10 Best Filmmaking Software and Tools (2021)

FilmmakerLife Magazine Presents

Here’s a rundown of the must-have filmmaking software, apps and gadgets for working filmmakers and producers.

1. Final Draft

First up, let’s talk some classic screenwriting softwares. These three are the ones you are probably most familiar with. They are solid in their writing functionality, but don’t have full collaboration capacity.

Chances are, if you’re working on a screenplay, it was written in Final Draft. It has built-in reporting features that can you help through many stages of production. And is the industry standard. Movie Magic Screenwriter was a popular choice for many years, too.

2. StudioBinder

A cloud-based production management software, StudioBinder offers a modern interface to write screenplays, create and send call sheets, shooting schedules, breakdowns, contact management, shot lists, storyboards, and other project management tools.

3. Kickstarter

Thanks to crowdfunding sites, average people with dollars to spare are quickly replacing Hollywood producers. And these two particular sites are a common “rivalry.” Let’s take a look at both of these frontrunners so you can determine what’s best for your project. 

Kickstarter is the time-honored goto place to raise money for your project. A great trailer, some storyboards, and a great explainer video can connect you with the fan base you never knew you had.

  • Kickstarter is all or nothing: if you do not reach your goal, you receive $0. If you do reach your goal the website takes a small cut – be sure to factor that into your budget when you decide the amount you’re going to raise.
  • The all-or-nothing factor may seem intimidating, but the result is actually designed to benefit both donors and creators. For donors, if you want to support a project, you want it to be what you’re signing up for: a $300 short film looks very different from a $30,000 short.
  • For creators, this similarly assures that you will only be making the project if you have the financial and community support to get it off the ground.
  • Having the necessity to reach a goal can motivate the entire team to make it happen.

4. LensRentals

This is probably one of the most trusted online rental services. The only big difference is you’re dealing with a more established company so their level service isn’t consistent with ShareGrid’s community values or startup leniencies that sometimes come with smaller companies. Also, unlike the others you can’t rent for a few hours, your minimum rental must be one day.

They offer a wide selection of cameras, most notably, Sony, Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Leica, with old and newer models available. 

Of course you can always go to a local production rental company, but sometimes sites are beneficial to a smaller budget, and overall efficiency.

Speaking of efficiency, let’s jump into some helpful hardware to keep shoot days running smooth.

5. Sandisk Ultra MicroSD Cards

Much of your work as a film producer involves a flood of digital data on your laptop. Make sure you have enough storage space!

If you need more disk space but don’t want to lug around an external drive, we recommend a leave-in MicroSD for your laptop. The MicroSD card will appear as a drive, and will immediately be available for use. It’s basically like having an invisible external drive without any of the required power consumption. 

We recommend the SanDisk Ultra series for performance and reliability. SanDisk’s MicroSD cards range from 8 GB to 200 GB.

6. Backstage

After you’ve drawn up a casting call and the appropriate forms, it’s time to post your listing so the right actors sign on to your project.

Backstage is by and large the best place to post your film’s casting call. Tailored to actors of the stage, silver screen, and big screen, Backstage breaks down your casting call into an intuitive interface. Actors can easily search for parts, perfect for them, and submit to your project online for an easy project.

7. Asana

Asana takes task management to the cloud. Film producers can easily create and to-do lists and have them completed on a cloud interface.

8. Sun Seeker

This app is available on iPhone or Android, and has incredible value for filmmakers. Sun Seeker is a comprehensive solar tracking and compass application. This is especially helpful for those attending the tech scout, or even way ahead of time with your location scout.

It maps out the sun’s path for each time of day.

So if I go to my location, knowing I need a dusk shot, and I want to capture a very specific lighting, I can use the app to determine if it’s possible in that space. You can take screenshots of the Sun’s path and send to other team members to determine schedule changes, etc.

9. DaVinci Resolve

DaVinci is known for its brilliant color grading feature and renders significantly faster than Adobe. It is also available for free, but unlike the others it doesn’t provide a dynamic link to After Effects software.

10. Pond5

Pond5 works on nearly any budget. You can filter by resolution, FPS, and speciality video like 360 VR. Sites like Pond5 reverse the old reputation ‘stock video footage’ carried.


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