James shares his wisdom to help you with the tools presented in most common editing software applications.

The book comes highly recommended because:

It is not software or computer platform specific.

Many other books covering software versions from various manufactures and the CDs and DVDs that come with them are large texts, that take a long time to work through, and cost a lot to purchase. This is NOT the case with "Fix it In Post." The book is an quick and easy read, without complicated steps.

The book is written clearly, with outlined approaches to solving problems. If you are a student, and you begin working with non-linear editors, this book will assist you in discovering what tools are available to fix and enhance your footage. It is like the additional college class that most institutions don't offer.

If you are a more seasoned professional, this book will offer you ways to modify your footage that you may not have tried before. (If you're like me, you learn ways that work for you, and don't always try new approaches to things.)

The book is written in a way to encourage you to try some of those buttons in your NLE you haven't tried before. In fact, the encouragement is in some ways a support avenue - to get your material to be the best that it can be and know that you have used the tools commonly available to move your project from a possibly ordinary one to an extraordinary one.

This is the kind of information many of us try to read blogs on various websites to obtain. Understanding interlaced and non-interlaced footage, compression, film look, framing issues, pixel formats, audio calibration, masks, layering, field dominance, simulating camera filters and much more. "Fix It in Post" answers so many questions it truly is a help reference guide.

It quickly answers so many questions you either may not know, or need to refresh your memory about certain procedures or details. In this world where so much of everything is on the internet, This book is a little treasure, and I am very glad it was published. You will surely want to keep this book handy in the edit room, you will reach for it often!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A very good introduction to what can be done in post production. Aug. 3 2009
By Paulo Leite - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product
I am a screenwriter/producer and I found this book to be a very good introduction to many of the problems we try to fix during post. When we shoot a film or a video, not everything goes as planned (and that's IF you are lucky because usually there are lots of things that defies your best planning). So once the shooting is in the can, there are many needs and options facing a) producers, b) directors, c) postproduction personnel.

So this book covers a relatively wide and vast number of tricks, solutions and answers to many issues. Starting from the simple explanation of semantics the book puts us all speaking the same language. It explains what several key words mean and (plus) it explains the importance of several elements (hardware, software, peripherals, etc.) in post production.

After that, the book progresses from easy stuff (like removing flares, sharpening images, color corrections, etc), to harder, more intensive work (like extending framing, patching frames and retiming the image). But the good thing here is that the book never gets too technical. It does not work as a manual (with endless snapshots of software menus) but as a reference for work flow or process - the usual steps one must follow in order to get to a certain solution to one given need.

Now... how useful this book is will depend on your knowledge of postproduction. In a nutshell, I feel this book is best suited for those who have some minimal understanding of the filmic process. Someone who never had any contact with post will probably find the book too hard to grasp as it advances into more specific issues. On the other hand, a professional who works in post production on a daily basis will probably find it too simple. For someone like me who falls in the middle, the book is perfect.

The only problem I found with this book is that some of the photos given as examples of "before" and "after" are too small for me to see a real difference. But in the end, I think is is a matter of taste. Postproduction is a universe in itself. While this book is not the only book you need (because the subject is too vast), it is certainly one of those you must have in order to better understand it.

I do recommend this book.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The Swiss Army Knife for dealing with postproduction pitfalls. Oct. 18 2009
By Marc Andre Ferguson - Published on
Format: Paperback
When I started in postproduction, in 1995, my first Mac only had 32 MB of RAM, I owned the only copy of After Effects 3.0 Production Bundle in Montreal, and Photoshop didn't quite yet produce automatic drop shadows. It was way before discussion forums and user groups in my area. Let's just say that when I ran into a problem, I had to figure out by myself.

In the golden age of SD (at least mine), most of the problems plaguing graphic design were interlace issues, pixel aspect ratio and a broadcast safe color palette. The television and motion graphics jargon was being introduced, but it was still hard to navigate those waters.

In 1999 I discovered Trish and Chris Meyer, motion graphics celebrities and authors of many books on After Effects. They produced a pair of VHS tapes on postproduction problems, Videosyncracies, which thankfully answered several of my questions and solved most of my issues.

Fast forward ten years later. On top of those SD problems, which are still a pain, an editor must face a host of new ones, from digitizing to developing post workflows, as well as a forest of HD production formats. My old Videosyncracies tapes aged quite well, but I was looking for something more modern. Enter Fix it In Post, by Jack James. I had loved his previous book, Digital Intermediates, the one and only bible on the subject, and I was looking forward to discovering his new treasure trove of tricks of the trade.

