Useful software for videographers and photographers – Part 2

Earlier this year I was presented with some footage shot in Cote d’Ivoire, Africa on a Canon 5D MKII. The pictures were OK but the sound was distorted when the levels peaked and a look at the waveform showed that everything was square off. After an appeal on Twitter (@pukkascott if you want to follow) one suggestion was to try iZotope’s RX2 (now RX3) audio repair software.



iZotope RX2 tools


This is an immensely powerful suite of tools including Denoise, Declip, Spectral Repair, Declick & Decrackle, Remove Hum and more. After a quick view of an instructional video I applied Declip to the exported WAV file and after a little bit of playing around the distortion was completely removed and the waveform peaks nicely rounded. At $349 for the standard version it is not cheap but could save your bacon.


A much cheaper version called music and speech cleaner is available for $39 which improves noisy speech but is no good for declipping.
There a lots of sound capturing pieces of software available and after a lot of experimenting I plumped for SoundTap by NCH software. It produces very clean records from anything played on a computer or voice recordings from Skype.



It’s important to set up the right recording location and the file naming convention in options as it would be impossible to find the recordings later if you don’t. One feature I really like about the software is that even when you click “start recording” the file only starts to be created when it senses an audio input. Until the end of December it is available for $19.99 so I recommend you to get it this week.

Backup is one of the most important day to day operations since tapeless production came along. It took me a while to get round the fact that my G-Tech Raid drives were not backed up despite having two drives in the case but my Netgear network drives were. So now I use Netgear network drives to backup the G-Tech ones using Netgear’s own NTI Shadow software. It works OK but it’s a resource hogger and I have to disable the software when editing.

To backup my system drive I use Casper 7.0 by Future Systems which creates a clone of the drive. The software manages to copy every file on the drive so the backup is true replica of the primary drive and when that falls over you really can slot in the backup and everything boots up perfectly.

It is light on computer resources and it uses SmartClone to only back up changes to the drive, but doesn’t take hours checking the drive like other tools I have tried. It doesn’t work with network drives (even version 8) or on a Mac unfortunately but should be on everybody’s PC.

Getting more specialist I thought I would briefly mention two tools I use to upload and manage stock material.

I recently discovered Deep Meta by Belgium company Eazign byba which is a great analysis tool for iStockphoto material. I won’t go into detail about what the software can do because as it is free there is no reason not to try it, but one feature I discovered is a real bonus. If you control+click to select a number of connected files and then right click to open the dialogue window, click on “create thumbnail links…”, save changes and a little while later the associated thumbnails will appear in the iStockphoto listing for each one giving a link to alternative shots for a purchaser.  
Deep Meta thumbnail selection

Finally Send to Smugmug by Omar Shahine is a very useful piece of freeware for uploading photo and video files to your Smugmug account. Once account details have been entered it will list your albums (or you can create a new one) that you can upload to. Choose a folder containing the files and select which files you want to send and click upload. Very quick and easy.



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