December 26, 2016
YEAR-IN-REVIEW

Here Are the 5 Best Post-Production Tools of 2016

These are our favorite new tools and upgrades to improve life after you step off set.

We all love life on set, but the truth is that the majority of both our movie production's life and our own lives are spent in post. Here are the best tools and upgrades of 2016 that we think will help that make the time after the shoot more creative and fun.

1. Fusion on Mac

Fusion for OSXCredit: Blackmagic

One of the few things we love more than "cheap" around here is the even better price of "free." Blackmagic has consistently done a great job of finding the right features to hold back to make the "paid" version worth the upgrade for pros, while still keeping the "free" release a highly useable tool. With Fusion, the visual effects platform purchased by Blackmagic several years ago, we knew there would be a free OSX version eventually, and now it has arrived.

After Effects is clearly the monster competitor to contend with in the independent VFX space, and Fusion uses the node model, instead of the layers most users are familiar with from AE. However, given its tight integration with Resolve and—we'll say it again—that wonderful "free" price point, Fusion is going to be taking some ground from Adobe in VFX in the near future.

2. FCPX 10.3

Final Cut XCredit: Apple

Notably not covered in our MacBook Pro review was Final Cut X 10.3, the newest release of Apple's signature nonlinear editing software, released in conjunction with the new laptop. FCPX has lost a lot of ground both in the market and in our minds over the last few years, with Premiere taking up the "indie" space that FCP 7 owned, and Avid retaking its place at the top end. But FCPX is hanging on and, with version 10.3, Apple seems poised to try and take back some of the market. Now with external monitoring back in the picture, native automatic LUT support, and Rec. 2020 workflows, it feels like Apple might be trying, a bit, to get back the "Pro" part of Final Cut Pro.  

Will they pull it off?  Apple has come back from near death before, and we hope they do it again and put FCPX back into the conversation.

3. Adobe Creative Cloud updates

AdobeCredit: Adobe
Adobe's subscription plan, Creative Cloud, has been controversial, but one of the perks of signing up is near constant updates and improvements. This is an ongoing plus for subscribers, but it makes it hard to really point to one specific "killer improvement" this year from Adobe. There have just been so many.  

Maybe our top choice is the set of new social media tools in Premiere that allow for amazing monitoring of your video's performance across platforms from within Adobe's software. Or the new VR tools? Soon enough, we'll see the results of the prototype for Project VoCo, the "Photoshop for audio" that can help filmmakers create new lines or dialogue or smooth out hiccups in the recording by analyzing a performers speech. The pace of Adobe's innovation has been exhausting pretty much all year, making for a very promising 2017. 

4. ACES

Credit: Cafe Society

ACES has been around, and slowly rolling out, over the last several years, but the technology had its real coming out party with Cafe Society, the collaboration between Woody Allen and DP Vittorio Storaro. ACES was the technology that helped Storaro convince Allen it was time to embrace digital, because it enables a proper image chain to be maintained from production all the way through to post, and thus you can finally have confidence in the image you saw on set. It took the Academy and a team of scientists and filmmakers years to get here, but we're finally starting to see the results of their efforts show up in workflows large and small.

5. Resolve 12.5

Resolve 12Credit: Blackmagic

As with Fusion above, free is really hard to beat, and with the App Store version of Resolve that came out in January, even the "studio" upgrade is very affordable. App Store Resolve has some limits on what panels you can use with it, and is available for Mac only; it can't be installed on Windows or Linux machines. But it has some seriously great features, too. It can be installed on up to five machines from the same purchase (so you don't have to remember to drag around the dongle from your home machine to the office machine), and it's half the price of the dongle version of Studio at only $499.  This was even before the 250 new features of Resolve 12.5 came out over the summer (free upgrade for Studio users), continuing to keep up the tremendous pace of innovation Blackmagic is known for. It would be exhausting if it wasn't so exciting.

Blackmagic is doing everything they can to make Resolve the single piece of software used from on-set image capture through delivery, and while they aren't entirely there yet, the tools already on hand are powerful, and are making lives easier throughout the post chain.

