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

19 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 10:37AM

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Brad Jones
Director/Producer/Writer/Editor
725

+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 11:38AM

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Tyler McCool
One Man Show
369

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 2:38PM

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Sam Woodhall
Video Editor & Motion Graphics Artist
138

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

December 27, 2016 at 6:41AM

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Deyson
88

I believe they are listening to us. :)

December 27, 2016 at 6:43AM

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Deyson
88

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 11:58AM

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Sahit Anand
Director and Co-Founder of DO. Creative Labs
387

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 6:44AM

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Deyson
88

Hitfilm
Hitfilm Express
Hitfilm Pro

December 26, 2016 at 12:09PM

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N. Peter
Community / Filmmaker Website leader
179

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 12:50PM

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Brad Jones
Director/Producer/Writer/Editor
725

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 6:48AM

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Deyson
88

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 29, 2016 at 9:01PM

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Minor Mogul
Dilettante
674

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

December 26, 2016 at 11:37PM

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

December 27, 2016 at 1:57AM

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Marek Kremer
Editor & Colorist
166

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 6:38AM

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Deyson
88

You missed Vegas Pro coming back from the dead.

December 27, 2016 at 6:00PM

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Stephen A van Vuuren
Filmmaker
489

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 7:31AM

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

December 31, 2016 at 9:09AM, Edited December 31, 9:09AM

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Micah Pendleton
Host/Writer/Director/Editor
109

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http://www.30gool.ir/

September 3, 2017 at 7:41AM

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golfun
22

Hey there!
I thought it was an excellent article you shared; video post production tools are always changing and we must know how to keep pace with development and get to know all the tools that will help us this year to achieve our goals.
We at https://videopostproduction.ca/ are trying to use the best tools, in order to be able to offer the best services, so this article helped us a lot.
Anyway, I hope to keep reading your blog, thanks for putting together your content list. And have a good day!

January 3, 2018 at 1:00PM, Edited January 3, 1:00PM

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