2018 Doddle Holiday Gift Guide – Software

New Year's Eve Postcard Christmas Congratulation

doddle’s 2018 Holiday Gift Guide continues with a look at the software that makes all the magic happen. If you have a budding filmmaker who wants to get started with editing their videos, or even someone looking to make it to the next level, they’re going to need the software tools to get there. Here’s a few suggestions.

Keep in mind, though, that we now live in the digital age, and as such, you can just run down to the local computer software store and pick up a box of discs. That’s not really how it works anymore, at least for more editing and effects software. In that case, you’ll one looking at memberships and downloads. So that means either a digital gift card, or a download code. Having said that, here’s our suggestions:

Adobe Creative Cloud (subscription). Give the gift that keeps on giving with a subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud. Signing your loved one up for membership will guarantee they have the latest updates to more than 14 different applications. From Adobe Premiere Pro, to Adobe After Effects, to Adobe Audition, at $53 a month, it’s a great way to keep them cutting. There are also student discounts available.

But if they’re just starting out, Creative Cloud may be a bit of overkill. So Adobe Premiere Elements will give them about 75% of the features they need, and that’s more than enough to get started on the journey of cutting video, with some titles, music, color grading and some very basic effects. Under $70.

Final Cut Pro X. This is really the  professionals’ platform, and its getting better thanks to some recent upgrades by Apple, which include Batch Export, floating time code window, the new Comparison Viewer, and the Precision editor. $299 from Apple.

Blackmagic Davinci Resolve Studio 15. Thing I like about DaVinci is that this plucky color grading app has grown up to be a full blown editing suite, complete with even visual effects through the Fusion panel. It’s really the only suite you’ll ever need, as it can run from import to editing, to visual effects and color correction. $299 from Blackmagic. And they can check out the bevy of DaVinci tutorials we have here to hit the ground running.

HitFilm Pro (subscription – sorta).  If Adobe had an After Effects Elements package, that would enable users to learn basic visual effects, it would probably be a lot like HitFilm. This all in one package does video editing, visual effects, color correction – the works.  They also have a great youtube channel which shows how to create the latest in visual effects from today’s popular films. Want to make a Star Wars film, they have a tutorial on it. Harry Potter? They’ve got a tutorial series. And the software is easy to use.

They do have a subscription, however, but it’s pay as you go. Meaning that if you want to take a version or two off, because it comes with features you don’t need, then you can do that and still use your software as it is. Price is $269 at Amazon. That’s a steal.

LumaFusion (iOS app) If your filmmaker is into mobile filmmaking, then LumaFusion may have the idea way to help them move out of cutting on iMovie. And for $20, its a great basic video editor with a ton of features for professionals including titles and effects transitions. iOS11 or above.

Pick them up a Gnarbox to go with it, and they’ll have everything they need to shoot, cut and share a film made directly from their iPhone! $255 at Amazon.

For affordable gifts, these are the ones that are my personal preferences. Obviously, your favorite filmmaker may have another idea based on the project they want to do.  So maybe drop a few hints and see what they say.

About James DeRuvo 801 Articles
Editor in Chief at doddleNEWS. James has been a writer and editor at doddleNEWS for nearly a decade. As a producer/director/writer James won a Telly Award in 2005 for his Short Film "Searching for Inspiration. James is a recovering talk show producer from KABC in Los Angeles, and a weekly guest on the Digital Production Buzz with Larry Jordan.

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