Can I create a cluster/cloud of videos by parenting to particles?

To create a summary of a semester's classes, I want to have video clips of the classes and teachers in some sort of cluster formation.  Not just still images -- actual video -- perhaps 30 or 40 videos rotating in a cloud-like formation --  a free form cluster.  Can I do this by parenting the various video layers to individual particles?   Is there any other method of doing this?


  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    A particle sim could easily replicate a cloud of a single video, but for several different videos... 

    You'd have to set up a Composite Shot with all your source videos in it and use this Composite Shot as the Source Layer for the textures. You'll have to have your particles spawning for at least as many frames as you have unique clips and you'll have to manually keyframe the "Start Frame" of your texture every frame particles spawn to a start frame of a new clip. Still probably easier than manually placing an array. 

    You'll definitely want to proxy the texture comp. Know that a particle cloud of several offset videos will be pretty slow. That's resource intensive. 

  • Wait... go slow.   Would I use particle simulator or atomic particles? The difference between them and the best-use case is not clear to me.


  • Think of atomics as a mesh of particles on the screen that you can affect with some inputs like sound or color.

    Particle simulators emit from a point or shape.  Those are affected by diddling with emitter velocity, particles per second, and so on.

    Please peruse the HF YouTube Channel.  For example:

    Also, Triem23 has extended info on his channel:




  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    For what you're asking you could actually sort of use either. 

    Like Stargazer said, Atomic Particles warps a grid of particles using fractal displacement. You CAN assign a video as a texture to Atomic Particles, but, every particle will have the same video at the same frame, every particle will automatically face the camera, and you'll be limited in the maximum size of a particle. To do multiple videos you would use multiple layers of Atomic. However since Atomic is a psuedo 3D effect, each upper layer of Atomic will occlude lower layers. You won't have 3D interaction between layers. 

    My earlier post referred to the particle sim. I'm gonna post this Simon Jones Hitfilm 2 Ultimate tutorial on particle clones. It will show you how to set up a video layer as a particle texture. After watching this, reread my above post, which should make more sense after Simon's video.

    In short recap, my above post is having you merge your individual videos into a single long video by adding them to a Composite Shot then keyframing the "Start Frame" of your particles as they appear to point to where each "sub clip" starts in the Composite Shot. 

  • Oh you guys rock!  I'm getting it.   Mike, you're saying that the clips go into one video track and I'm just using selected parts of it for each instance of a video screen.  Yes awesome.

    I asked  you a question in a post in the Pro Support area (How to set up Fast-attack & Slow-decay using the audio visualizer).  Let me ask you here.  Where are you getting your smarts on the granular functionality of the program?  Are there any non-proprietary dev documents we can learn from?   The online help file never seems to explain much.




  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Oh right, I forgot to answer that in the other thread.

    Part of it is just a lot of experience in general. Hitfilm is very similar in function and order of operations to other layer based NLEs and compositors like Vegas, Premiere, After Effects, Boris RED, etc. So experience in one more or less translates into making it easier to pick up another. If you were to shift over to After Effects, for example, probably about 90% of your Hitfilm skills directly translates to Ae. Most of the transition is the "rose by any other name" adjustment--Grade Layer vs Adjustment Layer, Procomp vs Embedded Composite, Point vs Null. Then there's where order of effects is actually different--like and Ae Track Matte vs a Hitfilm Set Matte... And it doesn't matter WHAT software you're using, Color Curves or Blend Modes are the same in all of them. Some of the stuff I'll throw out on here has long been in my brain, being adapted from things I learned as far back as the mid 1980's.

    One thing about VFX is really knowing in my gut things like "everything is just a dot with a color and transparency value" and "every filter ever just changes these dot values." Also being an old-timer and doing this before a lot of these filters existed helps, I think. In the olden times, in the long-long ago, I read up on how the basic filters do things (like the technical differences between a color key and color difference key), so I really get that a lot of current filters combine a lot of simple filters into a single interface. Once on this forum I went through all the little workaround steps I learned to create a Difference Key back in the late 90's. After a five paragraph explanation Axel comes along with "or just use the Difference Key effect." *Facepalm*. 

    Jumping to the simple "Glow" for a minute--a glow copies the source layer, sticks a luma key (key out dark) on it, then adds in a levels adjustment (RGB and ALPHA), followed by a blur, then a tint before applying a blend mode. But the "Glow" filter has all of those steps set up in a single, easy to use interface with friendlier names. An inexact metaphor would be that I grew up doing math longhand, so I don't need a calculator. This is something I see in a lot of questions on this forum and others--usually something like "Gee I wish Hitfilm had this feature" and the answer is either "it does, just not under the same name Ae uses" or "it does, you just have to do these two other things to get to the same place."

