Software Tools

Script Writing

  • Celtx [FREE]: If you want to write properly formatted scripts without having to buy Final Draft.

NLE’s (Video Editors)


  • Lightworks (PC, Linux, Mac (TBA) [FREE]– probably the most comprehensive and powerful free editing suite available
  • HyperEngine-AV (Mac/PC) [FREE]: a step up from iMovie and MovieMaker – a good option if you need to make a few simple edits
  • Avidemux (mac/PC/Linux) [FREE]: allows basic cutting, filter application and works with a lot of different file types.
  • Windows MovieMaker (PC) [FREE]: It’s free and will run on just about any windows PC – it will get the job done if you have nothing else to hand.
  • Avid Free DV (Mac) [FREE]: sadly discontinued – great for learning your way around Avid without spending a fortune. Unfortunately it’s just going to get more and more stale and out of date now.


  • Apple iMovie ($15 or part of iLife installed with most new Macs)
    • iMovie for iOS ($5 surprisingly powerful – squinty on the iPhone but very useable on the iPad)
  • Sony Movie Studio (PC) $45-$400 – Movie Studio Platinum $95 highly recommended – some very pro features for the money

High End

Screencast Tools

  • CamStudio [FREE] (free and powerful)
  • DemoBuilder :It’s a great screencast tool – it is a little hard to edit in though so I find it easier to do the screen capture in demo builder, output a video file, and then do the editing in a dedicated NLE.
  • Reflector (PC, iOS, Mac) $13 : if you need to screencast from on iOS device this is the best tool I’ve found this far.

Format Convertors (Transcoders)

  • MPEG Streamclip (Mac/PC) [FREE]: Powerful conversion tool that will convert just about any video format into something else. Can even download YouTube videos.
  • ffmpeg (Mac/PC/Linux) [FREE]: A second option if you need to convert video formats.

Post Production

  • DCP Builder (Mac/PC/Linux) [FREE]: If you need to screen your masterpiece on a modern digital projector you need it in a DCP (Digital Cinema Package) format. That’s what this does.
  • Open DCP (Mac/PC/Linux) [FREE]: Another, free DCP creator.
  • Black Magic DaVinci Resolve Lite (Mac/PC/Linux) [FREE]: Two things we do in post is color correction and color grading – Black Magic now offer a free, cut-down version of their powerful color processing tool.
  • Cinepaint (Mac/Linux) [FREE]: for retouching your footage frame by frame

Still Image Editing

  • Gimp (Mac/PC) [FREE]: Photoshop alternative
  • Inkscape (Mac/PC) [FREE]: Illustrator alternative
  • Seashore (Mac) [FREE]: lightweight Photoshop alternative
  • PicPick (PC) [FREE]: not really and editor but the best, free Screenshot tool out there at the moment.


  • Audacity (mac/PC/Linux) [FREE]: Adobe audition alternative – great tool for recording and editing audio.
  • Garageband: Comes installed on many new Macs and is simple to create basic music with its virtual instruments even if you know very little about music theory.
  • Acid Xpress (PC) [FREE]: Free version of Sony’s Music Studio – the easiest and fastest way for the PC non-muscian to make an orginal score (Mac users, you have Garageband).
  • Adobe Audition (High End)


  • Blender (Mac/PC/Linux) [FREE]: Equivalent to Maya and 3DS Max
  • Muvizu (PC) [FREE]: simple way to create 3D animations with lots of templates available – great for creating pre-viz videos.
  • Synfig (Mac/PC/Linux) [FREE]: Equivalent to Flash animation editor.
  • Jahshaka (Mac/PC/Linux) [FREE]: Equivalent to After Effects


  • DVD Flick (PC) [FREE]: DVD authoring Tool
  • Handbrake (Mac/PC) [FREE]: DVD ripper
  • MediaInfo (Mac/PC) [FREE]: tool that tells you what codecs were used to create a video file.
  • VLC (Mac/PC/Linux) [FREE]: the video player that plays just about any file format

Music & Sound

You must be really careful when using music in your video or other multimedia projects. Just because you bought the CD does not give you the right to use that music. The music industry is very litigious(remember Napster and the suing of file sharing users?) and are especially interested if they think you work for a big company with big pockets and that you’re using their music inappropriately. You are looking for royalty free music. If you’re at all in doubt about its legal status, don’t use it. If the rights for using the music mean you have to include attribution make sure you do it appropriately (in the credits not in the description on YouTube or other host).