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Digital Media Toolbox: Using Software

This guide contains information for creating born-digital media projects, resources for finding and using media, and copyright.

Need Equipment? Contact IT Support at 363-4357 (HELP).This page contains information about different editing tools and where (if applicable) they may be found on campus. If you have questions about using any of the tools presented on this page, please feel free to contact Adam Dinnes.



Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

If you are interested in creating a multimedia project involving audio and video, there are a couple sites you may want to visit beforehand.  Each of the sites below has information on how to set-up, shoot and compose your photos, video, and audio.

  • Vimeo Video School - - This site is produced by Vimeo staffers and provides tutorials on how to shout and work with video.  They have specific tutorials for working on a Mac or a PC.
  • Media College - - This site features tutorials on photography, video, audio, lighting and more.  Click on the links located in the upper right corner of the main page to find tutorials on various subjects.
  • CNN iReport - - This site provides tips for storytelling, taking photos, recording video and recording audio.

Image of a microphone in front of a computer screen.This is a list of applications for editing audio and websites for finding or creating audio (organized A-Z). Getting a good recording can be helped by removing as much extraneous sound as possible. The vocal booth located in the Library provides a soundproof location to record. You can also make a better recording by using a better quality microphone. The Library has a couple that you may check out and use in the Library. IT Support (Mayer Hall) has other equipment such as audio recorders that you may check out.



Audio Editors

Adobe Audition CC

What: Adobe Audition CC is a professional level audio editing tool.

Where: Library -  Public Computers, Innovation Space, Learning Studio. Lower Level Macs; Smith Art Lab


What: Audacity is a free, open-source audio editor and is compatible on Mac, Windows, and Linux.  It is a full-featured audio editor that allows you to record, mix, edit and create any project you need or desire to.
Where: Library - Innovation Space, Learning Studio.


What: GarageBand is Apple's audio editor.  It is a part of the iLife suite of applications including iTunes, iPhoto, and iMovie.  It is a Mac only program.  It works similarly to Audacity for recording, editing, and mixing.  One difference from Audacity is that GarageBand has a library of sounds and "jingles" that you can include in your projects.  It integrates with iTunes, and iPhoto to pull in music and images into your project.  Where:  Library - Innovation Space, Learning Studio. Lower Level Macs; Smith Art Lab


What: Soundation hosts an online audio editor, similar to GarageBand. The editor allows you to save projects and has loops/clips to add in to your projects. You can also record audio from though your computer. When you care finished, you may export your projects as WAV files. All of this function is free, but you may pay for premium sound clips if you desire.


Image File Types

  • JPEG ( So named for the Joint Photographic Experts Group, this is a standard file type that has been around for a long time. This format uses compression to reduce file size. This format does not support transparent backgrounds.
  • PNG ( This file format was created as an improvement to the GIF format. PNG files can have transparent backgrounds.
  • GIF ( Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) is a popular file format for the web. this format supports transparency and may be animated.
  • Raster Images ( Raster images are made up of blocks of color called pixels. The larger the number of pixels (resolution) the higher the quality of the image. These images have a limit to the amount they may be scaled up or resized without a loss in quality.
  • TIFF ( Tagged Image File Format are popular in in the publishing industry. Files in this file type are generally larger, uncompressed images. This is a good option for archival purposes.
  • Vector Images ( Vector images are created with mathematical equations, polygons and paths. They are re-scalable without a loss in quality.

Image of a cat watching a parrot in a cage.The saying is that, "a picture is worth a thousand words." The right image can bring illumination to the point you are trying to make, or it can be a distraction. Which it is, depends on how you choose to use the image. Below is a brief description of different file types, and then a couple lists of applications you can use to create, edit, or capture images. 



Image Editors


Adobe Photoshop CC

What: Photoshop CC is Adobe's tool for editing and manipulating raster images.

Where: Innovation Space, Learning Studio, all public computers in the Library; Smith Art Lab


What: GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a free, open-source, cross-platform raster image editor.

Adobe Illustrator CC

What: Illustrator is Adobe's vector image editing program. This software is available in the Innovation Space, the Learning Studio, and on all the public computers in the Library.

Where: Innovation Space, Learning Studio, all public computers in the Library; Smith Art Lab


What: From the website, "Inkscape is an open-source vector graphics editor similar to Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, Freehand, or Xara X."

