30 Incredibly Useful Apps for Video Pros and Novices

via mac.appstorm.net

The Mac has long been the homestead for effective and easy video editing, graphic design, and video compressing for many professionals and novices alike. If you are at all interested in getting your creative juices flowing, video wise, you will absolutely love this roundup. Many people know the big video apps for Mac, while other smaller and still great apps out there remained a mystery. So as a professional video editor and cinematographer, it is my mission to let you in on over thirty of the best video apps around.

Many of these apps are free and others are paid. Bang for your buck is very important when choosing what to spend your hard earned money on, so rest assured that all of the apps listed are in fact worth every penny. Lets dive right in and get creative!

iMovie ’11

If you purchased a new Mac recently you most certainly have iMovie ’11 installed. I know this might seem obvious but, real video pros use iMovie for quick samples or pilot videos and very small projects. When iMovie was updated in 2008, it was under-baked and pretty bad. Now, iMovie ’11 is a proud tool in my arsenal and should be in yours. Never think iMovie is just for home videos; just remember it is the talented creative person that can use this tool for pro or prosumer grade purposes.

iMovie comes installed with a great variety of preset effects, transitions, and titles. Also, it has a wide range of output options which effectively eliminates the need for standalone video transcoders. Plus, the always handy YouTube upload feature is built in.

Price: $14.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6.7 or later
Developer: Apple Inc.

Final Cut Pro X

Sometimes you just need a real pro tool for the job. When those times call, answer with Final Cut Pro X! I paid over $1,000 for my copy of Final Cut Studio several years ago and love it. Last year, Apple upped the ante by releasing Final Cut Pro X for only $299.99. FCPX has gained speed improvements, ease of use improvements, and many of iMovie’s looks and features. Although I still use FCP 8, FCPX is awesome for many projects and will come in handy if you get real serious.

Final Cut Pro X has many features to covet. The best includes magnetic timeline, built-in audio editor, a new 64bit architecture, faster rendering, built in effects, and a simpler to use color grading effect. Being that the price is hundreds of dollars lower the FCStudio, I could not recommend it enough.

Price: $299.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later
Developer: Apple Inc.

Google Earth Pro

By now I know you are asking yourself, “Why is Google Earth in this roundup?” I’m glad you asked! Google Earth Pro is a useful tool in my arsenal for two main reasons. First, I use it to scout filming locations and to spot any potential problems that may occur doing filming. Also, you can use Google Earth Pro for map shots in your video. Ever seen a tv show that uses Google Maps Pro to do fly in shots from outer space? This is the exact program they use. Cool isn’t it?

While Google Maps Pro is almost $400 which makes it very expensive, as for me it is a dollar worth spending. You can save time and money, plus do cool shots with the app. Also included is high definition video and still outputs, very cool!

Price: $399
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: Google Inc.


If you want to make your own 3D text or logo animation, normally you would have to use complex 3D graphics software and animate it yourself in After Effects. This is a tedious process that requires a huge skill set and thousands of dollars. With Aurora3DAnimation, you can easily create and animate 3D text and logos the exact way you want them without learning new skills. It could not be any easier!

Aurora3DAnimation offers beautifully designed templates, freehand control, light control, a built in graphic library, and excellent export capabilities. At only $49.99 you are not only saving hundreds of dollars, but many headaches!

Price: $49.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later; 64-bit processor
Developer: Aurora 3d Software

iMovie HD 6

A product that is over 6 years old made it on this list? That’s right! I know about 25 people who hate iMovie 08 and 11′. They prefer a traditional timeline style and do not want to purchase FCPX. For a couple of years I was that person. In 2007 Apple made available as a free download iMovie HD 6 and I got it. I have and still use it for small tasks. It is not fancy or full of effects, but it gets the job done. Also, before declaring your disgust, remember that many people still use PowerPC Macs and cannot use iMovie 08 and newer. So, for all of you who hate iMovie 11, 08, and FCPX, and those who still use PowerPC Macs, this app is for you!

This app was made free by Apple 5 years ago but its download link has since been removed. However if you are savvy, you can still get your hands on a copy.

Price: Free
Requires: Mac OS X 10.4 or later
Developer: Apple Inc.

BoinxTV & BoinxTv Home

Have you ever seen live video coverage of events on the news or on the web? If so, you can probably bet your life that they used multi-million dollar TV Trucks; or did they? They might have been using BoinxTV. BoinxTV is a wonderful piece of software that replicates a broadcast TV truck, all on your mac, for less than 1/25th of the price! You can send live video straight to the web and include awesome digital effects like: lower thirds, weather maps, greenscreen, logos, titles, and more! Be sure to check out Julia’s review of BoinxTv Home.

They have two versions with a $350 price gap. Pros will want the BoinxTv (the $499.99 one) which includes multi-camera support and a few more special features. Prosumers and novices will pickup the BoinxTv Home which keeps all of the basic functionality intact.

