Guys, for your info: been running some simple tests (not sure how valid but still). I downloaded and installed HF 3 Express and it loads up fine, and all seems to be in working order - good start. Next I wanted to see how some existing Hitfilm 2 Express files worked in the new version. First off yes I guess some of the features didn't work without buying into the packs, but I did find that one of my recent project files did work off the bat. The difference is in editor / comp render performance. If I hit the play in HF3 Express it is very choppy, if I load the same file in HF2 Express it plays smooth. Even down at a simple comp layer it plays better in HF2 than HF3. Something seems to have degraded in the render engine performance, in my very humble observation.
My only other comment is I personally think the HF2 look of the interface is cleaner and more professional looking (I know change is hard), but HF2 just feels clearer and crisper than the new interface, that seems to use a lot of black. Anyway, what should I care it's free right so I'll manage.