A great example of this toolkit kind of app is one I’ve mentioned before called TransformMovie. It rotates a video file, which is really handy if you have got video recorded on a digital camera and someone held the camera side on (you’d be surprised how often that happens)
Rather than fire up the edit suite, add an effect and then render it out, this little app is built to do just that (well okay, it does a few other things as well)
So rather than identify the big players, or the lower cost option, I’ve split these resources up in to sections based on their particular function. Like my lo/no cost post, I’m sure there are more out there. Suggestions would be very welcome.
Audio editing, processing
In terms of its flexibility and functionality and the fact that it’s cross platform you can’t beat Audacity. Its free and win or mac
The Levelator is what broadcasters would call a compander. It goes through your audio content and smoothes out the apparent changes in loudness between different content. Aimed at podcasters its a useful tool.
DV Capture utilities
If you work on a windows machine have a mini-DV format camcorder but no software that will capture video directly from the camera then WinDV seems to be the top choice. WinDV is a small and easy to use Windows application for capturing videos from DV device.
Mac users can rely in Quicktime for this one
Video/timecode Logging software
If you have a number of tapes, clips, in fact any video footage kicking around you are going to need some form of logging and archiving application. Video loggers work in a couple of ways. They allow you to capture information as you ingest video or they gather information about the video without digitizing the content. In both circumstances the ‘information’ is usually tied to the timecode associated with the footage.
If you have some money to spend then mac users may want to look at idive by aquafadas. You could also take a look at DVlogX from Imagineproducts. You will need the Bronze version of the software to get FCP compatibility. They also have a number of Windows products that may meet your needs but with prices starting in the hundreds rather than tens of bucks, it’s a commitment.
Some programs out there turn the idea on its head a little and look at the collaboration part of the editing process. DVCreators have come up with a little Mac app called qt-movie-notetaker that allows you to annotate quicktime movies.
Video players and converters
At the free end of things there are a number of applications out there but many use a collection of free tools that go under the banner ffmpeg. Because these are free (open source) they crop up everywhere.
Two apps that make good use of ffmpeg to convert file formats are:
Perhaps a more well known user of the FFmpeg tools is VideoLan which will stream, play and converting video files that others can’t. It has a version for any operating system you care to mention.MpegStreamclip does a similar job. For mac users try isquint or its commercial big brother Visual Hub.
Mac users who want to try WMV files should invest in Flip4mac
It’s also worth remebering the growing number of Online file conversion sites. Two I’ve mentioned before are:
If you get sent DVD content – our local police force made a useful DVD of CCTV footage for example – then you will need some vide extraction software. For Macs, Mac The Ripper, works well. For windows there are plenty of shareware options around. Protected soft have a freeware app called Finalburner, but you may alos want to look at shareware sites like Softpedia for other apps.
Protected Software also has a free version of their DVD production software VideoDVDmaker which is limited but not in the areas that you might find useful for day to day DVD burning for backs-ups etc.
If you are going down the Timescast or Studio55 route, and having reporters deliver script to camera, then some form of prompt/autocue software would be a good idea.
There are no really free apps for this but a scroll wheel mouse and word will often work just as well.
Mac users could try VideoCue which was orginally designed for podcasting, but has a number of useful functions Prompt! comes in a lite version and for Mac users Presentation Prompter 4 by Next Force retails at around 60 bucks
On a side note, two things. First is this really nice article on how to build a prompter using a CD box.
And second; Why is it that all the low cost prompter sites insist on presenting the product in these infuriating up-sell style letters.
Avid and FCP utilities
Sebsky Tools is a Freeware application consisting of five utilities, each aimed at helping to move editing projects between Avid Media Composer (Avid) and Final Cut Pro (FCP) made by Apple Computer.
Also worth a look is Digital Heaven, who I mentioned earlier and if you are doing a lot of work bewteen Avid and FCP then Automatic duck is a tool you should have. It’s not cheap but it may just save your life.
Okay, enough already. I hope over the four posts there has been something of interest for all and I’d love to hear your experiences of using any of the apps mentioned or others I havnt.