Soft goods

Desktop software is giving indie filmmakers the ability to operate like a studio pro

Desktop software is giving indie filmmakers the ability to operate like a studio pro. With so many low-cost programs out there, Variety surveyed some of their users about top choices and their effectiveness.

MovieMagic Screenwriter
Script formatting program interacts with MovieMagic Scheduling.
Why it’s hot: Text/voice chat fuctions, so that two scribes in different locations can talk while editing.
Filmmakers say: Greg Harrison is using it for his upcoming project “Radioactive Boyscout.” He says it’s a “solid and more integrated script solution for production.”

CompanyMove ShowPlanner
Scheduling program places everyone from prep to post.
Why it’s hot: Costs less than industry standard MovieMagic Scheduling ($400)
Filmmakers say: “The call sheets look identical and it’s pretty user-friendly,” says Jackson Waite, who used it on his short “Sense Memory.” Waite says he had to upgrade to Final Draft 7 to import files.

Final Cut Studio
Mac-based, includes Final Cut Pro 5 — with SD, DV and HD editing — Motion 2, Soundtrack Pro and DVD Studio Pro 4 with SD and HD DVD authoring.
Why it’s hot: Programs integrate into Final Cut; new HD capabilities
Filmmakers say: “It’s easy to use and very friendly with a lot of formats,” says Morgan Spurlock, who used its cross-compatibility to import animation from Adobe After Effects for “Super Size Me.”

Avid Xpress Pro HD
Video/film, audio, effects, music creation, DVD authoring tools under one roof; HD version exclusively for PCs
Why it’s hot: New HDV update this month as alternative to Final Cut
Filmmakers say: “The match frame accuracy is what separates this from Final Cut,” says Howard Leder, who used Avid programs on “A/K/A/ Tommy Chong.” He says the traditional Avid design is awkward for users of “click and drop” word processors.

Adobe Premiere Pro 1.5
Editing software works hand in hand with Photoshop and After Effects.
Why it’s hot: Premiere’s sister programs are used by industry pros and amateurs alike.
Filmmakers say: “Basic assembling was really efficient on the system,” says Jacob Rosenberg, who imported nine different film formats for “Dust to Glory.”

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