Low budget projects call for low cost solutions. Before referring cheapskate clients to an uncle with a camcorder, take a look at a few free tools which, with little else, can produce some professional results.
Stock images come in handy for all sorts of things: backgrounds, creating an environment, filling in for b-roll, Videomaker article cover images (photo by Freeimages.com). When it comes to low cost productions, low cost solutions are the way to go. Fortunately, long-long-favored free image site sxc.hu has stayed awesome, even after the rebrand to freeimages.com. Search thousands of images to find the right one for a project and download it and as many others as needed. There are still attributions that need to be heeded, but the selection isn’t too bad. If the exact right shot isn’t available, premium iStock options will be displayed too and link back to the parent’s paid site.
Visual effects are tough to create, or require expensive plug-ins. Luckily, the effects gurus at Rampant Design Tools have launched a free selection of their amazing drag and drop effects absolutely free. Snow, dirt, sparks, fire, style mattes, and way more, all free. The best part is that the clips are pre-rendered Quicktime files, so to use them just drag one or more of them onto a layer above existing footage in an editing app or After Effects and change the blend mode. Voila. Instant Hollywood.
Lightworks is Editshare’s free editing application that has been used on films from Pulp Fiction to Wolf of Wall Street. Now available for Windows, Linux and OSX, Lightworks features robust, professional editing tools, 4K support, integrated waveform and vectorscope, and an intuitive interface. Toss in a suite of effects, preconfigured effect templates and pro color correction tools, and this is a bargain at any price. Particularly free. If I/O hardware and shared editing workflows are the name of the game, a simple and affordable upgrade to Lightworks Pro will fit the bill.
Blender is an open source 3D animation suite with the power, tools and support to compete with the Maxons and Autodesks of the world. Blender features all of the tools necessary to manage the 3D workflow: modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing, and motion tracking. There are even tools for video editing and game creation packed in there. Being open source, some people use Blender’s API for Python to customize the application and create their own tools. Another bonus of Blender is that it is totally cross platform, so it’ll run equally well on Linux, Windows and Mac computers.
What free tools help plug holes in your production pipeline? Share with us in the comments or hit us up on Twitter @Videomaker!