Are you new to video editing and want to make sure you have all the tools you need to succeed? Or, are you looking to update your workflow to keep up with the new remote work environment? With so many different software options on the market, choosing the right ones can feel like an impossible task.
We’re here to take out all that mystery and strip it down to the bare essentials. You don’t need hundreds of programs to create an effective video workflow. In fact, you only need about ten (maybe less!).
While new programs continue to pop up all the time, we’re going to focus on the top ten best software platforms that have not only been tested and approved of by pros but whose technology remains on the cutting edge so you’ll never be held back by your software.
What is a Video Workflow?
A video workflow is a process that video producers use to take a project from start to finish. It includes the three stages of production, which are:
It also includes all of the smaller steps that are included in each one of those categories, including video editing, screenwriting, special effects, sound designing, and much more.
So without further ado, here are our top ten picks for software that will help you at every stage of video production, from editing audio files and video files in post-production to watching camera feeds in real-time during filming.
Our Top 10 Picks for Software You Need in Your Video Production Workflow
Out of the hundreds of workflow management software options for video production professionals, we’ve paired this list down to our top ten absolute essentials for anyone looking to take a project from start to finish.
This is the core of any video production workflow, where the pieces of the puzzle finally get assembled. To edit your video files, you’ll need a non-linear editing platform (NLE) that will allow you to arrange and edit files in whatever order you see fit.
1. Adobe Premiere Pro
One of the “Big Three” video editing platforms on the market, Adobe Premiere Pro is one of the most popular video editing platforms available for video production professionals.
The big advantage to using Premiere Pro is that it seamlessly integrates with other Adobe Creative programs like Photoshop and After Effects. You can hop between these programs effortlessly, further streamlining your workflow.
2. AVID Media Composer
There was once a time when AVID battled against Final Cut in a “Mac vs. PC”-esq battle of editing platforms. However, now it is just one of three great editing platforms that video producers will continually debate between as to which one has the best workflow.
AVID syncs perfectly with Pro Tools, making audio editing a breeze, and many PC-based editors still swear by Media Composer over Premiere Pro.
Create together remotely, in real time
3. Final Cut Pro X
This video editing platform is exclusive to Mac users and includes all the professional tools you’ll need for any project, but in a drag-and-drop interface that makes it perfect for beginners. Many users also love the options to save directly to iCloud and how intuitive the overall platform is.
The big downside to this program is its limited compatibility, but if you’re a “one-stop-shop” kind of video producer, this one may be worth a look.
Want to instantly improve your video projects? Don’t skimp on the audio. Great audio is one of the most important elements that no one notices. Investing in a professional-quality audio mixing platform is one of the best things you can do for your films.
4. AVID Pro Tools
Pro Tools has long been an industry standard for professional mixing of everything from student films to Hollywood blockbusters and is packed with features to create the perfect soundscape for any project. Sound is one of the most underrated but critical elements that takes a video project from good to great, so a professional sound editing and mixing platform really is a must-have.
Some users may prefer alternative platforms like Adobe Audition, but if we’re honest, Pro Tools remains one of our absolute favorites.
Graphics & Special Effects
Any great video producer should have a basic understanding of graphics and special effects and how to apply them to their projects. Sometimes it’s as simple as adding title cards or as complex as adding whole characters.
No matter what, you should have graphics and special effects programs integrated into your workflow to help you correct and elevate your projects.
5. Adobe After Effects
After Effects is almost undisputedly the most-loved visual effects program out there; it makes popping in professional-quality effects relatively easy, and its capabilities are only really limited by your skill level. Whether you want to quickly remove a green screen from a “talking head” video or add a full-fledged dragon into your film, you can do it in After Effects.
It’s also great for those “fix it in post” cleanup jobs, with tools that allow you to stabilize, correct color, replace the sky, and much more.
6. Adobe Photoshop
While this is traditionally thought of as a photo editing platform, it can actually become a video producer’s best friend. Photoshop is a great platform for designing title cards and motion graphic elements that you can seamlessly import into After Effects to be animated.
Honestly, it seems like Photoshop pops up in nearly every project to help whip up an element we didn’t realize we needed.
Review and Approval
It takes a village to make a video project, and each voice in that village wants to be heard. However, it seems like gone are the days of herding everyone into an editing suite to watch the edits in progress and make notes.
However, there is great software out there that allows your whole team to watch and review new edits from the comfort of their home or office.
Evercast is a video streaming and communication platform that is specifically built for creative teams that need to stream professional editing tools while chatting with their team. If you want to keep your team from a safe distance without missing a beat, this is a nearly must-have tool. It can also be used to help remote collaborators keep an eye on what’s happening on set, thanks to its ability to stream multiple camera feeds directly into the Evercast platform.
With so many different elements going into each video project, you need something to glue it all together. That’s where great project management software can make all the difference.
Prevent things from slipping through the cracks by investing in project management software that keeps everything neat and organized.
Dropbox has been around since the earliest days of cloud storage and continues to be a contender thanks to its robust storage sizes and top-notch security. With more video editing teams working remotely, you need a stable, secure filesharing platform to transfer everything from raw video files to sensitive contract documents between team members.
Thanks to Dropbox’s multi-factor authentication, enterprise-grade encryption, and large storage sizes, it remains one of our top picks for filesharing.
Making a successful video project requires a lot of moving parts. One of the best software platforms for keeping things organized and knowing which state of development each element is currently in.
Trello cards make it easy for project/production managers to easily assign tasks and move each task through creation, editing, approval, and completion.
Slack is one of the most popular messaging apps thanks to its easy-to-use interface, endless integrations, industry-leading security, and fun features that make engaging with co-workers feel less stuffy. Communication is key in any video production workflow, and using a program like Slack for all your communication helps keep things organized.
We especially love being able to create different communication groups inside of Slack, so you can make spaces just for editors, production staff, producers, etc.
Video projects are effectively one big puzzle, and the more tools you have to organize the pieces and visualize where they may fit, the easier and more successful your projects will be. This list is by no means an exhaustive list of all the tools available to assist you on your projects, but it should help you get a good running start. The best way to create an optimized workflow is to experiment with different programs and see which ones work for your style and team.
And if you’re looking for a better way to bring your video production team closer together and collaborate more efficiently, even from a distance, check out Evercast. Evercast allows you to stream your video editing sessions in HD while video chatting and exchanging notes with your team, all under one platform. Because we believe collaboration is the magic behind the movies, and you shouldn’t be slowed down no matter where your team is working in the world.