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« Why choose LED? | Main | Winning Awards - Part 3 (Feature Films) »

Video Editing on a Zero-Dollar Budget

I as a (beginner) filmmaker usually produce films on a zero-dollar budget. Part-time work and full-time college doesn’t leave much money to spend on filmmaking. It’s hard to produce a film on a zero-dollar budget, but it is possible. Pre-production is nothing in the pocketbook. Everyone has paper, pens, and an imagination. Actual production is a little tougher. Usually everyone has a camera, whether it is a smartphone, mirrorless, or a DSLR. But if you need costumes, props, or even a good microphone, then the wallet takes a dent. But in post-production is where things get difficult. Creative toolkits like Adobe Creative Cloud offer applications like Premiere Pro and After Effects that the big kids use. There is a free trial, but after 30 days of using it you grow so accustomed to it that everything else looks lame. But there are alternatives out there for editing, and best of all, they’re free!

Non-Linear Video Editors

Non-linear is just a fancy word for editing non-destructively. Which is a fancy word for not damaging the original footage. Anyways, Adobe Premiere Pro is a good example of an Non-Linear Editor (NLE). Usually the standard “free” NLE would be something like iMovie on Apple products or Windows Movie Maker on Windows based products. Although both these NLEs can produce good results, I think they can limit one’s imagination. So here are three alternatives to expensive NLEs.

  1. Adobe Premiere Pro CS2 Courtesy of www.imgkid.comCourtesy of

    Yep, that’s right. Premiere Pro is at the top of this list. A while back, Adobe’s licensing servers for CS2 had a technical difficulty, and instead of fixing it, Adobe decided to release that software suite for free. Although it’s 5 versions old, it stills works like a charm. It doesn’t have some effects like Warp Stabilizer, but many of the major features are there like color correction and non-linear editing. There is versions for Windows and Mac OSX, but the version for Mac doesn’t work with newer releases of the OS. The Windows version works all the way up to Windows 10. You will need a free Adobe account to download it, but that’s worth it for the product you get.


  2. BlackMagic DaVinci Resolve 12 Courtesy of www.cinema5d.comCourtesy of

    DaVinci Resolve is a program designed for color correction and grading but recently has included the ability to edit video like any other NLE. Originally, this software came bundled with BlackMagic’s cameras but now they are offering a free version or a paid studio version on their website. They offer versions for Windows and Mac OSX. The software is resource intensive though, so it is recommended you have a somewhat powerful computer to use it to its full potential. Although you have to register to download the software, that is again a small price to pay for a great piece of software.


  3. HitFilm 3 Express Courtesy of Film Riot (YouTube)Courtesy of Film Riot (YouTube)

    HitFilm once started out as a professional NLE, with visual effects, and 3D compositing but now, they split the product into two separate items: Pro and Express. The Express version has all the features of the Pro version like 3D compositing, but to add effects to the program, you need to pay a small amount for a certain package. There is a free built-in effects package that covers a few things, but for serious visual effects you might want to see the next section on compositing software. They have both Windows and Mac OSX versions, but to download it, you need to share a link to their product on a social media network.


For a list of free Video Compositing Software and Audio Editing Software...Click Here.

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(Source Article by Joe Turman)

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