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MediaStorm Guide to Essential Production Software

Back in February, MediaStorm upgraded its Mac Pro towers for the fiery new models. Here’s a complete list of the applications I installed on my new machine.

Backup and File Management

ChronoSync ($40) – Handy tool when you need to mirror a group of folders between hard drives.
Dropbox (free, paid upgrade for more storage) – We’ve moved away from FTP for file transfers. Dropbox is far easier and much simpler.
Hazel ($28) – Automatically organize and copy files according to user rules. (MediaStorm Guide)
Space Gremlin ($3.99) – A graphical representation of every file on your hard drive. Great for finding space hogs.
SuperDuper! ($27.95) – Industrial-strength backup. Backs up one drive to another. (MediaStorm Guide)
Transmit ($33.99) – For those rare occasions when I still need to transfer files via FTP.

Editing

After Effects – I’m like a teenager with a learner’s permit when it comes to motion graphics. Still, I like to have it handy if I need to make something simple.
Aperture ($79.99) – For picture editing and management, although we have begun flirting with Lightroom (MediaStorm Guide).
Final Cut 7 (no longer produced) – For editing legacy projects.
Photoshop – I rarely use photoshop, but it’s good to have around for enhancing images.
Premiere Pro – My editing workshorse. This is where I spend 80% of my time.

Editing Utilities

Flip Player (free)- A Quicktime plugin for viewing Window’s WMV files.
Handbreak (free) – For ripping DVDs.
iShowU HD ($29.95) – For recording the computer screen when we produce online training. I use ScreenFlow ($99) for blog posts.
iZotope ($349) – For audio repair and sweetening.
Keyboard Maestro ($36) A macros tool to speed up logging. Can’t live without it. (MediaStorm Guide)
Piezo ($14.99) – Record audio from any application on your Mac.
Plural Eyes ($199) – Great for syncing multiple cameras and audio before building multi-camera sequences. (MediaStorm Guide)
Transcrivia ($29.99) – The only way to transcribe.
VLC (free, donations accepted) – A great video player for files QuickTime can’t open.

Utilities

1 Password ($49.99) – The ultimate password manager.
Alfred (free, paid upgrade) – Like your Mac’s search bar but much, much better.
Bartender ($15) – Put menu bar icons on a hidden shelf. Keeps the top of your mac clean.
Fantastical ($9.99) – a menubar calendar application that understands natural language when creating events, i.e., just type “Thursday at 8” and you’re good to go.
MenuMate ($4.99) – Shows all of your menu options right at your cursor, one click away.
Privacy Scan ($14.99) – Sometimes you just need to take a bottle of bleach to your browser’s history and cache.
Twitter (free) – Keep up with the latest cat trends, and also @Mediastorm.

Writing

Byword (free) – A clean, minimal writing environment. I write blog posts with Byword and then copy them to Google Drive for team editing.
Chrome (free) – I use Safari as my default browser but for some reason it has problems copying and pasting in Google Drive.
JustNotes ($9.99) – Simple storage for note-taking.
Keynote ($19.99) – For methodology and fthef presentations.
Glui ($6.99) – For marking up screenshots that I use in blog posts.
Text Expander ($34.99) – Create snippets, or shortcuts, of frequently used text.
Text Wrangler (free) – For the odd occasion when I need to format text in HTML.

Have a great tool I didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments.

 

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MediaStorm Presents: 60 Years for USAID

MediaStorm was enlisted by Goodfight Media, a digital storytelling organization, to bring to life a photographic history of USAID’s Food For Peace program. The film’s purpose, outside of highlighting the program’s humble beginnings and accomplishments, is to introduce the world to the new strategies being employed in food aid.

60 Years is not only a testament to Food For Peace’s accomplishments and commitment to eliminating hunger across the world, but an example of the tenacity and talent of MediaStorm’s motion graphics team. Find out more about our motion graphics capabilities in the film’s case study.

Visit USAID.gov to learn about USAID and its commitment to ending extreme global poverty.

Posted in MediaStorm Announcements, MediaStorm Projects | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Fulbright Now Accepting Applications for Storytelling and Public Sector Fellowships

The call for applications for the Fulbright National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship and the Hillary Rodham Clinton Fellowship is now open. Deadline for both awards is October 14th, 2014. Visit the Fulbright website for more information.

Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship

The Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship was launched in 2013 as a new component of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. It provides opportunities for U.S. citizens to participate in an academic year of overseas travel and digital storytelling in up to three countries on a globally significant theme. This Fellowship is made possible through a partnership between the U.S. Department of State and the National Geographic Society.

J. William Fulbright – Hillary Rodham Clinton Fellowships

Fulbright-Clinton Fellowship provides opportunities for U.S. citizens to serve in professional placements in a foreign government ministry or institution in partner governments. Fulbright-Clinton Fellows build mutual understanding and contribute to strengthening the public sector while gaining hands-on public sector experience. The Fulbright-Clinton Fellowship also includes an independent academic study/research component.

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Coming Soon: The War Comes Home

MediaStorm is proud to announce The War Comes Home, our first collaboration with Soledad O’Brien’s Starfish Media Group, will debut on CNN on Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 at 9 p.m. EST and will encore at 12:00 a.m. EST, and on Sunday, August 17th at 7:00 p.m. EST.

A recent study found that one in five veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan suffers from post traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, or severe depression. Our film follows two of these men – Delon Beckett and Garrett Combs. Both suffer from post-traumatic stress, and both have decided they need a drastic change in their life, one that they can’t address on their own. Their hope for change comes from an organization called Save a Warrior. Founded by retired veteran Jake Clark, this five-and-half-day program claims it has found an answer.

With families and communities hanging in the balance, The War Comes Home, is an intimate look at the search for relief thousands of veterans face everyday.

Posted in MediaStorm Announcements, MediaStorm Projects | Tagged , , , , | 1 Response

MediaStorm Guide to Using Adobe Lightroom with Premiere Pro

This article is part of a series of posts with tips and tricks from our producers’ experience working with Adobe Premiere Pro CC after years of working in Final Cut Pro. To read more about why we made the switch, check out this post.


Adiós Aperture

Apple recently announced its plans to retire both Aperture and iPhoto. The company will create one unified application, titled Photos, that will be part of OS X Yosemite.

While Yosemite will continue to support Aperture, as well as provide an upgrade path for Photos compatibility, development of Aperture will cease. (It’s worth noting that the last major upgrade to Aperture was version 3.5, released in October 2013.)

Aperture users are left with three basic options:

  • Continue to work in Aperture, in the same manner that some still use Final Cut Pro 7.
  • Adopt Photos in to their workflows when it becomes available.
  • Use an alternative application like Adobe’s Lightroom.

While some suggest that Photos will be a powerful replacement for iPhoto and Aperture, Macworld author David Sparks states, “The desktop Photos app likely won’t offer all the power that currently exists in Aperture; I’m certain its photo-alteration tools will take a hit.”

I hope that’s not the case. Nevertheless, MediaStorm is now considering adopting Lightroom in to our post-production workflow.

Read More »

Posted in Editing, Tutorials | Tagged , , | 10 Responses
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