Those are the biggest post tools and stories of the year. Let us know what your favorite was and if we missed it!


See all of our 2016 Year-in-Review coverage.

Your Comment

33 Comments

FCPX already had external monitor support and native lut support long before this update. The biggest aspect of the update was the new UI and the addition of roles based lanes which simplifies organizing your audio via metadata which is a vast improvement over the classic patching of tracks. You can now do roles based mixing as well as sub mixing which is also a really powerful feature.

December 26, 2016 at 1:37PM

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Brad Jones
Director/Producer/Writer/Editor
523

+1 On the power and flexibility of Roles/Sub-Roles combined with "lanes." There isn't much to want for in FCPX right now; I absolutely love working with it.

December 26, 2016 at 2:38PM

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Tyler McCool
One Man Show
296

Absolutely. It's a fantastic NLE. Possible one of the only *true* non-linear editing applications on the market (look online and see discussions, it's interesting).

I'm leaving the Adobe-sphere for FCPX, Motion, Affinity products and Fusion. Great, and very often better, alternatives to the Creative Cloud suite, and, no subscription!

December 26, 2016 at 5:38PM

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Sam Woodhall
Video Editor & Motion Graphics Artist
96

Also, we have not had to pay for an upgrade for FCPX or Motion in over 5 years! :)

December 27, 2016 at 9:41AM

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Deyson
98

Nor will we EVER have to.

December 28, 2016 at 5:19AM

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I believe they are listening to us. :)

December 27, 2016 at 9:43AM

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Deyson
98

I'm someone who's been editing on premiere my whole life. But (I thought I'd never say this) I'm having a lot of fun editing on FCPX. To be fair, I've never worked on any version of FCP till date. 10.3 was the very first version I've tried my hands on. That too because I wanted to harness the full power of my Mac Pro. I pulled my hair out for the first few weeks of trying it. But soon enough, everything has become intuitive. I'm still not as comfortable with it as I am in premiere but I think, that's just a matter of developing some muscle memory.

December 26, 2016 at 2:58PM

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Sahit Anand
Director and Co-Founder of DO. Creative Labs
108

Soon you may even feel like a VJ. I know I do. I sometimes work ahead of the playback play head making changes. Give it time. :)

I love FCPX! :)

December 27, 2016 at 9:44AM

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Deyson
98

Hitfilm
Hitfilm Express
Hitfilm Pro

December 26, 2016 at 3:09PM

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N. Peter
Community / Filmmaker Website leader
133

Are all completely useless garbage, yes. Thanks for reminding us.

December 27, 2016 at 4:40AM

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Also the Adobe Cloud updates for 2017 have been riddled with bugs and all the updates you have mentioned minus the new VR tools are in beta. The social media tools and the VOCO are not exactly on the market yet so not even sure why this was included in the list as CC 2017 has been a disaster thus far. We had to roll back to 2015 because of the all the problems with After Effects we were having.

December 26, 2016 at 3:50PM

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Brad Jones
Director/Producer/Writer/Editor
523

And never mind that whenever you get fed up with the shit sandwiches Adobe is serving you and you want to switch elsewhere — and that day will come — your are screwed TWICE OVER. Because that will be the day that you are LOCKED OUT OF YOUR OWN WORK.

Yeah. That subscription Ponzi scheme is just brilliant. For Adobe. I can't even fathom how many people have actually fallen for it. If you subscribed to CC on day one, you will have paid a whopping *$2150* to date… and it's only going UP! Bravo. Great decision. Compare that to e.g. FCP X (incl. Motion and Compressor!) and you will have paid *$6,60* a month to date… and it's getting LESS.

Don't bother thinking about it Adobe apologists.

