OK, not really a Basic, but still an overly ignored option for college students – and it came up recently, so whatever.
Because software companies want to get you young (similar to drug dealers), they offer crazy discounts on their software if you can prove you’re a student. Some of these deals also include years of free upgrades, even after you graduate. So if you’re planning on working with production software, it would be very wise to invest while you’re still a student.
And I can’t stress this enough:
If you run a business on pirated software, you’re an idiot.
That’s like stealing a car to start a taxi company.
Eventually it will catch up with you: your crack will fail, the software will become unstable and you’ll have no support, or you’ll get found out and be in (very public) legal trouble. There’s not even much reason to do it, as software prices and subscription services are now to the point where even a rookie editor can easily pass those costs on to clients.
Anyway, back to the topic at hand. Here’s a quick list of academic purchasing options, from the big names in the industry. Obviously you have to prove you’re a student to get these discounts – normally that just means emailing in a copy of your student ID, but it varies company to company.
Avid offers Media Composer for $295 (down from $2,499), which includes 4 years of complimentary upgrades from the date of software activation. My advice: buy it right before you graduate. Then you have 4 years to built a client base with no editing software expenses. Plus, you’ll be cutting on Avid, which immediately gives you a bit of legitimacy.
Adobe offers Production Premium (which includes Premiere Pro, After Effects, Photoshop, and a bit more) for $449 – normal price is $1,899. No bundled upgrades though.
$19.99/month for students, discounted from $49.99. With that you get every single program Adobe makes – but only as long as you’re subscribed.
Final Cut Pro X is $300. AFAIK, there’s no academic discount because…well, it’s $300.
There’s always one weird dude at every industry event that insists on talking up the virtues of Sony Vegas. You could be that dude! Their academic price is $300, down from $679.95.
Never heard of it? Not surprised. Smoke’s from the same product family as Flint, Flame, Inferno, etc. – tools for VFX artists and such. They’re some of the tools you move up to beyond After Effects. Anyway, Autodesk gives students free 3-year licenses on a ton of their products – though their license terms look a bit more restrictive than most, so make sure you read them (like you should any legally-binding agreement, you dumb kids).
So there you go – you have a ton of inexpensive options as a student, so take advantage of them while you can.