Everyone loves free stuff (well, except free bad stuff). But everyone loves free software. Of course the problem arises with the old adage – ‘you get what you pay for.’ However, many times Open Source software is one of the exceptions to that adage. Below is a short list of some recent find that may just be helpful to those in the ministry (or the rest of the world) who are trying to do some good, but with little cash to spend on it. Hope you enjoy.
Mautic is marketing automation software (email, social & more). You can download it onto your own site or create a free hosted account. Engage your leads through powerful social media marketing. Effortlessly track both anonymous and known leads. Send personalized emails to your leads. Mass email marketing with no sending limits. Have you heard of Hubspot? Well, this is the free alternative. However, Hubspot does offer a free version now. Though for many churches, the thought of a marketing software may be something that seems unneeded, there are some benefits that can be gotten out of them. For some churches or ministries, they may want it, others, maybe not.
If you need a PDF creator, but don’t want to give up the money for Adobe Acrobat, you might want to look into PDFCreator. You can convert your documents to PDF as well as JPG, PNG, and a few other formats. You can change the security settings and well as optimize your document for smaller file size. There is a paid version of the software, but the free version should work for most of your needs.
Ardour is an Open Source audio recording and editing software. If you need to do mixing and live recording for your worship service, then this may be your software of choice. If you want to mix some clips together, this works with Freesound.org, where you can import free samples to create your own music. Check it out.
Kdenlive is an intuitive and powerful multi-track video editor, including most recent video technologies, released as a free software (GPL). Using Kdenlive is investing in a community driven project, which aims to establish relationships between people in order to built the best video tools.
If you don’t like KDenLive, try out OpenShot. The interface looks a lot more friendly. OpenShot is a free, simple-to-use, feature-rich video editor for Linux. Features include: 3D animation, curve-based camera motion, compositing, transitions, audio mixing, and vector titles.
Synfig Studio is a free and open-source 2D animation software, designed as powerful industrial-strength solution for creating film-quality animation using a vector and bitmap artwork. It eliminates the need to create animation frame-by frame, allowing you to produce 2D animation of a higher quality with fewer people and resources. Synfig Studio is available for Windows, Linux and MacOS X. Synfig eliminates the task of manual tweening, producing smooth, fluid motion without the animator having to draw out each frame individually. This allows you to produce 2D animation with fewer people while producing art of a higher quality.
BONUS: Google Nik Collection
Google’s Nik collection, which just became free a few weeks since this writing, is a collection of plugins for Photoshop, Lightroom, and Aperture. Of course, you have to own one of those apps, which aren’t free, but that’s why this is a bonus. Google’s Nik Collection was once a $500 app suite, but after Google bought Nik, the collection eventually went down to $150. But now, after it seems all future production of the suite is never going to happen, it’s all free.