[Editor’s Note: This is part two of a five part series of must-have apps.]
I love living in the technological age that we live in now. As a photographer and videographer, I can do things now that would be very difficult twenty years ago. The computer has become the new darkroom and editing station.
When doing my work, there are several applications that would make it difficult for me if they were not available. Hopefully, these tools can assist you in your work.
I know there are Windows/Linux users out there so it kind of stinks this app is Mac only but it is so awesome. When I finish shoots and do a quick edit of photos, I present to the client proofs so they can choose the images they want to keep. Uploading 21MB images to a gallery is out of the question and having to resize images in Photoshop can be a chore (even with a batch process).
ResizeMe takes care of it for me and does it fast. It can handle a bunch of different tasks including:
- Scale & Resize
- Rotate or Flip
- Drop Shadow
- Output Format (11 different formats)
I cannot say enough good things about this app.
It has streamline my workflow tremendously. Check it out.
I know Photoshop is “the” tool for doing hard core photo editing and I do use it. That being said, Lightroom is another tool that has greatly aided my workflow and has just streamline the process greatly.
Lightroom has some editing tools and as you dig in, you’ll find that it can be pretty powerful in dealing with RAW images and if you have good images coming out of camera, then your editing should be minimal. Still, making basic adjustments in exposure, contrast, color, sharpness are all easy to do. Lightroom does not have the detailed editing tools such as layers but it’s elsewhere that it really shines.
1. Metadata – When your hard drive starts filling up with images and you have many folders, you’ll find being able to search images via certain attributes as opposed to trying to remember the name of a folder where you put something. When you first import photos, you can add all kinds of information to the images in order to build up the metadata which will help you down the road.
2. Ratings – Being able to apply a quick star rating to photos is great. The “filmstrip” runs along the bottom. Normally, what I do is go through the images, and apply a 3 star rating to anything that is decent. This leaves off mouth open/eyes closed shots as well as shots that are out of focus or any other bad ones. Apply the filter and those images are gone. I do a second edit going to 4 stars and filtering out the previous ones. Finally, a 5 star rating is used to arrive at the best images.
3. Sync – If you have a bunch of images where the lighting and conditions are the same, you can edit one photo and apply those changes to bunch of other images with just a few clicks.
4. Noise reduction/sharpening – Adobe has made great strides with these tools and I’ve been able to get to a point where I don’t have to take certain images into Photoshop for reducing noise or sharpening. Todd Owyoung has an excellent write up on sharpening in Lightroom here.
Magic Bullet Looks
I was fortunate enough to get this app for free when I purchased my Canon 60D and I use it on nearly all of my projects. Looks comes with some preset filters that can be applied to your projects, but you can also open it up and make adjustments using a variety of different options which can be fine tuned. It is so much better to use than Adobe Premiere’s built in adjustment tools. Of all the tools I am discussing, this is the most expensive at $400. But if you’re serious about your video, then it’s a very wise investment.
If you’ve ever seen a behind the scenes look at a movie you’ve no doubt seen somebody holding a slate saying, “Movie, blah blah, take one” and then clapping the board so there is this loud smacking noise. That is done for the benefit of the editors who would have to sync audio that was externally recorded to the video. The audio would have this large spike at that particular moment, making it easier to find the right point to sync.
Many filmmakers and videographers still rely on that method, but it becomes even more tedious when there are multiple takes, and particularly when there is more than one camera being used.
Enter Singular Software’s PluralEyes which makes this process extremely simple. In fact, the first time I used it, I was amazed at how easy it was. You merely take your clips and external audio, put them in a sequence and then export to an XML file. That file gets imported into PluralEyes. With a few clicks, it syncs everything and exports a new XML file. Import that and a new sequence is created with all of the audio perfectly synced to the video.
It really is that simple. The amount of time that can be saved from using this tool is easily worth the $150 price tag.
Vimeo Music Store
This is somewhat of a cheat as this isn’t actually an “app” but a resource. But it’s just as valuable.
One of the things I do not look forward to when making a video is finding the right music to go along with it. Sometimes I have a song in mind when making a video like I did for this one, but most times it is something I do at the end.
There are so many resources out there for music. That’s part of the problem. It is difficult to navigate all the resources to find good music. Sure, there is plenty out there. And plenty of it sucks.
The Vimeo music store cleared up so much of that hassle. It has really good music. It’s easy to navigate and has an excellent mixture of free and paid music to use for videos. I have purchased several tracks. Another great feature is Vimeo keeps track of your downloads so if you have to go back and download it again, it is easy to find.
What are your five favorite video and photo apps?