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Sanford Media Center Software

This guide was developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting shift to online courses, it is currently in progress. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.

This guide provides resources and support for the circulating media equipment and multimedia software provided at The University of Alabama Libraries via the Sanford Media Center, Whisper Room studios, and the computer labs in general.

Adobe Creative Cloud

The University provides access to Creative cloud for all students that are currently enrolled in courses. This is a comprehensive set of tools for design and multimedia purposes. OIT has detailed instructions on how to access and download Adobe Creative Cloud.  

Audio Recording and Editing Software

Free to Students:

  • Adobe Audition - Part of Adobe Creative Cloud. A Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) that supports multi-track recording, advanced editing and filtering. Does not support virtual instruments. 
  • Apple Garage Band (Mac Only) - Available as a free download when you purchase a Mac computer. A DAW that supports multi-track recording and editing. All editing is non-destructive. Supports virtual instruments with midi control and large built in loops library and  AudioUnits Plugins. 
  • Audacity - Simple Audio editor, supports recording, VST effects, AudioUnits Effects and multi-track editing. Does not support Virtual Instruments.
  • Ocenaudio - Simple audio editor, supports recording, AudioUnits Effects and VST effects. Does not support Multi-track editing or Virtual Instruments
  • Reaper (COVID Limited Time offer) - A multi-track DAW with support for recording, editing, Virtual Inustruments, Midi Control,  VST Plugins and AudioUnits Plugins.
  • Protools First - Free version of Protools but for simple projects, a great start and intro to the software. The full version can be quite expensive. If you end up getting used to and liking this tool and want to move to the Pro Version.
  • Tracktion Software Waveform Free - Free version of  Waveform but for simple projects, a great start and intro to the software. The full version can be quite expensive. If you end up getting used to and liking this tool and want to move to the Pro Version.

This is not an exhaustive list but worth looking at and seeing if these meet your needs and fall in your budget range. 

Recommended Paid Apps:

  • Logic Pro (Mac Only) - If you decide to purchase this softare and are a student I recommend Apples Pro App Bundle for the same cost of Logic by itself you get all of Apples Pro Apps. 
  • Reaper - (Temporarily Moved to free options)
  • Protools - Multiple versions and optional subscription payment option available to spread out cost.  Protools Educational Pricing
  • AbletonLive -  Multiple versions with payment plan option to spread out cost.  Not a subscription! Once payments have finished you own the version you purchased.  Standard and Suite Editons eligible for student discount.
  • FL Studio - Educational version is only the Signature bundle and has to be purchased from a distributor like B&H.  FL Studio Online Shop has more versions to choose from and one that is cheaper than the Educational Signature Bundle. 


Video Editing Software

Free to Students:

  • Adobe Premiere - Part of the Adobe Creative Cloud. Professional Video Editing software. Fully featured Video editing, color correction tools, effects, transitions, titles, multi-cam editing and external-audio syncing. 
  • iMovie (Mac Only) - Free with purchase of Mac. Basic video editing, trimming, transitions and titles.  Easy to use but limited capabilities. 
  • Hitfilm Express -  Free version of their paid software.  A video editor and compositor. A unique and versatile piece of software. Free version is missing some features and has limits on frame size and export options. Ala-Cart paid upgrades in app but if you are thinking of getting several of the upgrades you may consider the Full Paid version as it has all the capabilities of Ala-Cart options.
  • Davinci Resolve - Fully featured Video editor, color correction tools, titles, transitions, effects, multi-cam and external-audio syncing.  Free version doesn't have access to all the effects, filters and transitions or the ability to edit 3D footage.
  • Avid Media Composer First -  Free version of their paid software. Limited to 4 video tracks 8 audio tracks and a single project at a time and a smaller set of built in effects, titles and transitions.

Recommended Paid Apps:

  • FCPX (Mac only) - Fantastic full feature video editor, color correction, built-in effects, transitions, titles, multi-cam capable, and external-audio syncing.  The education discount gives you all of Apple's Pro Apps for less than the cost of FCPX by itself. If you are used to using iMovie and looking for something much more robust but familiar this is the route to go. 
  • Any of the Paid version of the Free apps would be good. 

Image Editing Software

Pixel Image Editors and Digital Art Programs

Free to students:

  • Adobe Photoshop - Part of Adobe Creative Cloud. Industry Standard and regarded as the most powerful image editing software. If you need a professional tool cable of layers, advanced brush settings, specialty cloning tools, even basic 3D and basic animation tools this is the software for you. The basics are easy to learn but as the tools get more advanced so does the learning curve. 
  • PIxlr - Web based image program editing. There are paid subscriptions for more functionality but the free version should be enough for most users. The browser based editor gives the flexibility of working on just about any internet capable device. However this does limit the ability of the program.
  • Krita - Opensource Painting program. This program is targeted more toward the digital artist/painters with advanced brush settings and features, layers and animation tools including onion skinning.  It has less tools for manipulating images
  • Gimp - Opensource Image editing software. This is some older software so it can feel a little dated but it will get the job done and most resembles classic Photoshop in the interface style.

Recommended Paid Apps:


Vector Graphics Programs

Free for students:

  • Adobe Illustrator - Part of Adobe Creative Cloud. Feature rich vector illustration and graphics program. Considered the Professional standard. 
  • Inkscape - Opensource program for vector illustrations and graphics. Good set of tools, interface is a little dated and is not as intuitive as more modern tools.
  • Vect - Browser based program for vector illustrations and graphics.

Paid recommendations:


3D Software

Free for students:

Paid Recomendations:

  • No recommendations in a student budget range.