Post Production Software I Use

Instead of talking about movie apps in general, I wanted to introduce the post production software I use. It’s weird how intense we get about our software. We justify our choices by talking about the features we like and how it’s great value for money. But it’s more than that. It’s emotional. We are deeply attached and we want others to feel the same. I guess it’s why I wrote this article!

There are three Apple pro apps in this list, so no surprises when I tell you I’m using a Mac. Over the years, I’ve used a lot of different software, right now, these are the apps I prefer. Below I’ve given you the highlights and some useful links.

Final Cut Pro X

post production software I use - Final Cut Pro X

It’s 2011 and I’m b-o-r-e-d. I’ve been using Final Cut since version 2. I know it inside out, back to front and upside down. So imagine my excitement when I launch Final Cut Pro X for the first time and don’t know where to start! Suddenly video editing is exciting again, a new voyage of discovery.

FCPX was the first time one of the big post production apps embraced file-based editing and discarded the trappings of a tape-based workflow. It’s a masterclass in stripping the interface down to the basics without losing any of the functionality.

Final Cut is the fastest and least clunky pro editing software. It does its best to get out of the way and let you be creative. It’s also the cheapest. If you bought FCPX when it was first released in 2011, you won’t have spent a penny since. All updates are free to existing customers. Final Cut is also in the Pro Apps Bundle for students.

Top 5 features

  • Video and audio editing
  • Flexible media management
  • Support for modern video formats and some Raw codecs
  • Large sound effects library
  • Effects, transitions, 2D and 3D titles

Useful Links for Final Cut Pro X

Download the trial version

Minimum system requirements

Supported cameras

Supported media formats

Logic Pro X

post production software I use - Logic Pro X

Logic Pro X is designed for musicians, but there’s no reason why you can’t use it to create your movie soundtrack. While the Fairlight page in DaVinci Resolve (see below) has some great features, this is the post production software I use for this particular task. You can record ADR sessions directly to your Mac, capturing multiple takes is very straight forward. You can retime dialogue, match tone between recordings and use spatial effects to create the perfect environment for the scene.

There’s a built-in sound effects library, which is identical to the one in Final Cut. You can import previously recorded sound effects and Foley. Use the synthesisers and the huge range of effects to create sounds for a sci-fi or fantasy movie.

If you’re not working with a composer, Logic is absolutely packed with musical loops. Combine, edit and mix until you have the cues you need for your film.

Like Final Cut, Logic Pro X is in Apple’s Pro Apps Bundle for students.

Top 5 features

  • Audio editing and mixing
  • Re-recording dialogue
  • Large library of sound effects and music loops
  • Stereo and surround mixing
  • Sophisticated sound design tools

Useful Links for Logic Pro X

Minimum system requirements

Media and file format overview

Color Page in DaVinci Resolve

post production software I use - Color Page in DaVinci Resolve

DaVinci Resolve has always been the post production software I use for colour grading. As the industry standard it’s been used on many big movies and TV shows. As well as grading tools, it includes colour management for consistency between different media and with other post production software.

Blackmagic Design have been busy adding video editing and sound mixing features to Resolve, but it’s the Color and Fusion pages I’m mainly interested in. See Fusion Page in DaVinci Resolve below. Having said that, it’s all worth exploring, especially the Fairlight page for sound mixing.

The free version of Resolve might be all you need, but the Studio version does have excellent video noise reduction. Also, if you need to create an HDR master for distribution, then the Studio version is required.

Top 5 features

  • All the colour grading tools you’ll ever need
  • Colour management: ACES and RCM
  • Handles all Raw codecs, except ProRes Raw
  • Masking and motion tracking
  • Mastering for TV and film

Useful Links for DaVinci Resolve

Download the free version

Hardware selection and configuration

Supported formats and codecs

Motion 5

post production software I use - Motion 5

There’s a story that Motion was used to create minor effects in one of the Harry Potter movies. I’ve no idea if it’s true, an online search has revealed no further info. But here’s something that is true, Motion is a lot more powerful than you realise. While it might not have the features you’ll find in Fusion or After Effects, there are certain things it does better.

Motion is a toy box for creatives. It comes with lots of useful templates, graphics, particle systems and Behaviours already built-in. Behaviours are animated presets that don’t need keyframes. They’re also used to link settings between different objects.

The big advantage of Motion 5 is you can build effects and publish them to Final Cut Pro X. By rigging the effects, you make the settings available in the Final Cut interface. It’s a more efficient way of working than sending clips from FCPX to Motion.

Like Final Cut and Logic, Motion is included in Apple’s Pro Apps Bundle for students.

Top 5 features

  • Motion graphics and basic visual effects
  • 3D titles with textures and lighting
  • Keyframe animation and Behaviours
  • Still and animated asset library
  • Publish custom effects to Final Cut

Useful Links for Motion 5

Minimum system requirements

Supported media formats

Fusion Page in DaVinci Resolve

post production software I use - Fusion page in DaVinci Resolve

For a while, the post production software I used for visual effects was Shake. When Apple killed it off, I switched to After Effects. Then Adobe went down the subscription path. If I wanted to stick with After Effects, I’d have to pay for a load of other software I didn’t need. That wasn’t going to happen.

So imagine my excitement when I heard Blackmagic Design was bringing Fusion to the Mac! At first it was a standalone app, now it’s also integrated into DaVinci Resolve as the Fusion page. This makes sense, when working in visual effects you’ll want to take advantage of Resolve’s excellent colour management.

Fusion has a node-based interface… any VFX artists used to layers might run screaming to the hills at this point…

Using nodes involves a different approach to problem solving, a different way of working. It’s also the one favoured by industry professionals. Once you get used to nodes, you’ll find they’re a great way to build complex effects and compositions.

Top 5 features

  • 2D and 3D visual effects / motion graphics
  • Keying and compositing
  • Motion tracking tools: planar and point
  • 2D and 3D particle system
  • Animate with keyframes, modifiers and expressions

Useful Links for DaVinci Resolve

Download the free version

Hardware selection and configuration

Supported formats and codecs

Affinity Photo

post production software I use - Affinity Photo

As someone who’s allergic to subscription software, I needed a replacement for Photoshop. There’s a few decent options out there (Pixelmator springs to mind), but I ultimately choose Affinity Photo because of it’s great features and interface.

When creating static assets for visual effects or motion graphics, photo editing software is ideal. You can also use it to design and paint textures for 3D objects. From version 1.7 onwards, there’s support for 32-bit HDR images.

Comparisons with Photoshop are inevitable as it’s so universal. With its interface, layers and panels, Photo is clearly designed to be familiar to Photoshop users. But at the same time, it feels more intuitive and up to date. It might not have the same massive set of features, but what it does have, works very well.

Affinity Photo can export and import Photoshop files with the PSD and PSB extensions. This is handy as Motion, Fusion and Final Cut import PSD files while preserving the layers and blend modes. You can also use ABR brush files in Affinity Photo.

The latest version has a unique feature called StudioLink that allows close integration with the other Affinity apps.

Top 5 features

  • Photo editing, graphic design, drawing and painting
  • Create compositions with layers
  • Selection, masking and correction tools
  • Image retouching and object removal
  • Opens and exports Photoshop projects

Useful Links for Affinity Photo

Download the trial version

Minimum system requirements

Supported image formats (scroll to Compatibility and Printing)

Please note:

Indigo Film School is not affiliated with any software companies. I am not paid or given freebies to promote products or services.

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