We all have a budget to pursue video and photo as a hobby, from amatuers shooting for fun and upgrading when they can to semi-pro’s who bankroll some of the funds from commissioned work, we all have a figure in our head that we can put aside for gear and tools needed.
Starting out it’s hard financially to justify placing a large downpayment on equipment to find out 6months later you don’t like it or you’re just happy shooting for fun and don’t need the high end stuff which is best left to the pros.
This post is designed for people who want to get into this exciting creative avenue on a budget and these examples are from my own experience using them. It is all software related and so you can edit your videos and photos with a somewhat more professional look but without forking out on the price tags of pro grade software.
Google bought this company over in 2012 and it used to have a pricetag but last year the price was slashed down to zero, it’s pro grade software and plugins for nothing. From old film style filters to HDR and Black and White converters it’s a pretty packed out collection, some are a little dated and not as good as alternatives but for free this is one of the best alternatives to paying for Photoshop/Lightroom.
From the guys at Black Magic, they make some pretty high end pro cameras, they developed DaVinci Resolve an NLE (non-linear editing system) with industrial leading colour grading capabilities. It is quite intensive on your PC but if you can run it you have access to possibly the best grading set up for video, you can also edit your clips within Resolve and with the release of version 14 they’ve improved the feature set massively on this front.
I’ve talked a bit about Audacity before but for free audio editing I personally find it one of the best, yes you’re editing software will have audio capabilities but within my workflow I like having Audacity as it gives me a few more features and I know how to use it, plus it’s free so nothing lost if you don’t like it. Also preferred for working with multi tracks or recording PC based interviews or voice over work.
We all take photos on our phones and for most DSLRs have some kind of wifi ability to transfer images from camera to phone, enter Snapseed that allows you to edit quite professionally on your phone. It has quite a packed feature set allowing you to cut, tweak and add filters (which you can also tweak) so for social media Snapseed is handy for quick snaps you want to post online and because it’s pretty capable it’s a viable solution for editing more professional photos quickly and easily when away from PC.
Another free video editing suite that provides semi-pro features with a zero price tag, there are other versions you can pay for but the Express package allows you to download for free and learn the basics and if it comes a time to upgrade you can. Featuring a full NLE and colour grading package HitFilm Express is also an easier entry point than Resolve with a cleaner more simplified UI but comparatively either or will be more than good enough to get you started.
This is just five examples of free software that offer more features than the base ware that PCs have, I’ve personally tried all these and can happily recommend any of them as a starting point with no downpayment to get involvement minus time and learning curve but that comes with any new program.
I’d love to hear about anymore free software you’d recommend to users? Let me know in the comments below