Price: $499.99/49.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later
Developer: Boinx Software

iStopMotion Pro

Computer animation has a wonderful place in motion video production today. However, we can never forget real animation with clay models and wood carvings. iStopMotion Pro makes stop motion animation easy and efficient. Major companies like Ford have used iStopMotion Pro in national advertising campaigns. You don’t have to be a heavy hitter to use iStopMotion though, all you need is a camera and a little creativity.

iStopMotion comes in three flavors, each with a price difference. If you want a higher resolution output and more great features, it would behoove you to drop the five Benjamins on the pro. Otherwise choose between the two cheaper versions.

Price: $499.99/$99.99/$49.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later
Developer: Boinx Software

Autodesk Smoke 2012

If you are serious about pursuing video professionally, and I mean dead serious, Autodesk Smoke 2012 is a must have for you. Smoke 2012 has two important functions built into one application. First is world class video editing. Second is world class effects. You can make awesome 3D compositions, use frame by frame editing tools, and edit color with precision.

No, your eyes are not misleading you, this app does in fact cost just shy of $15,000! This is why I said that you must be dead serious. Obviously, you’ll probably have to be part of a major studio to justify this level of cost. If anything, you now have something to lust after!

Price: $14,995
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: Autodesk


Sometimes you may want to edit a file or post a video file and that file is not compatible with your system. When you run across this problem you need to convert the file. The easiest way is to use a file converter like Prism. Prism is easy to use and accepts many file formats. It also includes batch convert functionality.

As an added value, Prism includes direct conversion and ripping from a DVD!

Price: $49.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6.6
Developer: NCH Software

AVCHD Converter

Over the last several years, HD camcorders have gotten cheaper and cheaper as the technology gets better and better. This all has to do with the introduction of the AVCHD format. AVCHD has definitely brought higher quality, but with limited compatibility. AVCHD Converter does exactly what its name implies, it puts AVCHD into a more compatible format.

AVCHD is Lion compatible and it will de-interlace interlaced video and convert it into progressive.

Price: $18.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later; 64-bit processor
Developer: iFunia


When you need 3D text to spice up your production you can turn to expensive 3D software or you can turn to Auror3dMaker. This app is similar to the one mentioned earlier in this roundup with a few differences: it’s exclusively for static text and logos.

Although only for static logos and text, Aurora3DMaker still serves a great purpose when you have no need to animate your content.

Price: $29.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later; 64-bit processor
Developer: Aurora3d Software


Professional teleprompter setups can cost thousands. The best alternative is to use Teleprompt+ to display a prompter on your Mac. Telepromt+ is easy to use and you can even load scripts from DropBox or import them in yourself.

As a bigger bonus, Teleprompt+ also has iPhone and iPad apps that you can use to control the prompter or use as standalone devices.

Price: $24.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: Bombing Brain

Motion 5

Animating and making motion graphics requires world class tools. Earlier, I told you that I paid over $1,000 for Final Cut Studio which included Motion 4. Now you can get Motion 5, the latest and greatest, for only $50 bucks. Motion 5 has professional class 2D and 3D animating, effects, and a lot more!

You can use Motion 5 as a standalone product, purchased separately, or combine it with Final Cut Pro X. Either way, you get amazing bang for your buck.

Price: $49.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6.8
Developer: Apple

Frame Calculator

When doing multi camera shoots or syncing separate audio to video, you will need to timecode sync them. Frame Calculator is a free tool that only does one thing, but does it well. It allows you to sync timecode from multiple sources.

You can add or subtract timecode, multiply frames, and more!

Price: Free
Requires: Mac OS X 10.5 or later
Developer: Pomfort

Adobe Premiere Elements

Adobe Premiere Elements 10 is the newest update to Adobe’s popular consumer video editing application. Premiere Elements is inexpensive, well designed, and easy to learn. Premiere Elements has both a storyboard and a more traditional timeline view. You can polish, add effects and export to YouTube, HD Video or to DVD.

Premiere Elements 10 also has the unique capability to export to Blu-Ray, although the Mac has yet to gain Blu-Ray burning capability. You can also keyframe by keyframe edit effects and transitions.

Price: $79.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: Adobe

Avid Media Composer 6

Other than Final Cut Pro, Avid Media Composer is what is used in most broadcast news, TV, and film production. If you are at all serious about video editing, this is the tool you will want to acquire. at $2,500 it is relatively affordable.

If you have extra cash burning a big hole in your wallet, you can purchase a full on Avid workstation. You can also just use Media Composer 6 as a standalone app.

Price: $2,499
Requires: Mac OS X 10.7 or later; 64-bit
Developer: Avid


I have included a few video converters in this roundup that are very useful. However, they all pale in comparison to Compressor. Compressor is for serious people doing serious work. You can fine tune every adjustment and compress to many different file types. The sky is really the limit!

Compressor works really well within the Final Cut environment. It can also import video from other editors as long as it is rendered already.

Price: $49.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later; 64-bit
Developer: Apple

Adobe After Effects

After Effects is the leading industry king of post production effects and animating. After Effects can do pretty much anything. You can chroma key, animate logos in 3D, composite frames, light rotoscope, and more!

There is nothing quite like After Effects out there. Owning and mastering it should be a top priority if you are a pro. You can also find After Effects several hundred dollars cheaper at Amazon, which makes for a great value!

