As I noted recently, it took me an awfully long time to settle on the most useful productivity apps for my Mac. But I did, and they’re a godsend every single day.
But what about the big stuff? What about the apps which enable me to create content for my YouTube channel and the images for the blog you’re reading right now?
Well, that comes down to three apps that are completely welded into my business processes. They’re creative tools that I have zero interest in switching from and, if you’re about to embark on a creative endeavour yourself, they may help you, too.
1. Final Cut Pro
I publish two videos on YouTube each week. This is no small task when you have a business to run and private life to enjoy. It requires a solid plan, dedication, and tools which enable the work to be undertaken as quickly as possible.
Anyone who runs a YouTube channel will give you the same answer when you ask the question, “what takes the most amount of time?”.
It’s the edit. Always.
There’s a very good reason for this. Like so many creative projects, the magic happens when you sit down and tune the stuff you’ve created. When it comes to video – be it a little YouTube channel like mine or a Hollywood blockbuster – the time you spend in the edit suite will make or break the final piece of work.
I need an editing tool that enables me to quickly fly through a-roll footage and edit out all my “umms”, “errs”, and occasional profanity (directed at myself). But it also needs to be adept at dealing with the format my Sony A7Sii shoots in and provide easy addition and manipulation of b-roll. Oh, and colour grading needs to be super-fast, too.
Like every software tool, the choice of video editing platform is a very subjective thing. For me, Final Cut Pro is perfect. And, hands up: I’ve never used anything else. But that’s the secret to success as a creative professional; you find what works and you stick with it.
Final Cut Pro isn’t perfect, by any stretch. You need a Mac to use it (therefore it’s a no-go for Windows users), it chews through disk space and it’s full of the usual user interface quirks around which you have to adapt your workflow.
But I love it, and Final Cut Pro runs like an absolute dream on my M1 Mac mini.
2. Logic Pro
I’ve produced music largely for my own enjoyment since I was about 12-years-old. Originally a Cubase user, I switched to Logic in the mid-nineties when it was still owned by Emagic.
Back then, I paired it with a Korg Triton and immediately fell in love with the ease of timeline production and the rock-solid stability.
After a bit of a hiatus from music production, I dived headfirst back into the world of Logic in – I think – 2005, after Apple’s acquisition of Emagic. And I fell in love all over again.
Final Cut Pro’s transition to its ‘X’ variant created a bit of a stir among professionals who felt Apple had needlessly commoditised the platform and dumbed it down for the benefit of hobbyists. I missed that transition, so Final Cut Pro has always been as I’ve known and loved it today, but as far as I can tell, Logic Pro hasn’t suffered the same fate.
Apple’s music production platform has gone from strength to strength and has, clearly, been left in the hands of some very passionate developers. The recent update to allow Ableton-like groove-building was considerate, exciting and didn’t detract at all from the aforementioned timeline-focused interface which is what makes Logic so special.
In the video below, you can see how I use Logic’s stock plugins to create the mic sound on my YouTube channel.
3. Lightroom Classic (yes, classic)
Last but not least, a quick shout out to Lightroom Classic.
No, it’s not optimised for the M1 Mac mini on which I run it, but it remains my photo editor of choice.
These days, my photo edits are largely centred around creating YouTube thumbnails and the header images you’ll often see at the top of these blogs (although, admittedly, the one above is a screengrab from a video).
This means I need to process the images quickly and Lightroom Classic is the best tool I’ve found for the task. It never slows me down, and the editing tools on offer will satisfy every photographer. It’s why you still see Lightroom Classic used by some of the best in the business.
What are your power apps?
So, I’ve shown you mine – now let’s see yours! Get involved below and let me know what your go-to power apps are, and whether or not you disagree with any of my choices above.