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The modern film and video world is one that is facilitated, managed, mastered, adjusted, and affected in every way by computers. Professional video editing is one of the most important elements to acquire and learn if you expect to be a real professional in the industry, and it spans every area from screenwriting to post-production. Here is a look at a few of the best video production and editing software packages available to you.
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Final Cut Studio
The best known professional video editing program to most people is Final Cut Pro, which is the flagship of the full Final Cut Studio. What Final Cut Pro did was evolve non-linear video editing into a format that was fairly user accessible as well as powerful, making professional video editing practical on a home computer. Beyond the complete services of Final Cut Pro is its DVD authoring program DVD Studio Pro, its complete color grading application Color, its codec and video compression tool Compressor, Motion for motion graphics, and Soundtrack Pro for audio mixing. All of this works together to give you the options to keep your post-production process completely internal if that is what you want, though some of the programs in the Final Cut Studio have better options from outside packages.
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Final Draft has defined the feature film and television industry in terms of screenwriting, and no other screenwriting program has ever come close to its popularity. This is a mix between the fact that it allows you to focus on the creative aspects while it funnels your work into the proper formats, but also because it is a common language that you must know if you intend on being a writer in the multimedia fields. The completeness of Final Draft is what will keep you in there and since writing is a mix of craft and creativity it allows you to keep both of those in play, especially when mixing in features like script notes. The keyboard shortcuts will allow you to keep the flow more intuitive and you can begin to create a workflow that feels almost like a blank page, even though you are putting it into a very specified screenplay format.
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Adobe After Effects
Adobe After Effects quickly dominated the world of video production software because of its ability to render layer based compositing, animation, visual effects, and almost everything you need to finish a project. Adobe After Effects is part of the Adobe Creative Suite Production Premium that also has programs like Adobe Premiere, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Encore, all of which are key to the industry yet pale in comparison to popularity and functionality of After Effects. Learning to use Adobe After Effects is possibly more important than any other video editing or production software because of its specialization and the fact that it is the industry standard that every post-production house will need.
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Dragon Stop Motion
Dragon is one of the more unique of the video editing and production software these days as it is a stop motion animation program. Before Dragon Stop Motion, much of the functionality of stop motion animation was too difficult for most people to do outside of a full service studio. With Dragon you can plug your camera directly into your computer and begin working with the images as they come in. The camera produces a still image, which you can see a shadow of on the screen as you arrange the next image. Since Dragon Stop Motion has a hardware component in the form of the Dragon Controller you can expect for it to have staying power, especially since it does not have the most dramatic of a learning curve for beginners.
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Movie Magic Budgeting
Some of the most important of all the video editing and production software out there deals with the complexity of feature film and television budgeting. No program has dominated the industry as Movie Magic Budgeting, and this is mainly because it allows you incredible detail along with the ability to make changes. The essential power of Movie Magic Budgeting is to produce an air tight budget plan that you will be able to set in stone, and provide to investors and accountants. This may be a little out of the financial range for many smaller producers who do not need something this powerful, but it still sits at the top of the professional video editing and production software world.
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Photos: www.apple.com, www.adobe.com, www.finaldraft.com, www.dragonstopmotion.com, www.entertainmentpartners.com.
Source: author's own experience.