Post Production Tip: Three Great Plugins

Seeing a finished product on screen can be dazzling. The polished footage, pristine sound, and high-end effects all come together to form an effective, moving piece of art. As a video professional, I’m constantly asking myself, “how did they do that? Many times the answer is simple. They had the right plugins in the hands of a capable editor.

Some people have the luxury of spending large amounts of time in post-production, hand-crafting looks and special effects from the on board tools in their editor. Many of us need a faster way to get fantastic looks and effects, without the tedious process of constructing and tweaking each effect. Thankfully, there’s a world of great plugins out there to help us take our video to the next level.

When you want that Hollywood film look and you want it fast, Magic Bullet Looks from Red Giant is the go-to tool. They’ve got tons of really useful presets you can use to customize a great look for your project. The standalone is a bit pricey at $499, but the suite version for $799 is well worth it considering it includes eight additional plugins to get your footage looking good.

If you’re looking to create some great particle effects, then look no further than Boris Continuum Particles. From sparkles, to dust, to cloud like atmospheres, every editor needs a good particle plugin to really boost their motion graphics and video effects. It goes for $300, and it’s versatility is well worth it.

And finally, if you’re looking for a great lens flare plugin for Adobe After Effects, check out Optical Flares from Video Copilot. There’s a great selection of high quality flares, and you can manipulate every aspect of the flare to create interesting light effects that would be hard to generate with the standard tool sets in your editor. $165 gets you the plugin and 100 professional presets.

There are tons of great plugins out there to help you achieve your creative vision. So when you’re frustrated with your on board tools, or simply need a high end product in a short amount of time, do the research and find the right one for the job. The time and frustration you save is often times well worth the cost.

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Greg is a Media Production Specialist for Chico State University.

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