Kicking Video Up a Notch with Style Effects...For Free.

Visual effects can make or break a video. Get the world's best effects for free.

5K Flares...
5K Flares... Courtesy of Rampant Design Tools

Every generation of video production and filmmaking has trends inspired by major motion pictures, television productions and other visual media. These days there are more sources of inspiration than ever, and with YouTube turning the majority of the world into content creators, differentiation is key.

Looking back over the years, movies have paved the way for indie producers to stylize their work with transitions and effects.

Think back to the soft wipes George Lucas opted for in Star Wars. Or how about the overuse of lens flares in the J.J. Abrams Star Trek?

Both of these effects were used brilliantly to complement the tone of the film, and these effects have made their way into thousands of productions since their debut on the silver screen.

Now it’s time for us to take on Lucas and Abrams. We’ve got cameras. We’ve got laptops. What else do we need?

Visual effects. Lots of them.

That’s all well and good, but plug-ins can be expensive and tricky to use, and we want effects RIGHT NOW! So, what if you’re a broke home blogger with a smartphone who wants to add snow to a scene? Or maybe a budget-conscious video enthusiast looking to get high end lens flares without spending Junior’s college fun?

Fear not. This is the stomping grounds of Rampant Design Tools.

Helmed by a three-time Emmy Award winning artist, Rampant Design Tools solves the dilemma of wanting high end visual effects without the time and learning curve of using expensive plug-ins.

What they create are termed “style effects”, and they can range from optical light effects to transitions and flares.

While a number of companies offer products along these lines, none take the work as seriously, create as high-end a product, or compete on price.

The three key factors to look at when seeking out this kind of product are:

  1. How good are they? Visual effects can be dazzling optical additions in a project, but poorly-made effects can diminish an otherwise excellent project. The reason Rampant’s style effects are so widely used (Super Bowl, ABC, Disney) is because they are created optically using real cameras. No plug-ins, no tricks. They are all shot at 5K resolution, many at up to 120 frames per second. So they’re real. Real flares, real light effects, real everything.
  2. How easy are they to use? If using an effect is tricky, confusing or time-consuming, it would make sense to just buy a plug-in and spend some time getting good with it. Rampant’s style effects are all QuickTime files that use the ProRes codec. Once only available with Apple’s pro applications, the codecs are free and easy to install. Download them here. To use the style effects simply import them into an editing application, drag the effect to a video layer above the clips you would like to see affected, and change the blend mode of the effect clip. Voila. Your footage now has an effect.
  3. How expensive are they? Well, this is an interesting one. Prices vary with creators of pre-baked visual effects. Some are very inexpensive, and others are very expensive. Why we keep going back to Rampant is because they win on this front as well. At 4KFree.com they offer hundreds of their effects in 4K resolution, absolutely free. Film clutter, grunge, light overlays, transitions, mattes, effects (snow, fire, dust, embers, etc.), bokeh, flares, paint, and even a monster toolkit, free.

    The only reason to go on about a single company in this space is because they’ve made sure that nobody else can play at their level. They invented the style effect space, invested in the most effective equipment money could buy, and have gone on to create more products at a higher level than anyone else.

    Don’t believe me, though. Check out 4KFree.com.