Poor playback performance of H.264 and DNxHD

Hi there,
I just searched for a new kinda low-budget Software for Editing as many people ask me what to use. I don't like Vegas, Magix and stuff and I was giving up on getting a new Favorit "on the cheap", but then an eMail with the release of HitFilm hit my Mailbox ;)
I tried both Versions, Ultimate would be my Choice (Standard misses far too many Coloring Features...).
But I have one question - what do I have to do to get a realtime-playback? It acts very poor, is slow and only 10fps or something; even if I did NOTHING with the Footage.
I tried both, direct h.264-Footage from my DSLR and converted DNxHD; both performed poor on the same way.
Some people might think it's because of my PC, but... I'm using a Dual-CPU Workstation with 16 cores and 24GB RAM, with a GTX 560 Ti. I think this should be enough to get at least half-resolution of FullHD-Material? Even Quarter isn't fluid at all.
Without a realtime-playback, a NLE isn't usable for me :/


  • The software is brand-new, and still has lots of optimizing to be done. Over the upcoming weeks, the development team will be focused on implementing loads of optimizing to get the software functioning as speedily as possible, and you will see marked improvements to the real-time playback capabilities. We realize the importance of real-time playback, and it is top priority for us to make it available as quickly as possible.
  • Hi there Axel,
    yes, the Software is brand-new.
    I don't know much about Marketing, but if you want to sell a Software, you shouldn't sell a Beta were "in near future" much stuff is added?
    I don't know if I would pay 399$ (by the way, I'm from Germany, if I compare the Prices in € and $, I have to laugh a lot) for HitFilm Ultimate, but with my FXhome-Voucher it gets pretty interesting. But not if it doesn't work "correctly". And the Voucher might not be there till everything is finde :/
    Don't get me wrong and I don't want to sound rude, but if I can't get realtime with my Worktstation, what do you guys think we customers should have at home to really work with this? I mean, I don't want to work this way :/
  • I think the main focus of the software is the special effects side, with the editor at this point being a bonus extra there to make life easier for simple trimmings, etc. It makes sense that this will be a feature that will be improved on but the initial starting point all along seemed to me to be a effects/3d compositor/etc which is what appears to have been the case.
    At this point with all the bits and niggles everyone has - getting this software with the 40% off especially makes it extremely good value and knowing the guys running this it'll only grow to be better in a short space of time.
    Considering everything included with this software plus the 40% off I think your version of "on the cheap" is very far stretched and I'd probably suggest sticking with something such as Vegas until you're happy with the editing facilities HitFilm hopefully grows to offer.
  • it runs so smoothly on their tutorial vids! :P I get some stuttering but it's workable, i edit mostly on my old mac anyway, i just use hitfilm to make the special effects. Also everyone is going on about this 40% discount, I paid full price for my ultimate :(
  • Am I the only one who finds it logical that if you buy it now, they'd give you "free" updates to your software as it gets better? Therefore what would be wrong using your 40% discount now, and having it constantly being updated, instead of waiting and buying it later when it is already "efficient"?
  • edited July 2011
    At this point I'm kinda siding with Rick. Granted, my system specs are nowhere near his, but without smoother playback or at the very least a RAM preview (this would help a bunch on slower systems like mine), it just isn't up to the task for me right now.
    On top of the performance, it's missing a few key features that (in my humble opinion) need to be in the core of every compositor. Things like 4 corner pin, 2 point tracking, null objects, denoiser/smoother, common camera format import (*cough* AVCHD *cough*), etc. I also don't get the 40% discount, so the stakes are a little higher for me.
    The idea behind HF is most definitely interesting and I will keep my eye on it (daily) and try out every new demo version, but I just don't see it's value yet. I should stress yet. While I am not a previous user of FXHome software, reading previous user base forum entries is encouraging. Besides, I have confidence if my ancient (by software standards) copy of Vegas Pro 8.1 (x64) can handle compressed HD footage on my machine smoothly, the guys behind HF can surely pull these optimizations off.

    BTW, real specs on my machine ...
    - Win 7 x64 Ultimate
    - EVGA E758 X58 Board
    - Xeon W3520 (this is just a higher binned i7-920)
    - 12GB G.Skill PI @ 2N - will double this in a few months
    - Gigabyte GTX 260 896MB (factory overclocked) - this will be upgraded before the RAM
    - Intel X25-M 160GB G2 SSD (OS, programs)
    - Samsung HD103SJ (swap, temp, scratch)
    - 4x Samsung HD502HJ in RAID 0 (Media)
  • You can use my code, I can't afford hitfilm anyway, if you want

  • I think the main focus of the software is the special effects side, with the editor at this point being a bonus extra there to make life easier for simple trimmings, etc.

