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Alternatives to Adobe's Creative Cloud

Duncan Evans | June 18, 2013
Discover the software alternatives when you unplug the Creative Suite drip

Premiere Pro video editing
The choice of alternatives in the video editing and post-production world largely depends on what your studio has been doing. A lot of seasoned editors are tied to Avid's Media Composer (£862.80), thanks to the, previously, rigid hardware-software requirements. While Media Composer can now work as an off-line editor and doesn't require Avid-certified hardware to run, it remains the choice of the established studio with powerful editing and colour grading facilities. It also has a dated, idiosyncratic interface and only fully supports hi-res formats with just-launched version 7. That's why Apple's own Final Cut Pro X (£199) presents a fresher alternative. FCP works a little differently from rival apps, with a dynamic editing interface and a magnetic timeline. This automates assembling clips by closing up gaps, shunting clips around to avoid collision and sync problems. However, you can get specific and use the Position tool to accurately place clips. Developing multiple angle shots is possible with up to 64 angles of video and photos in a Multicam Clip. Open this up in the Angle Editor, move and edit the clips then when finished, drop the Clip back into the project.

There's support for a wide range of formats including AVCHD and RED plus h.264 from video and stills cameras. Once input there are options for correcting stabilisation issues, the rolling shutter problem and cleaning up the audio. All effects have a preview option before being applied and there's a variety of methods for colour grading the footage. A final word is that FCP uses all Mac CPU cores and likes plenty of RAM and power to work with.

After Effects video compositing and effects
If you've decided to ditch Premiere Pro for Apple's FCP then it also makes sense to abandon After Effects in favour of Apple's Motion 5 (£34.99). Motion 5 has a redesigned interface, dedicated to making it easy to work with, and swap between, it and FCP. It features templates for effects, transitions, titles and generators. One key feature is being able to create rigs that control a group of parameters at once with sliders, pop-up menus or a tick box. One of the strengths of Motion is the chroma keying with control over uneven background and edge softness. There's high quality rendering, GPU utilisation and the ability to use video tracks and image without size limitations. There's more interoperability with FCP in the form of the editable templates. Import them from FCP, customise then export back to FCP again. Of course you get a heap of content with Motion 5 anyway, with more than 1900 royalty free elements. There's a real-time design engine that let's you make adjustments during live playback and you can record moving objects around the canvas. Behaviours can be added to objects so the are repelled, thrown, whipped around or bound by gravity.

 

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