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Get HitFilm 2 Express (Win/Mac) for free

This powerful $149 video editor lets you add a wide range of cool effects (blood spatter, anyone?) to your movies. Plus: a $100 image editor, also free!

HitFilm 2 Express.
HitFilm 2 Express.

In my next life, I want to make movies. ("Star Wars" movies, preferably.) I'd love to make them in this life, too, if only I had a little more time -- and the right tools.

Actually, amateur moviemaking is easier than ever thanks to dirt-cheap HD cameras (like the one in your smartphone), but you still need software to edit everything together and, more important, add explosions, lens flare, bloody spray, and other Hollywood-style effects that all great movies must have.

A good consumer-level video editor will cost you around $100, but most of the current offerings come up short in the effects department. That's why I'm especially excited about today's deal: Until Feb. 4, FXHome is offering HitFilm 2 Express (Win/Mac) absolutely free. It normally sells for $149. (Thanks to reader Diana for the tip!)

Aimed at first-time filmmakers (but suitable for more experienced users as well), HitFilm 2 Express offers robust video editing tools: multiple video and audio tracks, drag-and-drop transitions, animated titles, sound mixing, and so on.

But where this editor leaves your CyberLink PowerDirectors and Pinnacle Studios in the dust is with its sweet, sweet array of special effects, which range from computer-generated gunfire and blood spatter to green-screen compositing and "procedural" lightning. Here's a sampling:

So, what's the catch? To get the freebie, you'll have to share the offer with friends on Facebook or Twitter. (Save your griping, please; this is an awfully small price to pay for a $150 software package.) Once you've performed that step, you'll need to register with FXHome by providing a name, e-mail address, and password. You'll then receive an e-mail containing a confirmation link, which will take you to a download page.

Whether you're simply looking to cobble together some home movies or you're producing the ultimate "Star Wars" fan film (too late -- it's this one), HitFilm 2 Express gives you the tools you need. And for a price you can't possibly beat.

Bonus deal: While we're on the subject of image-editing freebies, check out this one: OnOne Software is offering Perfect Effects 8 Premium Edition (Win/Mac) for free. Regular price: $99.95. It provides an extensive library of effects and filters designed to liven up your digital photos. Though a standalone editor, it can optionally integrate with programs like Apple Aperture and Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. The freebie offer is good until January 28.

Deals found on The Cheapskate are subject to availability, expiration, and other terms determined by sellers.

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