    Hm, if so, I could have sticked with VisionLab Studio HD from FXhome. I don't see why I should pay something I already bought (a little bit different, though).
    For me, HitFilm is an Editor. And I like it's workflow because it's very similar to Premiere which I use on my projects, but no one who asks me for Software has the Money to Buy an Adobe-Suite. For these Guys, which don't have Specs like me, it's a pretty interesting piece of software. Like "Refuge Denied" I muss some things, basically a Denoiser or Median, and a simple Curves. But that's fine for me, if the Software works anywhere realtime while Editing Intermediate-Codecs (I don't need it for h.264, but DNxHD should work ... ), I mean, this is somewhat normal in an Indie-Workflow and that's where HitFilm comes to life, if I got this right.
    And if my PC can't handle that, which PC do I need? Dual-Hexacore instead of Dual-Quad? O.o

  • You can use my code, I can't afford hitfilm anyway, if you want

    lol, very generous offer, but I don't think the folks at FXHome would approve. Besides, you might trip over big bag of money tomorrow! You never know ...

  • lol, very generous offer, but I don't think the folks at FXHome would approve.

    On the contrary, we've no problem with people giving away their voucher codes, particularly if it means more users and more feedback. The only warning I'd give is that you only get these vouchers, and if Matthias does trip over a bag of cash, his code is used :)
    We're working hard on optimising yes. It's also very useful to us to know of your diverse computers and specs - testing software internally is never the same as releasing it. These are things that will improve over time, and the more feedback we get from you guys, the better.
  • edited July 2011
    So is it normal that my PC can not "handle" HitFilm right, or what?
    What PCs did you used internally to test it?
    I have only two old Nehalem-Based Intel Xeon with 4 Cores (8 with HT), not the new Sandy Bridges.
    Hi Daniel,
    I see that you can not internally check all these. That's what Beta-Testers are for, I think.
    I mean, don't get me wrong - I'd love to test your Software and see how it can be improved, but not when I payed 400 bucks for it. I could buy an Adobe Production Premium (EDU) Package for this money, which already works perfectly if you know what I mean.
  • I see that you can not internally check all these. That's what Beta-Testers are for, I think.
    I mean, don't get me wrong - I'd love to test your Software and see how it can be improved, but not when I payed 400 bucks for it.

    I can see where you are coming from, but if it gets fixed in the next month or so, what's the harm? Especially if you already paid for it, what harm is done if it is fixed in a month? A month wasted?
  • I think his apprehension comes in not knowing for sure if it will get fixed/improved or if it can be made as good as <insert-other-product-name-here>. I can see this ... there have been a lot of software releases that promise a brighter tomorrow but never deliver - the programmers just can't quite get it right, or new show-stoppers are introduced as a result, or the software is abandoned before it has a chance to shine, etc, etc, etc.
    Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying this will be the case with HF, but as I am not a previous user of FXHome products I have no idea what their improvements, updates, work ethic, and such are like, thus, I am a little hesitant to jump on board. This may (or may not) be the way Rick feels about it as well.
  • Hi there Matthias,
    not only a Month wasted, maybe 400 bucks wasted.
    I pay for something and I don't know if I get it, like going to the Wallstreet.
    I think I can call myself a professional. When a month is wasted, that is much. I have a huge machine because I need the extra kick; but when even my Specs can't handle HitFilm, I don't know what's wrong with it all along.
    No one from the Devs or FXhome employees could tell me what's wrong, only I should wait for updates. That's kinda susbspicious for me, somehow.
  • edited July 2011
    Hey CameraRick, sorry if we didn't make it clear previously, we may have overlooked providing specifics in this thread, as we have been discussing it much, all over the place. But I can tell you exactly what the cause of the slowness is: the code hasn't been optimized yet. All our resources up to the deadline for launch were devoted to getting features completed and functioning in a stable fashion, and we weren't able, before the deadline, to complete the optimizing stage. Now that we sorted out the few bugs that presented after the initial launch, the programming team is focused on optimizing, which will bring significant performance boosts to all systems running the software.
  • I suppose I just trust them because I've been involved at Fxhome since 2007, so I just naturally assume that they'll pull through...
  • Hi there Matthias,
    2006 for me - but back then, when I got a Quadcore CPU, it speeded up all along and not made it slower or something ;)
    I miss MuzzlePlug and that Lighting-Plugin for After Effects. They never brought it back...