Price: $999
Requires: Mac OS X 10.5 or later
Developer: Adobe


If you have a camcorder that records on DVD or just want to pull media off of a DVD, you need DVDxDV Pro. Sure you could rip it with Handbrake, but DVDxDV Pro allows you to export to professional grade Quicktime codecs.

You can even export up to ProRes 1080i! Also, DVDxDV has built in presets for export to iMovie, Final Cut Pro, and portable Apple devices.

Price: $79.99/$49.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6.6
Developer: DVDxDV

5DtoRGB Batch

Many of the fancy new and expensive HDSLR cameras shoot amazing video. The problem is, when you try to bring that footage into your NLE (non-linear editor), issues start to rise higher than the Empire State Building. The answer is this app, 5DtoRGB Batch. Essentially this app takes your footage and converts it to universally accepted file types.

5DtoRGB Batch includes high end features like GPU processing and support for many of the high end HDSLR cameras.

Price: $49.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later; 64-bit processor
Developer: Rarevision


When streaming over the Internet, you need to optimize your datarate for optimum efficiency. MediaCalc helps you calculate that optimum datarate with ease.

MediaCalc includes many preset values, audio bitrate presets, and it has binary units and metric units. At the very low price of free, this app is a steal!

Price: Free
Requires: Mac OS X 10.5 or later
Developer: Chris Hauser


When all you want to do is make simple edits, cuts or transitions, and you don’t want to spend anything, Avidemux may just be your choice. Don’t expect anything fancy, this is as simple and basic as it gets. Avidemux is open source and a universal binary.

Many times PowerPC users cannot access new apps due to 64-bit processor and Intel architecture requirements. Avidemux will run fine on PowerPC Macs.

Price: Free
Requires: Mac OS X 10.4 or later Universal Binary
Developer: Mean

HyperEngine AV

HyperEngine AV is another free, open source video editor that does a little more. It features what is called “trackless editing”, which leaves the traditional timeline approach for something a little less intimidating. HyperEngine AV has Quicktime effects, transitions, and multiple output settings.

While HyperEngine AV can be at times processor hungry, you may find its ease of use and free price enough to entice you to it. Also, HyperEngine AV is open source, so feel free to tweak it and make improvements if you are so talented!

Price: Free/Open Source
Requires: Mac OS X 10.4 or later
Developer: Arboretum Systems/a>

Vivideo for Mac

Vivideo for Mac is a beautifully designed piece of software that is a perfect alternative to iMovie. It has DVD burning capabilities built in, supports video, audio, and photo in a variety of formats, easy to use interface.

If you know iMovie, you will know Vivideo. It has the same format as iMovie HD with all of the great new features of iMovie 11, it is the best of both worlds.

Price: $39.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.5 or later
Developer: Wondershare Software Co

iCamcorder Wrapper

When you are shooting video, you will end up with a huge collection of footage. The problem is managing all of your footage so you can efficiently edit it. iCamcorder Wrapper is just the tool for the job. It helps you backup and manage your collection of footage. It also will convert your footage into more Mac compatible files.

iCamcorder Wrapper can handle 1080 HD video and AVCHD files. Also it has support for multi core CPUs to make things faster.

Price: $19.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later
Developer: Aunsoft Studio


Nowadays, everyone has all of these fancy HD cameras that produce amazing video. What happens when you want to use non HD video in your HD project? It ends up looking very bad. Rezorect actually solves this problem by upconverting any video to HD in either 720p or 1080p.

When upconverting footage, the quality of the original footage will have much to do with the quality of the final output video. In any case, upconverted HD footage will almost certainly look better in your project than SD mixed with HD.

Price: $29.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later
Developer: PHYX Inc.

Video Shrinker

After you are done editing, adding special effects, and exporting, you now have a major problem. All of your files are probably extremely large and will need to be shrunken. Video Shrinker does just that. It allows you to batch shrink the file size of your videos to make them more manageable.

Quality will be reduced a little bit when shrinking the size, but the file size will be much more compact. You can also specify aspect ratio and dimensions.

Price: $2.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later; 64-bit processor
Developer: iilia Language Services


When writing scripts, screenplays, or shooting scripts, you need the right type of software. Cameraman is a cool app that simply allows to create scripts, screenplays, and shooting scripts. Along with actors scripts, you can create and block specific shots and locations.

Cameraman has been invaluable to me and others I know who create corporate internal videos and even a few indie films.

Price: $89.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later
Developer: Developer Name


So your final project is done and now you need to share it with family and friends or even clients. DVD-Creator makes it fun and easy for you to create DVD menus and burn your flicks to DVD.

As a free bonus, if your Mac came with iDVD, that program rocks as well!

Price: $49.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later
Developer: Wondershare Software

Logic Pro 9

Once you go pro, you might start making your own soundtrack to your production videos. Logic Pro 9 is great for putting your musical thoughts into digital zeros and ones.

As a cool bonus, if you do not like making your own soundtracks, you can always visit www.freeplaymusic.com, just a little tip from me to you!

Price: $199.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later
Developer: Apple

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