December 27, 2016 at 6:43AM, Edited December 27, 6:46AM

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What you safe on software is what they take on hardware ;-)

If you only edit video FCPX is pretty good. If you use Illustrator, Photoshop and Lightroom a lot, you get Premiere Pro and AE for 'free' ;-)

December 29, 2016 at 8:40AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
8709

"If you use Illustrator, Photoshop and Lightroom a lot, you get Premiere Pro and AE for 'free' ;-)"

I don't use PS or AI, since I banned both from my machine since Affinity Photo and Design came out. Both apps kicking the respective, pathetic pants off of PS and AI in terms of performance and stability. But then that isn't exactly a tough task. And for 90% of what I do Motion not only replaces AE, but it TOO tears through AE in terms of speed. For the last 10% I simply fire up my CS6 that I OWN. So if time is money, you're losing DOUBLE with Adobe products. With them costing you more in less than a year than I paid for ALL COMBINED the day they came out. You do the math. A few HUNDRED compared to several THOUSAND, with nothing even CLOSE to enough comparative value in return to make for a ROI that wouldn't get you kicked high tail out of any business school.

Easy choice for me.

January 3, 2017 at 9:08AM, Edited January 3, 9:12AM

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I made the mistake of going for a CC subscription once. It installed fine on one current (at the time) Mac, and fine on the other one - except for one program that would no install no matter what. Adobe told me I'd have to reinstall the OS, which was factory installed to begin with.

I told them - not asked - that they were going to issue a pro-rated refund on my year-long subscription. As I was speaking to the rep on the phone, I told her to email me a confirmation of the agreement - while we were on the phone call - and to an email address not associated with the subscription. (I didn't trust Adobe to honor what we'd agreed on.) Once I got my confirmation, I told the rep which email address was associated with the account and at that point we shut off the subscription. I did get my pro-rated refund.

Generally Adobe's got good software, but Adobe itself is a terrible company in terms of customer support.

January 1, 2017 at 3:05PM

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It seems they may be suffering from Software Bloat. Sometimes the best and quickest cure is a full software re-write. It is not easy and it can take time.

Maybe they are already working on something new behind the scenes.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_bloat

December 27, 2016 at 9:48AM

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Deyson
98

You just explained WHY Apple did what they did, yes. Adobe is is no position to do the same. BLOATED is putting it mildly. On top of that, it's still stuck with age old code, which is why FCP X blows it clean out of the water in terms of performance. It will only get worse before it gets better… if it ever even DOES.

December 28, 2016 at 5:18AM

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Gah! Does Adobe even run their applications *one time* before they push them out to their unsuspecting suckers? I've tweaked Dreamweaver 2017 so now it crashes only two out of three times when opened. Photoshop 2017 can open *almost* all the files that I created with 2015, and Acrobat can open *most* PDF files. And sure, Premiere Pro 2017 will just *lose* an asset or six from time to time, but it is an improvement over 2015 in that *when* it crashes and corrupts your project file, you can *usually* recover your work.

December 30, 2016 at 12:01AM

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Minor Mogul
Dilettante
780

I think the Tangent Ripple should be on the list ... at least an honorable mention

December 27, 2016 at 2:37AM

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Why u call fcpx nonlinear if it's linear as hell?

December 27, 2016 at 4:57AM

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Marek Kremer
Editor & Colorist
86

Because we, as opposed to you, actually know what that means.

December 27, 2016 at 6:45AM

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The amount of nonsensical, prejudiced MALARKY this site spews towards FCP X is just painful. Clearly ZERO clue on the status of FCP, let alone the market as a whole. The usual arrogant "We're way more 'pro' than FCP could ever be" BS that can be found everywhere here. Obviously completely unaware of how incredibly oblivious to reality it shows you to be. But hey, as long as you can mindlessly parrot the "pro" mantra to make yourself think you're doing the opposite, hooray.

"FCPX has lost a lot of ground both in the market and in our minds…"
LOL! Never mind the other, completely FALSE statements, again, showing nothing other than your ignorance on the subject of FCP and the market as a whole, because this one takes the cake and is exemplary of the blather that followed. The emphasis is obviously on "IN OUR [tiny] MINDS" here.

What does that even mean "In THE market"?? You mean lost ground in your little delusional "pro" world where anything that doesn't work the way YOU say it needs to is not "pro"?? Yeah, probably. Good riddance. Only you obviously have some refractory definition of "pro" that got stuck somewhere in the 90's. Because whether you like it or not, FCP X has the MOST users in "the market". And that by a HUGE margin. Sorry.