    Hi there Axel,
    thanks for sharing this information - at least you are very honest. I'll watch after HitFilm from time to time (maybe a Newsletter with "major updates"?), but in this stadium you have to understand that I can wether use it myself or maybe get my Mother to buy it. I really like the Interface of HitFilm, it's much better than other "Budget"-Software out there. I'm missing a Denoiser/Degrainer and a Curves (I need such things more than 3D-Compositing and Tracking-Data), but it's definately worth a shot if it's performance boosts a bit :)
  • I'm still laughing at someone who invests in a 16-core, 24GB RAM computer and finds Vegas 'not for them', puts it on-level with 'Magix', and then turns to HitFilm for editing.
    Also, this isn't beta. This is a steal of a program. If you can't see that, don't know what to say. I've been running [I]the actual beta version on my 6GB RAM laptop for a few months with relative ease and minor frustration. Is it seamless, clean, hiccup-less playback in it's interface? No. But neither is After Effects, Photoshop, or Vegas when I use them, even on my editing bay, with better specs than Rick's. Only with pre-renders and great optimization should you ever expect final-quality smoothness output.
    Would that be nice to have? Of course, and consistent optimization and innovation gets us ever-closer to that. But lag and patience is sort of the nature of the beast with graphics and video-based, intensive work on computers. Always has been, always will be. Because it's just that- 'work'. Maybe that's just my own sentiment, but there it is.
  • I thought i replied but musn't have come through, I used it again yesterday to make a smoke effect, ran perfectly fine.
    e8400 3ghz processor and only 4gb ram with radeon hd4850.
  • Hey CameraRick,
    We are working on the performance of video playback.
    Unfortunately H.264 presents problems for the majority of video editing software on the market - it is a finishing format which isn't great for editing. Wisely I see you've converted to DNxHD which is a great codec, but unfortunately it sits inside the QuickTime container which is just about our least optimised at the moment. In short, both the formats you've tried show HitFilm at its absolute weakest.
    MPEG-2 will work much faster and mp4s as well. I know that DVCPROHD MXF files are working reasonably well for some users as well.
    Rest assured we are working on improving our performance for all formats across the board.
  • Hi there Joshua,
    nice to hear that. I would convert to DVCPRO HD if it wasn't an anamorph Format :)
    I'll stick to HitFilm, as mentioned. They're popular-formats, so I guess you get on this quickly :)

    I think you read only half of what I read, did you?
    HitFilm isn't actually a Product that I want to use in my everyday production. I stick with Premiere Pro/Avid, After Effects/Nuke/Fusion, stuff like that. But I'm searching for something for friends and family which I'd comfortable with so I can help them - a good editing solution for beginners and such. And I think HitFilm is exacly this - I miss far too many things so I could use it my own.
    Of course After Effects isn't a real-time application, but Comparing this with an Editing Solution isn't that clever at all - I don't know if HitFilm works in native YUV or RGB, but I guess it's YUV. AE works in native RGB, so anything has to be transcoded if it isn't RGB yet - a Compositor isn't supposed to be realtime, even if this would be cool. VisionLab never was either.
    But an Editing-Solution like Vegas or maybe Premiere Pro and HitFilm should work realtime, at least for simple playback. I don't want it with heavy CC or Comping (even if Premiere's Mercury-Engine achieves that), but for simple editing this is a must, if you ask me.
    If you have a bigger PC then me, and Vegas isn't realtime, I think you did something wrong there.
    I would ask you if you can stop your laughing, start reading everything and then write something, the way you did this there is very insulting to me.
  • Hey CameraRick, we're making some good progress on optimizations. On my mid-range home machine (Intel Q6600 and NVIDIA GTX 260) I'm seeing very positive performance improvements with Canon 60D footage, for example. We'll have more details soon, but I wanted to check in to let you know that this is being actively worked on.
  • Hi Simon,
    sounds great to me!
    Have you tested the DNxHD or ProRes Performance? That'd be a bice thing, too :)
    Maybe you Guys should have a look at 5DtoRGB. This Software takes a step around QT and leaves some disadvantages (like noise to "hide" blockiness of QT's h.264 Codec) behind. Makes Footage actually better.
    Maybe you can use this technology (ffmpeg, I guess) in your Software; would get you far ahead of other Software.
  • Here's my loonies worth of advice. $1.00 for those not in Canada. First off Andrew is right. You will not find an fx program like this combined with an NLE at this price anywhere else. I use Sony Vegas Pro. Yes, it isn't perfect but I'm new to video editing and I feel comfortable with it. I've yet to evaluate Hitfilms nle but if I try it and there are major issues I know that if I send an email to support the folks at Hitfilm will do their best to solve the issue as quickly as they can. Any time I've had a question I have found them to respond quickly and helpfully. I know of one person who sent in a comment and got a reply one very early Sunday morning. Think it was about 1:30 am. So they are listening. They are aware of the issues with some HD Codecs and are working on it. In part it is a licensing /cost issue that they are negotiating with the codec providers. Right now as I use full hd footage with my Canon Vixia hfs 21 I know I may have issues with the AVCHD Codec but I still purchased the software. I know these guys are commited to making the software usable and accessible to everyone. At my work I sit on a committee that meets to improve the software we provide for our customers and internal users alike. Part of my job is to listen to their complaints and suggestions and make sure we can improve their overall experience. I know Hitfilm does the same. That's why I bought it.
  • HitFilm 1.0.1914 has some significant performance improvements related to media files and rendering, particulary for MP4 and DSLR videos.
    Please update and let us know whether it improves performance for you.
  • edited July 2011
    Updated, tried it with a avchd file and made a before and after video:
    It's still not 100% smooth on my machine but it's one hell of an improvement. Nice work FxHome!
  • Also confirmed here: my Nikon D7000 files now play *much* smoother at full resolution. Great work so far!

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