OK, maybe “intimate” isn’t the right word. Anyway, in today’s article, TRG Reality's video editors reveal their favorite video editing tools, tricks and software. It might not be as cool as Batman’s tool belt, but it’s pretty close...
Take it away!
Video Editing Tools
When it comes to actually creating and editing videos for TRG Reality clients, I rely heavily on Adobe Premiere Pro. With Adobe Premiere, I can edit video and audio without having to fuss around with difficult-to-use interfaces. Premiere has some great out-of-the-box tools that I use on nearly all projects. I also take advantage of some third-party plugins to extend Premiere’s functionality, but I’ll address those later in this post.
I spend a lot of time in another Adobe product, too: Adobe After Effects. This software has a steeper learning curve than Premiere, but that’s mostly because of its extensive functionality. I use After Effects to create motion graphics and complete basic compositing for our clients’ video projects, which I can easily import into Premiere. Which brings me to my next point: my workflow.
Adobe Premiere and Adobe After Effects sync together beautifully. When I make a change in After Effects, the file automatically updates in Premiere. I can’t even begin to describe how useful this seamless integration is. I’m an Apple guy, but I was finally forced to switch from Apple’s Final Cut Pro to Adobe software a few years back after Apple made some serious changes to the way Final Cut worked. Shortly after starting in Premiere, I realized I could be much more productive while maintaining the quality of work.
Even though I work primarily with video, I do occasionally need to use Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop for image editing. Are you noticing a trend yet? If you’re interested in making a career for yourself in video editing, I suggest getting your hands on Adobe products as they have a lot to offer for professional video editing.
When it comes to color, the industry standard is DaVinci Resolve for a reason - the software is extremely powerful and gives me the ability to do exactly what I need. Whether it is moving the color to an extreme or dialing in to a very specific color or range of colors DaVinci gives me the control that I need. There is a bit of a learning curve since it is a node-based software but learning node-based software is a must if you want to be a great colorist or compositor because the next piece of (node-based) software is very important as well.
When it comes to compositing Nuke is the program to use hands down. Just a quick look at their website shows you the biggest movies in Hollywood basically all use Nuke. The reason is simple - the software is extremely powerful and able to accomplish pretty amazing things. We may not be compositing the Millenium Falcon into a flight scene but Nuke is also extremely useful if you need to have a car engine lift out of a car while running.
The Adobe Media Encoder is, hands down, one of the best encoding tools around. I rarely have to use anything else. It works with so many video formats and video sizes, it’s mind-boggling.
On the rare occasion I need to render or encode a .WMV, I use Wondershare’s Video Converter. It does a nice job with the .WMV format.
Magical Little Helpers
I do the bulk of my work with the software listed above. Those are definitely the “heavy hitters,” but I also use a few plugins to make my life way easier.
Trapcode Suite sets the industry bar with 10 tools for broadcast-ready effects and flexible 3D content. Its flagship product is Particular, which I use frequently in its most basic form. It’s a speedy 3D particle system with options for custom particles, particle shading and movement in 3D space.
Plural Eyes 3
You really need to check out the video to see how amazing this plugin is. It can honestly save you hours and hours of editing time. Basically, Plural Eyes syncs audio and multi-camera video automatically, preparing your sync in a matter of seconds (rather than days). This standalone application works directly with Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, Media Composer and Vegas Pro. Monitor the sync with an interactive timeline and visual feedback, and use built-in fine tuning controls afterward.
Never Stop Learning
It’s incredibly important for me to stay up-to-date with the latest video editing trends, technology and software. If you’re interested in video editing, carve time out of your schedule and dedicate it to learning. There are tons of free online resources, forums and tutorials online to help you out, and here are some of my favorites.
Video Copilot offers their own video editing and video effects software, and their website is a terrific resource. Lots of videos, free presets and both basic and advanced training.
Creative Cow has tons of online resources, like forums, tutorials, videos, reviews, interviews, podcasts, and more. This site has been around forever, too (since 2001) and are a highly trusted resource in the creative community.
Like I mentioned above, Red Giant really dominates the video editing industry with software and tools. They’re also totally on-the-ball with providing their customer-base with free tutorials and resources. Check out their video database.
Greyscale Gorilla is 1) a beautiful website, and 2) an awesome place to go for tools and training for 3D work. They also have a highly active community, so if you have questions, there’s bound to be someone around to help you out. Even if it’s 3 AM.
fxphd is a subscription-based online vfx, post-production, and motion graphics training program led by professionals. We offer both application and craft-based courses, online discussion forums, and vpn software.
Well, that was an awful lot of information, wasn’t it? That’s my entire tool belt! It’s really not as complicated as it sounds, but if you have any questions at all, feel free to ask in the comments below. I’d love to help you out.
Note: This post was originally published in October 2013 and has been updated.