Filmmaking Software

There’s a lot of great software for doing various filmmaking tasks. In this article, I’ll be highlighting some that I use. Here, you’ll find my favorite tools for getting a movie done.

Pre-Production

Comic Life, by Plasq. Price: $24.95.
You just can’t beat the fun of storyboarding with comic book creation software. The sound effects are a nice touch. If you draw like I do (that means taking pictures of Lego scenes), you need Comic Life to create nice speech bubbles and organized picture layouts, so the storyboard actually makes sense.

Editing

Final Cut Express, by Apple, Inc. Price: $299.
This is the big one. All of the editing that takes place in post-production is done here. I just love the vast amount of features in Apple’s mid-range editing software. There’s just so much that you can do with it! If that wasn’t good enough, Final Cut Express also includes LiveType (see below) and Soundtrack, for doing titling and scoring. Sure, you could spend $1299 and get Final Cut Pro, but unless you need a few high-end features (mostly for broadcasting), I think you’re better off with Express.

LiveType, by Apple, Inc. Price: $299, bundled with Final Cut Express.
Titles say a lot about the budget of your film. If you can make them look professional, people automatically think you spent a lot of cash on the movie. LiveType gives you a flexible, open-ended way to create professional titles, without being difficult to use.

Sound Editing

GarageBand, by Apple, Inc. Price: $79, part of iLife.
As far as I’m concerned, GarageBand is the music editing application to beat all. Its amazingly easy-to-use interface, combined with lots of hidden power, makes it a filmmaker’s dream. And you can’t beat the price, especially since iLife contains five more great applications!

Audacity, Open Source. Price: Free!
Being free, Audacity could create the wrong impression. “Free?! What good is it?” However, Audacity performs amazingly with its wide variety of filters, and the ability, in some cases, to even save bad audio.

Special Effects

Blender, Open Source. Price: Free!
Another free one, Blender provides the functionality of high-end 3-D software, while still maintaining open source. If I were to list all the features, we’d be here all week. The interface takes some getting used to, but once over that small hurdle, streamlined 3-D animation and graphics are at your disposal.

DVD Authoring

iDVD, by Apple, Inc. Price: $79, part of iLife.
If you already need GarageBand, iDVD comes in the same package. Although it has a few quirks, iDVD is wonderful for creating, well, DVDs (no brainer).

Well, now it’s your turn. I’d love to hear about your favorite filmmaking software! Just leave a comment on this post.

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3 comments on “Filmmaking Software

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