4 Free Open-Source Tools for Working With Video and Audio

Increasingly, many of us are working with video and audio online, not just text and still graphics. From video-based marketing materials, to online tutorials, to videocasts and podcasts, multimedia offerings are a great way to engage your audience. Here are four good, free open-source audio and video software tools, including some available in brand-new versions.

Audacity is very widely used for recording and editing podcasts and other audio recording tasks. We covered the new beta version on the OStatic blog. Improvements in the new version include better noise removal tools, faster equalization, support for recording more than 16 channels, and a new “Mixer Board” that provides graphical mixing tools. It’s available for Windows, Mac and Linux machines.

Simple Theora Encoder is a very easy video encoding tool for Mac OS 10.4 or higher. It can convert multiple files at once from several different formats, including .avi, .mov, and mp4. Using it is as easy as clicking “Encode,” and that’s it. The application provides a status bar that keeps you posted on the encoding progress and lets you know when your files are ready.

VLC Media Player is one of the best-loved open-source applications. It supports almost every video format under the sun, even the more obscure ones. I recently covered the new portable version of it here, which you can carry on a USB thumb drive. The full application is also out in a new version 1.0. I’ve been using it; it’s outstanding. You can also use it for broadcasting media, rather than just consumption. It’s available for Windows, Mac and Linux systems.

Blender is not only one of the best graphics and animation programs from the open source world, it’s one of the best open-source applications of any kind. Widely used in the professional video and animation communities, it’s great for 3D modeling, animation, rendering and playback. You can also use it on Windows, Mac or Linux systems. You can find a free, online book on it here, and I covered some of the newest features here.

What open-source video and audio tools do you use?

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