What are the best free video production software tools?

What are the best free video production software tools?

After you have shot your movie masterpiece you may decide to polish it by editing it and adding some special FX. I have written about free editing packages elsewhere on this website. For most occasions these will do an excellent job of finishing your final video.

If however you want to take your video to the next level there are some excellent free software packages available to help you do that. It is amazing what free programs are available that can help you do music, audio edit, image edit, create visual effects and do 3D work. Now days you can set up your own post-production powerhouse with outspending a penny.

I would say that some of these programs are at a professional level and the learning curve can be hard for the beginner. If you have the time to learn the rewards can be impressive and you will learn many new skills as well. This can only add to the overall improvement of your final videos.

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Audacity is a free multi-track audio recorder which will do a great job editing your audio for video production. The multi-track recording is a little limiting but should be fine for simple audio post-production jobs. There is a full range of effects to help you clean up any audio flaws and there are many plugins available to add to these effects. Audacity is open source software so developers are always coming up with new plugins to improve its performance.

It’s easy to use and it is not too difficult to adjust volume, delete parts or mute off sections. Recording is also straightforward, so if you need to do a voice over in a hurry Audacity will not let you down. Once you have your audio recording, you can use Audacity’s many EQ controls to improve it further. If you are looking for a free audio recorder, this is a good place to start.

Available for Mac, PC and Linux


Ardour is free and open-source program for recording, mixing, creating music and other audio work. Commonly know as a DAW or Digital Audio Workstation, Ardour will let you record instruments, use VST (Virtual Studio Technology) plugin instruments, mix audio tracks and add mastering effects to your final soundtrack.

When you finish you can then export the final audio file to use in your finished video. The program isn’t completely free. The authors ask you to give $1 to download the program but this isn’t going to break your bank account. You are then free to put it on as many computers as you like.

Much development has gone into Ardour. Because it is open-source this development is always continuing to keep the program up-to-date and iron out any bugs. If you need a free music and audio production-package this is a great choice.

Available for Mac, PC and Linux


GIMP is a free, open-source image editing platform that will give a great alternative to programs like Photoshop. It is open source so users are free to adjust the code and make changes to the program. The layout looks familiar to Photoshop so users of that program should not have any difficulties in getting started. The UI has a design that is clean and divided into three sections. There is main editing area where you will find the toolbox, layers, paths, undo and channels. The image tabs display image thumbnails for ease of reference.

There are plenty of tools to manipulate your image. These include: noise reduction, cropping, automatic image enhancement tools, colour adjustment tools, gradients, customisable brushes, and many more. There are plenty of features for the advanced user like filters, Bezier curves, layer masks and an animation package. There is also a large range of plugins available for you to add to the many tools already available in GIMP.

Available for Mac, PC and Linux

Blender – 3D Creation Suite

Blender 3D was originally developed as a free 3D model and design program. This open-source 3D creation suite can handle the entirety of the 3D pipeline. You can model characters, buildings, logos and other 3D objects. You can also add rigging and simulation. You are then able to render out your final models and animations to the compositing or editing package of your choice.

In recent years Blender has expanded to add even more features to its already impressive suite of tools. It now has the ability to composite, motion track and even comes with its own video editor. It continues to develop with new tools due to the fact the code is open-source and independent developers continue to create and add new features. It is also cross platform, which means you can download it for Mac, Windows and Linux.

The video editor has many features and users can perform basic actions like cuts and splicing as well as more advanced functions like video masking. Other features include built in scopes for waveform and vector scope adjustment as well as audio mixing, adjustment layers and transitions.

The built in compositor is also fully featured and built right into the production pipeline. This means your 3D creations can have cameras added and objects tracked to fit into your video. This is an excellent package and considering it is free you cannot go far wrong.

Available for Mac, PC and Linux

Nuke Studio

Nuke a compositor program that is firmly established in the pro world of post production. It is a powerful node-based visual FX, editing and finishing studio that can create some stunning special FX for video production.

Until recently Nuke was out of reach to most users because of its expensive price tag. But now the developers have allowed users to download an education version of the software with no restrictions. The only catch is that you can only use it for non-commercial projects. It also limits users to only export in 1080p resolution.

In Nuke you can edit, colour correct, add effects and even playback 4K footage. All this is done in the one package so you can start and end in Nuke. There are too many features to Nuke that I can mention here but I would warn novice users that Nuke is a professional compositor and the learning curve can be high. But if you stick with it the rewards can be great and you may even be able to get a job working for the big Hollywood Studios.

Available for Mac and PC

BlackMagic Fusion

Fusion by Blackmagic Design is another fully featured compositor and motion graphics creator. Like Nuke it is a high end pro production suite that has its uses in all areas of productions. You can see it in action from short videos to high end feature films.

Fusion, like Nuke, features an easy but powerful node based interface. This means you can build complex visual effects by simply connecting processing types together. There is an impressive collection of features available and it won’t be long before you are creating title sequences, broadcast graphics and feature film FX.

Fusion has over 25 years of development behind it and has been used in over a thousand major Hollywood films. This means you will not be alone as a user and it has an impressive user base online. I would say that like Nuke it is a pro compositor and the learning curve may be high for some new users. That said, if you learn how to use it you will be able to create some stunning digital visual effects.

Available for Mac, PC and Linux

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