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5 Video Best Buys: The Gear To Get You Filming Fast

Motion graphics & video plug-ins | DSLR video accesories Motion Graphics | 3D animation software By JG Harding
Published June 2010

New to the world of video production and unsure what to buy? Our guide to the five best options in three software and hardware categories will get you started.

motion graphics & video plug‑ins

Just as plug‑ins can put that extra polish on music when mixing, they can really enhance and speed up visual processing. Here are five suites to help you add a little visual flair, adding everything from colour grading to 3D environments and text. Individual effects from bundles cost less, and trials are available.

dslr VIDEO accesories

After mentioning the need for accessories when shooting video with current DSLR cameras (in the 'Making Movies' background articles), it's only fair that we give you a rundown of some of the top manufacturers and products out there that'll help you get that movie-style footage on a budget.

Motion Graphics & 3D animation software

If you want to add some flashy titles, or even build a 3D world from scratch, these programs will help you. Be warned, though: animation can be hard to grasp, so be prepared to download a trial version, watch plenty of tutorial videos and put in lots of practice time. Student versions are less expensive too.

  • 1. Adobe After Effects CS5 ($999$999): Deep and powerful software for text, video, 2D and 3D object animation, as well as post‑production effects. Can manipulate 3D models created in 3D software. Links seamlessly with Premiere and other Adobe software.
  • 2. Autodesk 3D Studio Max 2010 (£2409$3459): Powerful 3D animation software often used for modelling in computer game production, as well as film work. Very deep and complex, used in many professional environments.
  • 3. Apple Motion 4 (£789$999): Included in Final Cut Studio package, makes it relatively easy to get started with titling and animation. Not quite as extensive as other software here, but well integrated with Apple family.
  • 4. Blender (Free): This multi-platform, open‑source 3D animation and modelling software is free! Very powerful, and tough for beginners, but supported by many on‑line and print tutorials and a large community of users.
  • 5. Maxon Cinema 4D R11.5 (from £746$995): Professional motion graphics and animation package for titles and full 3D animation, used extensively for television spots and ads. Relatively simple interface contains a powerful feature set.