Image of computer tablet and mobile device.Screen capture or 'screencasting' tools allow a person to either capture images or video of whatever is on the device screen. Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android have built-in tools for capturing images of the screen. The tools below allow you to capture images and in most cases annotate or draw and write on the image.




What: Grab is a screen capture app built into Mac OS.

Where: Innovation Space, Learning Studio, all public computers in the Library; Smith Art Computer Lab


What: Greenshot is a free screen capture tool built for Windows. The software offers plugins to popular software such as Microsoft Word. Once an image is captured it is possible to edit and annotate the image.


What: Jing is free cross-platform screen capture tool that can capture images and video. Once an image ins captured the image may be edited or annotated. Videos are saved in an SWF file format* which may be difficult to work with.


What: Quicktime is a Mac only application*. The app allows both screenshots and desktop video recording.
*The Windows version is limited and no longer supported by Apple.

Where: Innovation Space, Learning Studio, all public Mac computers in the Library; Smith Art Computer Lab

Snipping Tool

What: The Snipping Tool is a screen capture tool built into Windows. The tool lets you define the capture area and then, once the image has been captured, edit and annotate it. The default save as file type is PNG.

Where: any Windows computer.


What: Screencast-o-matic is a web and desktop screen recording tool. You can record your desktop right from the web or you can download an application to do so. The free version allows:

  • Up to 15-minute recordings
  • Screen & webcam recording
  • Publishing to YouTube
  • Saving as video file (videos will be watermarked)

This app has a paid Pro version (currently $18/yr.) which removes the watermark and provides additional features.

An image depicting a film projector. Below is a list of applications that my be used to edit or create video. The tool lists below are grouped into two sections: Editing Tools and Screen Capture tools. Editing tools allow you to compose a video combining any number of video tracks, audio tracks, and images with titles, transitions and effects to produce a finished video. Screen capture tools allow you to record what you see or a task you are completing from your computer. Some capture tools allow you to edit the resulting footage.



Editing Tools

Adobe Premiere Pro

What: This is a professional level video editing tool available for both Macs and PCs.

Where: Library - Innovation Space, Learning Studio, public computers; Smith Art Computer Lab

Final Cut Pro

What: This is a professional level video editing tool available only for Mac OS.

Where: Library - Innovation Space and Learning Studio, Smith Art Computer Lab

HitFilm Express

What:  Hitfilm Express is a free video editor available for both Mac OS and Windows. It offers a similar palette of tools to Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro, but is fairly intuitive and approachable.


What: iMovie is another video editor for Mac OS. It is a part of the iLife suite, which includes GarageBand, iPhoto, and iTunes.

Where: Library - Innovation Space, Learning Studio, public computers; Smith Art Computer Lab


What: Renderforest is an online video and animation maker. The user experience is intuitive. The tool offers a number of templates to easily create a project.

*** Beloit College students may use this tool with a 50% discount. To receive a discount, email to the Renderforest support team at support [at] renderforest [dot] com, fill the subject line with "Beloit College Discount," and then share in the body which product you desire a discount for (the specific type of single export, or subscription plan). After submitting your request the support team will issue a coupon.



What: WeVideo is is an online video editing tool. It offers a fairly intuitive, yet powerful user interface. WeVideo features some built-in templates and assets similar to iMovie. It seems to function best in the Firefox web browser. Videos exported from free accounts are limited to standard definition (480p) and are watermarked with the WeVideo logo.


What: YouTube offers a free video editor that you may use with videos you have uploaded, or creative commons (CC) licensed videos. In order to use the editor you must have a YouTube account.

To get to to the editor:

  1. Sign in to YouTube and then navigate to your channel
  2. Click on the Video Manager.
  3. Click on Create in the menu.
  4. Click to enter the Video Editor.

The editor also gives you access to CC licensed audio that you can add to your creation and supports transitions and text in your videos.

Image of the URL bar, showing "http://www" to stand for the "Internet."There are many web tools available on the web that allow you to think about writing, composition, and storytelling in new, different ways. Examples include Pixton, Prezi, or TimelineJS.




Things to consider when using a web tool:

  1. Make sure you give your self time to have something go wrong. Don't wait until the last minute! 
  2. There may be occasional slow-downs if the traffic to the site you are using increases. 
  3. Things may not always work the way you expect them to. 
  4. Don't be afraid to have something not work. 
  5. Don't spend too much time on a tool that doesn't seem to be working for you. Chances are that there is another tool that will accomplish the same task you are trying to complete.

Below is a list of tools that you may want to check out.