    (Total side note: Personally I hate hate HATE the fact that everything these days is referred to as an effect. Hitfilm doesn't have "effects" it has "filters." Filters are combined to make an effect, but the effect itself is the final shot and look. So I have seen on this forum and on the Hitfilm Youtube page the repeated question "how do you make 'The Flash' effect?" Um what exactly IS "The Flash Effect?" Here's a hint--looking at the show most times the Flash runs there's some sort of lightning look--oh, hey, Hitfilm has a "Lightning and Electricity" filter!)

    Some of it is, as the risk of sounding immodest, just having a good memory--I sponged up a lot of information from other users and from Staff. Former FXHOME tutorial guru Simon Jones was very good at dropping little bits and bobs about the inner workings of the software (Axel is an awesome tutorial creator, but he's nowhere near as chatty on the forums as Simon was, and Axel is much more direct and to the point).I've got 4 1/2 years on this forum learning from others. :-)

    Just being able to retain information is... I'm going to pick on a videographer buddy of mine who's not on this forum: the man just does NOT retain information. Almost every project he does I end up helping him on his color grading, and I don't know HOW many times I've explained freaking Color Curves to him. He really doesn't remember anydamnthing he doesn't do for more than a month, and to be arrogant, but accurate, I'm far better than he is at almost every single aspect of videography (To be fair, his handheld camera work is much more steady than mine, especially at long zooms, but I'll find a more interesting shot most of the time. ).

    Watching tutorials is important. Josh Davies, for example, threw out a couple of things about Grade Layers that I really should have spotted myself and didn't, and Javert Valbarr has kicked out a few tutorials that have shown me better/smarter/easier ways of setting up a few things. Hitfilm Sensei has surprised me a few times showing me a way to look at a filter or workflow I'd not considered. When I watch a VFX tutorial the first thing I do after they show the demo shot of what's about to be created is pause it and guess. Trying to predict how something will go is good practice to make certain I'm remembering things correctly. More often than not I'm correct--my favorite tutorials are the ones where I guess wrong.

    Now, next arrogant bit--being able to add two and two to get four is really helpful. Occasionally you'll see a question that makes you want to reach through the computer screen, slap the asker upside the head, and tell them to remove their brains from their sphincters and just think about this for about 10 seconds. A recent Hitfilm tutorial from Javert on creating a black hole--or inward spiraling vortex--got the question, "But how would you make a white hole?" Really, dude? Really?! "Try the exact same way with the exact same steps, but reverse the direction of rotation so things go out, not in, and instead of the black plane Javert created to be the dark center, you create a white plane instead? And maybe add a lens flare for fun! I don't care if you're a rank beginner, this should be utterly obvious to figure out." That's the answer I gave him with all the sarcasm removed, because they made me a moderator here just under a year ago, and now I have to be NICE to everyone!

    Experimenting helps--just trying to figure something out methodically or playing around. Both have value. The "80's retro logo" tutorial I did for the Hitfilm Channel in June was a total accident--I was working on something else and I wanted to see what happened if I used the Echo effect, and HOLY HELL, THAT'S SO 80'S!

    Reading this forum is helpful. I've picked up a lot of tips from guys like Aladdin, Stargazer, NormanPCN, Javert, StormyKnight, NXVisualStudio, and so many others active, and long gone. If you're following Hitfilm University, the lens formula I shared for matching a Hitfilm Camera focal length with a real camera's focal length--that was figured out years ago by a now-inactive forum member who went by "mark_e." I totally stole that from him.

    Bookmarks are helpful. Threads with particularly useful information are bookmarked for reference. In a similar vein I have a growing Notepad document of little hints and tips on my hard drive--in fact, the aforementioned lens formula is there.

    Answering questions helps. It's sometimes said that one doesn't truly understand a subject until one can teach it to another, so just helping people on the forums makes me better with the software. Someone might ask a question about something I've not considered yet, so I go figure it out. Once I can explain something to someone else and get them to understand the explaination really lets me know I've got it dialed in my own brain.

    Simon Jones shared with me years ago of of the Hitfilm devs old blogs which covered some arcana about order of operations and how 3D space seperated into "batches" when 2D layers got in the way. Not certain where the URL for that might be, but the data is locked in my memory, and in my notes files. Most of it has already come out in Hit-U tutorials.

  • And I thank you for your time on that post.  We're all grateful for your assistance --   I'll praise your dedication, and I will similarly praise the dedication of everyone who is working at FXHome, and to the forum members who also take from their valuable time to teach the rest of us.    


  • edited July 2017


Sign in to comment