"… and Avid retaking its place at the top end."
OUCH. Avid is so TOTALLY dead. Give me a break! Not even AVID showed any version of Media Composer on their own booth last NAB! What does that tell you? It tells you they have everything but given up on MC because they make ZERO money off of it. They're in fact not making any money PERIOD! They are only nervously clinging to their big money server solutions which will be made obsolete by others very soon as well. If you actually think they WON'T be acquired (and hopefully shut down) within a year, maybe two, then you're even more delusional than I thought.

"Apple seems poised to try and take back some of the market."
:-)))))) … you mean EXPAND, not "take back", right? They have never had as many licenses in the wild. Ever. Just because the vast majority of those users might not meet your blowhard "pro" standards doesn't actually mean d**k in the end as far as that's concerned. So maybe turn to talking about things you actually know something about?

"Now with external monitoring back in the picture, native automatic LUT support…"
WOW… you really DON'T have a clue what you're going on about, huh? This is just embarrassing…

"… it feels like Apple might be trying, a bit, to get back the "Pro" part of Final Cut Pro."
*facepalm*… there it is again. *yaaaaawn* It's just so cringeworthingly ignorant.

"… and we hope they do it again and put FCPX back into the conversation."
Maybe just get out more and not just talk to yourself as much anymore? The conversation has been going on for YEARS. Maybe you and your cohorts here should just get your "pro" heads out of your proverbial backends sometime, lose the egregious confirmation bias and you might catch up.

December 27, 2016 at 6:30AM, Edited December 27, 6:50AM

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This all kind of reminds me of when Final Cut Pro version first come out over 15 years ago.

It seems every that is different or goes against the grain goes through the same cycle. First hate, then ridicule and finally love. :)

December 27, 2016 at 9:50AM

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Deyson
98

Another rabid Apple fanboy still in the Reality Distortion Field...

December 28, 2016 at 6:57PM

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Vidrazor
463

Why you so worked up bro? It's only software afterall.

December 29, 2016 at 5:01AM

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Logan Fish
Video Journalist
247

I don't know the numbers. I do know this: the fact that you use and like a piece of software is no proof you are right or they are wrong, just like the opposite: when I only know people who switched to Adobe it is still no real evidence for Apple losing ground.
Without solid numbers everything on this subject is bias.
What you are right about is that the writer is (or was) misinformed about the possibilities FCPX already had.

December 29, 2016 at 8:36AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
8709

You're certainly not ever going to get any real numbers from Adobe! Since they themselves have absolutely NO way of saying how many of their PPro licenses — which obviously EVERYONE with a CC sub has — are actually being USED. Apple on the other hand can tell you EXACTLY how many are in the field with an error margin of maybe +/- a few hundred. So when they say they have MILLIONS of licenses running (and they have), then you can actually believe it.

But if mere installs makes you king, then clearly IMOVIE has won, since that is on nearly every Mac in existence by default.

January 3, 2017 at 8:59AM

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Final Cut Pro 10 is considered a professional post production tool by a growing number of professionals in our industry. It just may be time for a full and fair re-evaluation of what it can now do.

December 27, 2016 at 9:38AM

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Deyson
98

You missed Vegas Pro coming back from the dead.

December 27, 2016 at 9:00PM

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Stephen A van Vuuren
Filmmaker
136

To me it was the TANGENT RIPPLE....$350 for 90% of what we have used in multi thousand dollar control surfaces in the past.

(But the Fanboy for boy toy FCPX...please, that ship sailed a long time ago)

December 30, 2016 at 10:31AM

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Blather cluelessly and make no sense much?

January 3, 2017 at 8:53AM, Edited January 3, 9:00AM

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What about Fusion for free on Linux?! That was huge!

December 31, 2016 at 12:09PM, Edited December 31, 12:09PM

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Micah Pendleton
Host/Writer/Director/Editor
76

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1
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ndctb5
27