Jack James is an expert on all things digital. I find his website, Surreal Road, an excellent resource on postproduction, digital intermediate systems and other professional gear.

The book's approach is simple, clear and very well structured. While not favoring a specific piece of software and delivering application-agnostic explanations, the book is split in 11 chapters relating to families of technical problems:
- Image problems cause by lenses
- Video image problems (digital or not)
- Film image problems
- Audio glitches
- Color issues
... etc.

In the beginning, James explains basic techniques that all editors should learn to master, whether it's properly reading a histogram, or image retouching using cloning techniques, à la Photoshop. Each technique is illustrated with a specific icon. Icons are then used together with film frames in order to clearly illustrate the steps to solve a specific problem. This confers a very practical aspect to the book. Even more so, since the tricks can be used in different applications, the reader needs only adapt the technique to his favorite software. This is really the book's strength, teaching you how to fix a problem by explaining what caused it, what you can do to make things right, step by step, and examples of possible results.

This is more of a reference manual than a casual read, since you can quickly find the "magic" trick that will get you out of a snag. I discovered several new tricks, like how to fix focus issues in a shot, a better way to reduce digital noise, as well as tips to produce great looking black and white footage.

The last chapter deals with what I consider the most important subject, postproduction workflows. How to conceive a management strategy for your media, as well as security and archiving, should be on top of your "to-do list", in the era of multi-terabyte HD productions. The appendix contains a plethora of up to date lists and tables, covering everything from production formats and codecs to image frame sizes, a great resource for recognizing whatever can fall in your editorial plate.

The verdict: most of the techniques covered in this book could leave the casual Final Cut Pro enthusiast by the wayside. Online editors and compositors will feel at ease with the book, and might even discover some new tricks for their arsenal. On the other hand, one can never stress enough the importance of learning: in order to master your art, you must master your tool of choice. Understanding why a problem surfaces is essential in preventing such a problem to happen again, and there lies the importance of a book such as Fix it In Post. It deserves a special place on your bookshelf, because we still often hear "we'll fix it in post".

Marc-André Ferguson
Final Cut MTL : the Montreal Final Cut Pro Users Group
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Good book for the intermediate and advanced users March 27 2010
By Inna Tysoe - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Coming from a game development background and typically rendering directly without Post processing. I've tended to stay away from this area of video post editing however this book has changed my mind. It provides a wealth of information great for someone like me. I used Photoshop for years to edit images because I know how to use Photoshop. Still trying to figure out how to use to do a video where there are 30 frames a second seemed quite daunting.

This is where I found this book very useful. It methodically takes you through a series of common but difficult problems and solves them for you. I use a PC and Adobe Premiere which is one of the applications used in the book. Just recently I have had access to a Mac and Final Cut Pro too.

I found the tutorials very useful, laid out in easy to follow steps in full color. The book expects you to have some basic knowledge of the tools you are using, so it doesn't go into detail about interface and using the computer. For me at least this was a plus. I just wanted to recognize a problem, or get an idea of how I could improve the visual quality and enhance mood, atmosphere and drama. Or remove annoying problems like interlacing lines that are common with digital video cameras, enhance or subdue the lighting naturally, or remove lense-flares and average out the lighting when light conditions change. All these things are covered in Fix it in Post.

I think this book is excellent for Intermediate to advanced users, but a beginner might want to get to grips with the software and interface first before plunging in.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
What a Reference Guide! July 31 2009
By PD - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product
This is a fantastic post-production guide. I recently got into video editing and have been heavily studying jargon and techniques and most importantly, how to use Adobe Premiere Pro CS4. This book has NOTHING to do with those things... the author assumes you have some familiarity with video editing, and he makes no reference to a specific NLE (non-linear editor) such as Premiere, Final Cut, whatever. If he were teaching carpentry he wouldn't ask you what brand hammer you have, same thing.

What this book DOES cover is any of the issues you WILL run into during post production editing (it even includes a chapter on film). Imagine if you were back at your desk with all of your video clips and you were starting your editing, and you discover that the color temp is wrong on some footage and another has camera shake and some other clips are not very well focused. Plus you discover that you want to add a film grain look to a certain clip, make another one look like it was shot at night, blur out a license plate on a car so it's unreadable and while you're at it, do some serious audio cleanup. How nice it would be to have an experienced pro at your side! THAT's what this book is all about. It is filled with "How-To" after "How-To", and it's done very concisely and in a way that newcomers can understand without sacrificing a professional approach. I'll be referring back to this book many many times in my video work.