I received this book as part of a training course with the Manhattan Editing Center in New York City. It was necessary as I am attempting to become an Avid Certified User. Presently, the Avid Certified User test has a very high fail rate - partially because Avid was giving people who were learning Media Composer 6 (MC6) a test based around Media Composer 5, partially because some of those taking the test have used the program without taking a course (and fail to know the in's and out's), and partially because of a poor foundation created by this book. This is indicative of the Avid company's poor organizational skills (for another example, just look at the MC6 interface).
This book is part of Avid's official curriculum for people attempting to learn Media Composer 6 and/or become Avid Certified Users - it says it right on the cover. While the author may or may not know all the in's and out's Avid Media Composer 6 (there are points in the book which suggest the latter), she definitely DOES NOT know the basics when it comes to giving instructional information; she does not use the same terms consistently throughout the book, she refers to sections of the book that do not exist (because she is referring to them broadly and not by their exact titles), and in a few instances gives the wrong shortcut keys for the process she is describing. For instance, a command is described as making the Record Monitor play forward when it actually makes it play backward. Also, one command is given as "Ctrl+0", but because the font the publisher chose does not put a slash through zeroes, you may just write this off as yet another bad piece of information.
I'm not willing to completely blame the author. I'm sure there was some meddling by the publisher (the resolutions are written with commas, which seems like a publisher error). Also, it definitely seems like nobody at Avid took the time to review the book and make corrections prior to it going to press - you would think they would considering this book is a key part of the foundation to the Avid Certified User program! This does not surprise me, as I said before, for whatever accolades they've garnered, Avid appears to be a terribly disorganized company.
Now to my two primary complaints about the book:
1) Much of the book is written in near-broken English - especially the Review/Discussion Questions at the end of each chapter.
2) The Review/Discussion Questions do not seem to be written with the intention of helping the reader gain a better understanding of Avid. Aside from the topic of each question not being in same order as they appear in the chapter (which is more conducive to teaching information), the majority of them appear to be structured around tricking the reader. Most of the questions seem to be written to confuse and many feature multiple choice answers that are so convoluted, you have to break them apart bit by bit to ultimately stand a chance at *guessing* what each question and answer could possibly mean. Others come in the form "True or False" questions that, due to their structure, would require answers like "Part of this is true, part of this is false" or "If you do it this way, it *could* be true".
Sure you get an Answer Key in the back of the book, but in at least four instances, the answer key contains the wrong answer, has multiple answers without the question being noted as a multiple-answer question, has two questions swapped, or has an answer that is completely irrelevant to the question being asked! And this was evident to me, an MC6 beginner! I bet there things I have *completely* wrong, without knowing it - I certainly can't trust the book at this point. There's even a question that asks "Which is more valuable in a project: the media or the metadata?" After toiling over the answer for several minutes, you can check the Answer Key to find out that 'they are both important and this is a good topic for debate.' How is that helping me learn this material? I guess it reinforces the theme of Avid being convoluted, but that's one lesson I learned in the first hour.
Oh yeah, it comes with a DVD - most of the content worked, but some files were corrupt (and, no, dealing with corrupt files was not part of the lesson).
I paid $1000 for the course that required this book (MC101) and another $1000 for a second course (MC110) which, in conjunction, make up Avid's recommended (not required) program for those of us who want to become Avid Certified Users. This book was very little help and I'm no more confident in my ability to pass the Avid User Certification after using it.
My method for studying for the Avid Certified User test:
1) Download the free 30-day trial of Avid Media Composer 6 and work through the book while using the program. This will familiarize you with Avid way more than reading just the book will.
2) Type out all of the questions from each chapter of the book, then go through the book and type exhaustive answers to the basic ideas of the questions. Example:
Q: What is AMA?
a. Average Media Account
b. Avid Media Access
c. Access Media Aide
d. Avid Media Aide
A: b. Avid Media Access (Then type out what Avid Media Access is, how to use it, shortcut keys, etc.)
Even by doing this, you are betting that the material covered will be on the test.
3) I created my own project in Avid and started trying to apply what I learned from the class and the book - this step will definitely make you feel more secure about what you are learning. The book completely fails to do this on its own.
**** - I'll let you know if my method worked when I take my certification next month. If I passed, then I earned it.
At this point, I have to say that if I didn't think being an Avid Certified User would make a difference in my career, then I wouldn't have bothered with any of it. The folks at Avid seem to point to awards in order to claim credibility, but the truth is in the user's experience. I'm 29 and I've been editing for nearly 15 years. When I started, you had to load footage into the computer in real-time, using an A/V card and cables (there were no cameras with memory cards or hard-drives), and the idea of a computer having 5gb of memory (let alone the 20gb I started with as a consumer) was preposterous. I've used Pinnacle Studio, i-Movie, Final Cut Pro, and Adobe Premiere and I have to say that my experience with MC6 has been the most unnecessarily painstaking. The plus side of Avid is that it does a good job of keeping your media organized. The downside seems to be everything else. The folks behind Final Cut and Premiere can figure out how to get that stuff down, but just seeing where Avid is now in terms of how poorly organized the interface is, leads me to believe that they will be put out to pasture eventually. My generation has to learn Avid because the people giving the jobs are older and Avid is what they know, but Avid will not be the/a standard for much longer.