Open-Source Software For The DIY Filmmaker

by Caroline on August 23, 2012

The great thing about the modern age is that DIY filmmaking is easier than ever. There are many aspects to this, but I wanted to take a quick look at one: software. There is a bevy of great, easy-to-use, and FREE software out there for the budding filmmaker. Some of these you know, some maybe not, but I’ll make this easy by just pointing out what free software I have on my MacBook Pro:

-Open Office: No need to purchase the expensive Microsoft Office suite, when Open Office has (essentially) all the same features.

-VLC: Plays every type of video file, which is a must.

-Gimp: The replacement for Photoshop. Missing a few bells and whistles, but there is still no reason why Gimp is not more than adequate enough for professional image post-production. I used to have PS, but ever since I downloaded Gimp there has been no looking back.

-MPEG Streamclip: Great for converting and encoding videos.

-Skype: You need to call people around the world as you network, make production plans, etc. Skype’s got you covered.

-Handbrake: Rips DVDs easily.

-iMovie: Yes, it’s iMovie. But when you only need some basic editing, it gets the job done.

-Sophos Anti-Virus: Macs are finally being targeted by viruses. Good thing Sophos has a basic, free version of their security program.

Look at all the things I can do on my computer for free! After purchasing my MBP, I have not put any money into software; there has been no need.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

DIYFilmSchool December 7, 2012 at 2:20 pm

This is a wonderful article for people who value getting the best deal. Now, yeah, granted, I would probably opt for Final Cut Pro (and it sounds like you would, too), but you’re right about iMovie. If it’s a matter of going out there and shooting a movie, iMovie can work.

I had no idea about Macs being targeted for viruses now. Thanks for that tidbit, too.


Chris December 9, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Thanks for posting, DIYFilmSchool. I totally agree about FCP – with FCP X at $300, it’s a good choice. But if you have no dough, iMovie’s there for you! I put together the sizzle reel of my underwater footage that I send out to prospective employers (and which usually is the reason for me getting an interview) entirely on iMovie. I’ll admit that I am thinking of throwing down the $300 and getting FCPX… we’ll see!


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