Useful FOSS Software for Trial Presentation and Preparation

A list of tools that have saved me countless hours, and allowed the completion of the “impossible” more that once. Specifically Avidemux, Audacity, and Super together have had me fix video that others after others have said it was not do-able, or would take too long. This list does not include the scripts that I have written.

  • 7-Zip, decent file unzipper, adds to explorer context menu.
  • Audacity, If the A/V sync on a deposition is off by different amounts, Audacity is the tool to use to change the audio track (use Avidemux to split, Super to recombine).
  • Avidemux, a quick way to chop MPEG files, allows for “copy” encoding to be used, so it can be exported almost immediately if one keeps to key frames for breaks. Filters can be combined to the audio only to down-mix stereo, or clean up bad audio, while copying the video stream for very fast conversion.
  • CDBurnerXP, sometimes the burners pre-installed are terrible, this one is simple and works.
  • Cygwin, aside fro being required to run the scripts I wrote, I find other uses for bash scripting at times.
  • DirSync Pro, keeps 2 directories in sync, for back-up and collaboration this is a requirement.
  • DVDStyler, great DVD authoring tool. It allows for copying of DVD compliant MPEG 2 streams, so it can be significantly faster than tools that require re-encoding no matter what. I also prefer the interface to most simple tools, pay or free.
  • FileZilla, great FTP and SFTP client.
  • Greenshot, Excellent screenshot program.
  • inData’s tool pack, a nice interface to common video encoding operations. I am working on getting this slightly improved, and hosted it on GitHub, as they don’t have it available publicly on their website. Currently available under “resources” if you log into the TimeCoder Pro site.
  • LibreOffice, it can open some files that Word cannot.
  • MPEG Streamclip, decent DVD extractor, fast as it doesn’t re-encode, I primarily use DVD Extractor from inData now, this is not FOSS, but free to use.
  • Mplayer/Mencoder, can be quite useful for conversions that can’t be handled by other software, not the fastest, and not the highest quality necissarily, but handles EVERYTHING.
  • Nmap, nice to be able to find printer IP addresses if you arrive after tech support leaves.
  • Notepad++, Full featured text editor, regular expression search and replace, good built-in macros, file compare interface, adds itself to explorer context menu so any file type can be opened without taking over an extension. This may be the most vital tool on the list.
  • PowerMenu, I find the “always on top” option very useful for working with 2 documents at once and copy-pasting.
  • QuickTime Alternative 1.81, a requirement of MPEG Streamclip.
  • Renamit, regular expression search and replace bulk file renaming/numbering.
  • SUPER, ugly, but usable interface for all types of conversions, and appending of files to each other. The download is difficult to find on their site, I’d highly recommend keeping a copy of it. This is free to use, but not FOSS.
  • TMPEGEnc, the fastest and highest quality method I have found to go from DV to MPEG1, not FOSS, but free to use.
  • VLC, this video player can play ANYTHING, if it doesn’t play here, the file is definitely bad. Also, adds itself to explorer context menu rather than grabbing extensions if you please.

I keep a copy of all of these tools ready to install, and with portable versions when possible, on a trial drive (along with installers for Sanction, Trial Director, and TimeCoder Pro) so that I can rapidly get any computer I’m at fit for business. The only other software I regularly use is Microsoft Office, which I get along without if need be (using LibreOffice), and Adobe Acrobat Pro, Illustrator, and Photoshop (which I download from creative cloud).

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