The Best Industry Products Right Now

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Storyboard Pro is an online application from Toon Boom dedicated to the storyboarding process. Through the software, filmmakers can record their initial ideas for frames and sequences in their project, so that they can be easier to share and pitch to others. The application allows users to import their scripts and automatically generate panels from scene breakdowns. These panels are arranged in a timeline, making it easy for creators to rearrange sequences and turn storyboards into video animatics. Creators can sketch and draw on the panels with Toon Boom’s drawing engine, viewable in both 2D and 3D, and add audio to each panel if desired.

Story Xperiential is an online learning program where students can learn the Pixar storytelling process. Through the 40-hour, eight-step program, students learn to create their own stories through the platforms’ classes and bi-weekly live streams from the best industry experts. Individuals or teams going through the program can create and upload their work for regular peer feedback and support. The classes have flexible scheduling, and all the materials covered can be accessed for a whole year. By the end of the course, students can showcase their work in one of the three yearly exhibitions hosted by the site. Schools and organizations interested can contact the site for group pricing.

While it’s best known for gaming backgrounds, SpeedTree is a useful animation tool for background environments. Through the tools’ procedural modeling, flexible art tools, and photogrammetry workflows, artists can create likelike, dynamic environments. Animators can quickly and easily add vegetation – plants, water, rain, etc. – to their backgrounds, without having to worry too much about realism or being too flat. Each element reacts to customizable wind settings, seasonal variations, and different textures, and can be adaptable for a variety of environments, including both urban and natural biomes. Independent studios can start using the software at $19/month, but animators looking to try the software can access the app’s Learning Edition for free.

Slated is the online marketplace dedicated exclusively to film. On the site, filmmakers can list their projects and take advantage of the site’s free team analysis. Filmmakers can then pay for the site’s predictive analysis services for the script, screening, and financials of the film; as well as packaging tools to best improve their movie’s chances to make it on the big screen. Once the project is posted, the site makes it more discoverable to potential investors and distributors interested in the story. Slated has successfully funded and connected teams for at least 1,400+ released films, with around 300 of these titles grossing more than $561M worldwide.

While on set, it would be easier for filmmakers to ensure that their video files are properly backed up and organized. Pomfort’s Silverstack is an excellent application that helps its users instantly secure their data. Through the software, users can back up their footage and quickly organize their files. The application supports all major camera formats including RAW, 8K, and compressed. On top of that, the software can link the specific audio and information to corresponding files. Once uploaded, they can preview source material and create useful reports based on a central metadata library. Of course, with every media management system, security is important, and Silverstack prioritizes keeping files safe.

While best known for its stock photos, Shutterstock is a prominent website that also provides stock footage as well as stock music and editing tools. Through the site, users can preview and obtain licenses for specific content to use anywhere, without paying additional royalties. The library includes around 200 million photos, graphics, and illustrations, but it also has around 10 million video clips and music tracks available in its selection. Filmmakers can use these media in their films for a fee, which varies depending on the type and number of files. They can also contribute to and earn from the site through Shutterstock’s free desktop and mobile applications.

Shot Lister is an online application that makes the shot listing process easy. Through the free mobile application, anyone can easily create industry-standard shot lists with professional formatting, including letter revisions, cast numbers, and shot numbering. These lists can be organized into a shooting schedule on a minute-by-minute basis. Users can re-organize the schedule on the spot while shooting, as the intuitive and customizable interface makes this process quick and easy. These features are already available on the free version, however, Pro and desktop users have premium features such as cloud synchronization, storyboarding, script importing, best take tracking, unlimited projects and shot listing for TV/episodic work.

ShareGrid is the largest, most trusted camera-sharing community, which aims to streamline the rental process for its users. Filmmakers on the platform can look for the equipment they need, and rent them from nearby fellow creators and businesses. The platform offers a wide range of cinematography tools such as cameras, lenses, lighting gear, and other accessories. From the selection, users can compare prices, read reviews, and message equipment owners directly for any concerns. On top of this, the site also offers insurance options to protect both equipment owner and renter against potential damage or loss.

Seed&Spark is a crowdfunding platform dedicated exclusively to films. Since its launch in 2012, filmmakers have used it to create campaigns for their stories and share their plans for their films. Unlike other platforms, Seed&Spark campaigns operate like a registry, so they allow backers to lend loan-specific equipment on top of cash. The platform’s crowdfunding specialists, who are also working creators, are present to give personalized feedback and workshops on the process. Campaigners can receive their funds once 80% of their goal is reached, with no platform fee attached. As of 2023, Seed&Spark boasts an 82% success rate of getting a film made, with over $50M raised and over four thousand projects created.

While Final Draft is considered the screenwriting standard, Scrivener is the standard for writing overall—providing an excellent way to organize and format large writing projects so that you don’t get overwhelmed by the task ahead. As an all-around writing app, Scrivener holds a comprehensive toolkit in its library, including citation formatting for academics and, most importantly, different templates for screenwriters. Scrivener also has planning features such as its corkboard and outliner to pin down any idea. With this in mind, Scrivener would be best suited for screenwriters that also work in non-film projects or for authors looking to adapt their previous works to film.

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