Affordable Tools for Editing and Post Production

Time to raw footage into a masterpiece. These tools can help.

Adobe's Creative Cloud includes mobile apps for editing and more!
Adobe's Creative Cloud includes mobile apps for editing and more!. Adobe

Shooting video is great fun. Whether the shoot means a suction cupped action camera on a car or pointing a camcorder at a local ballgame, capturing is always exciting. It promises something that can be shared later, or a memory that can be treasured for years to come.

But the job isn’t done when the camera shuts off. The footage that sits on that memory card is merely the paint used to create a masterpiece.

The editing software serves as both the canvas and the paintbrush. Post production tools are the finishing touches on the work.

While historically professional tools have sat on one tier and hobbyist and enthusiast tools on another, the gap has narrowed and the learning curve flattened across both tiers. Today’s video hobbyist can work with the same tools used by professionals without feeling wildly out of their element, or made broke by rates only huge studios can afford to invest in.

Let’s take a look at some of the tools that are now within reach for each and every person interested in making video.

Editing and Post Production Tools

Adobe Creative Cloud - ( - free trial, subscriptions between $10 and $50/month)

Previously a suite creeping up on $3,000, Adobe’s Creative Cloud entails subscription access to their entire suite of creative applications, including mobile applications, type tools and more.

Video fans will enjoy editing with Premiere Pro, and creating pro-quality titles and effects with After Effects. For those feeling a bit adventurous will enjoy adjusting color in SpeedGrade, sweetening audio in SoundBooth, working with images and video (including 3D objects) in Photoshop, creating original vector graphics in Illustrator, and much more.

If there was only going to be one purchase made for editing and effects, Creative Cloud would be the most logical.

HitFilm 3 - ( - free trial or $299 to purchase - add-ins available)

Video enthusiasts looking for an alternative to Adobe, Autodesk or Apple’s editing and effect offerings will enjoy using the very capable and affordable HitFilm 3. HitFilm is a polished, stable,  all-in-one editing, VFX and 3D application. Full of powerful tools for tricks like green-screening (compositing), the ability to import and manipulate 3D models, and all of the editing power of one of the large players, HitFilm 3 is a great option for making video.

Clipwrap - ( - free trial or $49.99 to purchase)

Got a cool camera, but not having a good time working with the footage? Many cameras capture footage to formats our computer or editing program don’t really like. Clipwrap is crafted for just that reason. Clipwrap can take HDV, AVCHD or pretty much any other footage and wrap it in popular formats such as ProRes and DNxHD. The wrapped files can be optimized for most editing apps as well, such as Premiere, Final Cut Pro X, Avid Media Composer, and even iMovie. And for that three hour non-stop video of the local soccer game, Clipwrap can take those long, split files and automatically join them up into one easy to use file, directly from a connected camera.

Effects Tools - ( - free)

Dressing up a video can be fun and challenging, but when it comes to special effects, things can take a turn for the frustrating. High end effects either cost a fortune to buy, or take forever to learn. is a cool resource for high end pre-made visual effects, tools, backgrounds and more.The best part is that they’re absolutely free. These effects are easy to use (drag and drop), and high quality. In fact, they are all created by a three-time Emmy Award winning visual artist.

Red Giant Universe - ( - many free tools, additional premium tools available for $10/month, $99/year, $399/lifetime)

Red Giant Universe is a subscription based visual effect library for use in Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe After Effects, Apple Final Cut Pro X, Apple Motion, Sony Vegas Pro 12 and 13, Davinci Resolve 11.1 or later, and HitFilm 3. Subscribers always have access to a growing selection of free tools - good ones - and an also-growing library of premium effects. Teamed with CrumplePop on a handful of plug-ins, the Universe is exactly what it sounds like - huge and growing, with few limitations.