- Support & community
- In-depth toolset
- Ease of use
- Limited export options
- No support for Alembic
By Joël LeLièvre, Apr 22, 2015
Software type: Standalone
Version: 3 Pro
Category: Compositing and VFX, Editing
HitFilm is an all-in-one editing, 3D and VFX software that prides itself on being a toolset that can be used by independent filmmakers, artists and newcomers to VFX and editing. Developed by UK-based company FXhome, the software allows users to import media, edit it, composite and add effects to it, then export the results to a variety of formats.
The market in which HitFilm resides has some fierce competition. When you think of compositing tools, one immediately thinks of products like After Effects, Nuke or Fusion. These are big players in the VFX and compositing arena, so where does Hitfilm fit in? The software also offers editing capabilities, so how does it compare to related products like Final Cut, Adobe Premiere or Sony Vegas?
In this review I will take a look at HitFilm 3 and see what it has to offer, and we will find out where it stands when compared to some of these similar tools.
Installation & Setup
Hitfilm 3 offers a unique experience of being able to do both editing and VFX compositing within one software. Other software tools out there tend to focus one or the other, so I was interested in seeing how the HitFilm workflow handled these two areas of production within one interface.
HitFilm can be purchased at a cost of $299 USD from the official website and once the software was downloaded, I was able to quickly get it up and running. The first obstacle any user faces when using or learning a new software is usually becoming friends with the UI, and learning how everything works. HitFilm has done a really great job of putting new users at ease. Upon launching the interface, users are greeted with a simple layout, a homepage that offers direct links to the HitFilm user guide, video tutorials and user forums. So anyone who is new to HitFilm can easily search out what they are looking for. This is a great way to learn what HitFilm is capable of, but it also allows you to focus on a particular topic right from the get-go. Getting up to speed takes no time at all, and some of the tutorial topics covered are particles, motion graphics and editing essentials.
Setting up your project workspace is simple and straightforward. In the “Project” tab users can specify project settings that include the typical options offered by most video editing and compositing programs like resolutions, 8 & 16bit depth, and frame rate.
Editing & Compositing
The editing component of HitFilm will feel very familiar to anyone who has done any editing before. I will admit, the interface feels like a clunkier, less congested version of Adobe Premiere. The panels, and general layout are what one would expect from a typical video editing toolset, and all of the common editing tools are there. One area that seemed to be lacking was audio. With a limited audio toolset, users can hope this is an area that HitFilm can improve upon in future releases.
The compositing side of the software has a lot to offer. Again, the interface is very similar to After Effects so any AE user will feel right at home, be it for working with compositing or finishing video projects.
One great feature of editing in HitFilm that greatly simplifies workflow when moving from editing to compositing is that you can simply select your shot, hit ‘Make Composite Shot’, and it will create a composite using the clip selected. Next step is to choose View-Workspace-Compositing from the main menu and you are now using the compositing interface. This is a nice change from using software like Premiere and After Effects where you have to switch out of one, and into another.
Now that we have a composite to work with, we have a wide range of effects, filters, and presets that we can use to alter our footage. The standard tools one would expect in a compositing application are there: tools for keying, masking, and colour correction are all present. I was really impressed at how in-depth HitFilm’s composting toolset is.
The sheer amount of tools, and especially particle setups was really nice to see, and it offers a wide range of effects to use and customize for projects’ needs. Some of the great particle setups include blood splatter, smoke, sparks, and rain and could be considered similar to what Trapcode Particular offers in After Effects, or Nuke’s particle tools. The presets are drag and drop, and can be easily customized, something which can speed up your workflow and allows you to focus on adjusting the settings to get the look you are after. Users can also right click on a customized effect and save it as a preset for future use. HitFilm supports the OpenFX standard, so users can use plugins from other vendors and developers as well.
nice Joël. Any chance you’d do a clarisse fx review?