The best reading you can make is the reading of natural light. Observe and look around, then ask yourself what it will take to reproduce that light. Experience with direct Hard light, and difuse light. You don't need big gear to do so, a white bed sheet will allows you to experiment with diffusion of light, Bouncing of light and a black piece of fabric will help you "Block" the light. To start your learning and understanding of lighting You need a small light source. I've been using the little VIP Pro from Lowel for years, not expensive and with that only light you will be able to learn all your basic. Don't try to make big setup, start small with small objects in tabletop, then moove to human. You have been living with light around you for years, just look at it. -Bruno
I never leave for a shoot without Flexes and Flags... Bounce, Diffuse or block the light, sometime just a large black peice of fabric that is easy to carry around will save the day to block some lights, same thing applies for white to diffuse or bounce.
I've been using FCP since it's alpha version in late 90's. Paid for all those upgrades up to 7. Switch to FCP X in 2012 with absolutely no remorse, FCP7 never even got close to the speed of FCP X. I think that any editor still working with 7 got to give a shot at X. With so many free tutorial online you will know rapidly if you like it or not.