In part two of my Adobe equivalent Free Open Source Software (FOSS) blog I thought I would look at the video editing pipeline and find some free alternatives for your video editing needs. You can read Part One which covers Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign here.
Video editing is an area I studied during my time at university I am sad to say I don’t use the skills I have in the area all that often anymore but there are three main programs you need to know about to do this to the full and in this blog I will be looking at free alternatives to those programs.
Adobe After Effects
First up is Adobe After Effects used for a few different tasks from creating transition effects to compositing, this is where you take parts of a scene and put them together to make a completed scene such as adding explosion effects and smoke to a video. As with all Adobe products there is a lot of documentation to get you going and help you learn the program https://helpx.adobe.com/nz/after-effects/user-guide.html. This comes at the same cost as other adobe products at $31.35 ASD a month and if all you are after is a flashy intro to a video for YouTube or personal work going for a free option is the way to go. I will however say there is a very good reason After Effects is used so widely, there are so many things that After Effects comes from standard effects to the ability to change your workspace to fit the project you are working on.
Blender – The After Effects alternative
One choice for a FOSS alternative to After Effects that shocked me is Blender. Blender is a 3D modeling program that I found out while researching for this blog has a video editing and compositing component. Blender comes with some standard video editing things such as colour correction and transitions. The upside to using Blender is also a downside, using Blender you can create your own effects this means you have to have some knowledge of how all sections of blender work. The upside to this is if you know how to create things in blender 3D environment you can make a wide range of effects from scratch. With Blender comes all the user manuals https://docs.blender.org/manual/en/latest/ you would expect and wide range of YouTube tutorials to help you get a hang of this program.
Adobe Premier Pro
Where After Effects is used for adding effects and compositing Premier Pro is your more standard video editor used for getting video clips into a sequence for a final cut of a video, this is where you would add in all of the clips you have for your project and get them to flow together. There is also the option to do some effects in Premier as well not to the same degree that you can in After Effects but the simpler things such as colour correction, transitions and basic movement of objects on the screen. As always with Adobe programs there is the use guide to get you up to speed in the use of Premier Pro https://helpx.adobe.com/premiere-pro/user-guide.html. There is a lot you can get out of Premier Pro once you know how to do things and even with the basic knowledge you can get simple projects done easily.
OpenShot – The Premier Pro alternative
While finding FOSS for this blog I came across lots of choices for video editing I decided to include OpenShot for a few reasons one of my main ones was its simplicity. OpenShot has a simple to use interface and a clean UI, this come on top of a tool set that will achieve most if not all your video editing needs. It has all the things you would expect from editing software, a place for file dropping, basic transitions and a number of effects. On thee website for OpenShot you can find a full list of features https://www.openshot.org/features/ as well as a user guide to help you get started and get projects done https://www.openshot.org/user-guide/
Admittingly not my area of expertise Audio editing is something I have done but not done a lot. But here is what I know. Audition has a great many tools and effects to bring the sound from your project in line with what you need, this is done via putting items into the Effects rack there are presets to make this easier for you rearranging form adding effects to your audio to making podcasts sound smooth. Overall the experience I have had while using Audition has been good, I find everything easy to find and get to I have used mostly used the presets to help get audio for projects to fit the video. Once more there is the users guide and other resources to learn how to get things done https://helpx.adobe.com/nz/audition/user-guide.html
Audacity – the Audition alternative
Audacity is a piece of free software that is a commonly used program to fill the shoes of Audition. I have used Audacity many years ago and coming back to look at it for this blog I didn’t see any major changes to the program, this is nice in my opinion as it makes it easy to pick up and put down without to much loss of time getting used to the program again. Audacity is a much simpler program than Audition this is both a good thing and not a good thing, its simplicity allows you to pick up and get things done with relative ease however this makes some of the harder things very hard to archive at least for me maybe someone with more knowledge in the area will have more luck getting hard tasks done. There are plug ins that can be used to fill gaps you find in Audacity and as always there is documentation to help get you going https://www.audacityteam.org/help/documentation/.
Please feel free to let me know if you have found better FOSS for your video editing needs.
For the time being go out and Make Pretty Pictures!
Steven Morrison is a design innovation grad who’s part of the team here at OptimalBI, so you’ll find him squirreling away working on stuff that helps make us look good. Connect with Steven on LinkedIn, or read some of our other data viz blogs.