I facilitate a small informal animation group where we're all pretty much learning as we go along.  We have been capturing images using the software that goes with a Canon camera we have use of and have now finished both filming and audio recording and are looking for easy to use software for editing it all together.  We have the possibility of funds for this purpose so my question is therefore in two parts, the first being if money is available (without being extortionate), what is the best editing software we could get, bearing in mind that we are hoping that our animation group will be a long running project and that we would be looking for something that will stand the test of time.  I had Dragonframe in my head but it appears that that is more for image capture.  We would probably be looking at investing in image capture software some time in the future so software that did both would be great if it was available.  The second question would be in case we're not lucky with funding, what is the best free editing software for our purpose?  We've been using Audacity for capturing audio.

Also, we use Windows.

Many thanks.

Gavin.

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I am now editing a stop motion short with Da Vinci Resolve (free version) and so far it works like a pro editing program.  My old copy of Final Cut Pro 6 won't run on my iMac with current 64 bit OS, so I thought it was worth trying to see if I needed to buy Final Cut Pro X.  Don't think I will, Da Vinci Resolve does what I want to and is probably easier for me to learn as most things work like other pro editors I have used in the past.  Haven't come across anything I need the paid version for yet, I'll see how I go when I've finished the film and exported it.

Would be interested to hear more about how you get on, as I have just installed Resolve, and am struggling through the learning process. It looks like an all-in-one package, with effects, sound and colour.

Are you using the effects in Fusion, and if so, is there anything missing from the free version that might justify paying for the full Studio version?

There is the limitation of only (!) going up to Ultra HD in the free version, whereas the full one can handle 4K. The have a neat proxy command that makes the editing possible, apparently. It does seem tempting...

Anyway, please report findings, Nick!

I've been using Resolve for the past couple years, and I can confirm that you probably won't need the studio version for most of your work, as long as you don't need a 4K output. Fusion is very powerful, and it can do everything aftereffects can do and more, without leaving the editing program. The only catch is that the node-based workflow is very different from AE. It took me a few months of tutorials and practise to figure it out. But now I'm using it alongside AE for a film I'm working on (just doing select shots in Fusion for a particle effect that's more difficult to do in AE without expensive plugins).

Back when I was learning Fusion I decided to try it out on a real project, and that video was just released online a couple days ago. All compositing done in Fusion.

I haven't tried to use the Fusion effects yet.  I do all my re-sizing, wire removal, compositing and grading before I ever import an HD mov into the editing program.  Most i do in TV Paint Animation, green screen and the occasional speed change in AE, and when I do a frontlight-backlight shot, as I did for this mini-short, I put the pairs of images into Lightwave 3d v9 and render out the finished HD frames.  Most of that software won't run on my 2013 iMac which is now updated to OSX Catalina, it only works with 64 bit software now, so I will be up for major upgrades of 4 programs when my elderly 2008 Mac Pro finally dies.  In the case of Adobe, I can't justify the monthly rental system since I don't earn a cent from it. So it is worth looking into a new workflow.  

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