A Short List of Only a Few Resources for the Self-Isolating Media Creator

Just because we’re all staying in our homes for a while (and we are all staying home and helping us all stay healthy, we hope!) doesn’t mean that we can’t continue our artistic practice and explore our creativity.  We’re gathering a list of tools and resources that you can use to create your art while at home.  For now, here is a small offering of what’s out there, with an emphasis on free or software with free versions.

Your Phone's Camera and Built-in Camera Apps and/Or Filmic Pro
For iPhone/iPad and Android

Those of us without ready access to a camera, should look to their phone for solutions...and as a solution.  Even the apps that came free with your phone will shoot quite serviceable video but there are inexpensive options that allow for so much more by making extended use of builtin cameras and these often have surprisingly professional features.  FilmPro is one of the most fully featured and robust of these options and rumours are circulating that it will soon even allow for several phones to be sync’d together for multi-camera setups.  It’s $20.99USD...a bit more than usual for an app, but far less than a camera.  There are even film festivals specifically for works made on phones.

DaVinci Resolve
For Mac and PC

This offering from Black Magic, makers of popular production cameras, comes in two versions, Free and Studio.  The Free version is surprisingly and delightfully well-equipped and fully featured, with great editing, Da Vinci’s renowned colour correction tools and the recent incorporation of the powerful Fairlight audio tools.  If there’s only one tool you use from this list, this would be the one - we love this software at SAW Video!  They also have some great and free learning resources that show the deep capabilities of this package.

Final Cut Pro X
For Mac

Apple is currently offering free 90-day demo licenses for their Final Cut Pro X video editing software.  It’s a great tool for folks wanting to do fast editing and integrates well with their flagship audio software, Logic X, which is great because Apple is also offering…

Logic X Pro
For Mac

Those with Macs already have access to the easy-to-use GarageBand.  However, Apple is also offering free 90-day demo licenses for Logic X, their premier Digital Audio Workstation.  It’s a great tool for music making, scoring and sound design for your video projects.  It comes bundled with software synthesizers, effects and even loops for your creation.  Think of it as being GarageBandPlus, but really, it’s way, way more than that.

Cockos Reaper
For Mac and PC, including a lot of older operating systems.

This is another Digital Audio Workstation (ie audio recording, editing and mixing software) that is fast becoming a favourite amongst post-production and game audio professionals.  They are offering a free 90-day license to give it a whirl, and the program only costs $60 should you decide to keep going with it.  It comes bundled with some very serviceable effects.  It’s lightweight and well-coded and can run quite happily on a wide variety of computers.

Ableton Live
For Mac and PC

This is a great tool for music creation and live performance with a loop-based workflow that differs from Logic and Reaper.  It too comes packed with some fantastic software instruments and effects.  Ableton is offering a free 90-day demo license.

For any device that can run a browser

Sundance.org has just opened up their archives of workshops and masterclasses for free.  Dive deep in elements of film-making, from direction and cinematography to editing and everything else.  A great repository of knowledge from some of the most creative minds working with the moving image.

Magic Hour
For iPhone/iPad

There are two special times every day, morning and evening, when the light is perfect for outdoor shooting.  Magic Hour is an app that tracks these times and alerts you as to when they are starting, so that you can get ready for your front porch and backyard scenes.

Celtx Shots

Shots specifically is currently only for iPhone/iPad, but several of the other Celtx apps are also available for Android Celtx has several free apps for your phone that are helpful with production.  This one acts as a graphical tool, for storyboarding and for allowing you to virtually position actors, cameras and lighting to figure out blocking for a shoot. This can be extremely helpful with your preproduction, allowing you to make better choices and be prepared for the actual shoot.

Anything with a browser

This is an impressively comprehensive bit of software that allows you to write your script and then create many of those all-important production documents based on such as call lists, script breakdowns and shooting schedules. There is a free option that one can “use for as long as you want”.  Another option might also be Celtx, which offers versions for Macs and for iPhones and iPads.There are free and paid versions of Causality, another piece of software for screenwriting, though it also allows for working on novels and other text-oriented work. It’s packed with all sorts of tools and functions that allow you to keep track of your plot and character development. 

Extras for the mobile music maker and sound designer:

Moog has made their Model D synthesizer app free for a limited time, iPhone and iPad.
Korg has made their iKaoscillator synthesizer app free for a limited time for iPhone and iPad.
Arturia has made their iSpark drum machine app free for a limited time for iPad.

There are many other resources out there that can help you with your media making in isolation and beyond and we will try to list some of the best that are available in our newsletters.  Do you have some favourites that you think everyone should know about?  Let us know!