Transition from Adobe to Hitfilm 4 Express - Questions and first impression feedback


I hope that is the right place to put these sort of questions and comments and get some feedback.

After FX Home EffectsLabs got me started into hobbist video making a couple of years ago I deserted to Adobe and used Premier and After Effects ever since after getting the opportunity to buy at education prices. However, I stopped upgrading with version 5.5. do to the creative cloud business model forcing me to pay continously not having the option to skip updates inbetween.

I always kept an eye on FX Home and the release of Hitfilm 4 Express seemed a good point to give it a try. So I now started looking into NLE with Hitfilm 4 Express and these are the things that currently prevent me from gaining speed quickly in Hitfilm.

Maybe I have just missed some settings or some things are not really possible or just different with Hitfilm 4.

* Move Playhead to prev/next clip boundary in the timeline
This is a feature I heavily use in Premier to place the playhead but there seems to be no such option in Hitfilm.

* Zoom timeline in on the mouse position
Hitfilm always seems to zoom in on the playhead. If I have zoomed in to some degree and run the timeline the playhead gets out of the visible area pretty soon. Still I want to zoom in a bit more to the location I'm actually working on but now I'm forced to first click to set the playhead where I want to zoom?

* Give individual tracks an individual size
As far as I can see I can only set the vertical size of the tracks for either all video or all audio tracks but not for individual tracks. Its not uncommon that different tracks have a different importance at different editing steps and I would like to focus only on these I need at the moment.

* Full screen the video view
In Premiere you have a simple shortcut to make an arbitrary view go maximized (and back). I frequently use this to watch parts of my editing in fullscreen preview. In Hitfilm there seems to be no such option?


  • edited May 2016

    (seems that with each new character being typed the forum software gets stalled a bit more, so I had to plit up into multiple posts)

    * Zoomin / moving the timeline does not update the audio wave rendering
    Whenever I move or zoom the timeline the audio waves do not get updated, only if I stop zoomin / moving. This might not seem a big issue but when aligning sound effects to video it actually is. I often have to zoom and move the audio to find a certain wave peak. Obviously I can't if the waves are not updated whhile moving. This kinda slows down the whole process for me :(

    * Audio transition with constant gain / volume / power
    The simple "fade" transition is not enough to have nice transitions between two clips, especially when cutting parts out of a music clip. I do not want to fade out A to 0 before B starts to fade in from 0. I want a nice crossfade with a constant level of power or volume. Is there any such option I have missed?

  • But I have to say that Hitfilm 4 is a great nicely designed tool especially the Express version coming for free.

    So hopefully my feedback helps to further improve it where applicable.


  • edited May 2016

    Meanwhile I found the PG UP / DN shortcuts for moving the playhead to the next clip boundaries. I was just wondering why there is no player control button for this.

    But another question arose:
    How do I copy a clip's properties to another one. Its not uncommon to copy the transformation or scaling from one clip to several others. In Premiere you can simply select the whole "transformation" section and do a copy and paste. In Hitfilm that does not work. Is there another way to do this?

  • edited May 2016

    You certainly can do that, but not as a single cut'n'paste operation.

    Select all the fields in the Transformation by holding Shift as you select them from the Source layer, then copy, then select those same fields on the Target layer and paste onto them.

    I think the reason for not pasting at the 'Transform' field level is that some layers have different/extra fields - such as a Point not having an Opacity value, but the order of the other fields is the same, so you can paste the shared fields between everything that has them.

    Also works for multiple keyframe values. It's a great way to copy tracking data and apply it to the corner of a Quad Warp Effect on another layer, for example.

  • Palacono, thanks for the hint to select dedicated fields. It works, but only in the Composite workspace. It does not work in the Edit (NLE) workspace. So if I want to have the same scaling or position for several video clips I have to make all of them compositions.

    This adds quite some overhead to the workflow as far as I can see.



  • Drag them all into a single composite, spread them out on the timeline, parent them to a point, adjust the point as required.

    Yes, that means transitions are harder, you'd need to cut the video in the editor and drop a transition Effect across the gap, or do some Opacity fade up/down in the Comp, or something more complicated.

    None of it is ideal, but if you know you're going to do the same thing to a number of things you can potential group some of them together and do it all at once. Might just end up just swapping one set of mouse moves and keyboard inputs for another, though. :)

  • That's at least a possible workaround :)

    I see I have to think bigger. But I hope that some of this feedback makes its way to the developers. I can live with the concept to only be allowed using keyframes in the composite workspace.

    But a simple copy and paste of scale, position or rotation should also be offered in the editing workspace.

  • @Stefam it does ;) Most of your suggestions are already in our very long list of improvements to make to HitFilm. Please keep sending us feedback and suggestions, we try to read it all and decide what is most important to the users based on the feedback we receive.

  • * Full screen the video view
    In Premiere you have a simple shortcut to make an arbitrary view go maximized (and back). I frequently use this to watch parts of my editing in fullscreen preview. In Hitfilm there seems to be no such option?

    This is something that I find essential when I'm editing. There's no built-in button in HitFilm that does this, but if you don't mind setting up a special Workspace layout setting you can achieve the desired functionality. As far as I know, this only works in HitFilm 4.

    It's quite complicated to explain this workaround in written text (a video demo would be best), but here is the concept...

    First, get familiar with how the Workspaces system works, then...

    Set the Viewer panel to 'float' - the Viewer panel now has a black header bar with the standard 'maximise window' control.

    Put a placeholder panel such as 'Processor' in the spot where the Viewer was originally. Its purpose here is simply to maintain the grid layout for Workspace system).

    Drag the floating Viewer panel over the top of the Processor panel (the Processor panel is now hidden behind the Viewer panel).

    You will want to align and resize the Viewer panel precisely so that the layout looks good in both its normal and maximised size.

    Then save this Workspace by creating a new Workspace preset. (I call my preset 'Dual Size Viewer').

    The end result is that you can use the Viewer panel's maximise button to toggle between normal and full-screen views.

  • @Cedric
    Thanks. Its always nice to know when developers care about users. And sometimes someone jumping fresh into an application provides a way of thinking and using the software that "power users" and especially developers cannot even imagine ;)


    Thanks for the input. But as far as I understand your solution the viewer would still be a floating view overlaying the other docked workspace views. This wont work for me since I frequently also change the height of the timline depending on the amount of tracks I currently have and also depending on which particular tracks I currently focus my work on. So I would have to adjust the timeline and then the floating viewer panel as well :(

  • I have noticed that when using Adobe software, even slower and weaker computers work fine. The timeline doesn't become choppy and VFX-wise many layers of effects do not slow down the computer (unless it's extremely complex 3D). I hope Hitfilm can improve on this because they are truly a great tool for filmmakers especially low-budget ones. I was thinking of getting Premiere and AE but the costs were too much for my budget to handle.

  • I agree about the ability to toggle a full size viewer window and then back. When checking your work, especially when working on a laptop, it is invaluable to be able to see the full screen preview. Many graphics type editors assign a Function key for this task. Sure would love to see that.

  • After having had two intensive evenings of doing a bit more than just NLE with Hitfilm Express I have to say that I still think it is awesome that we get this software for free :)

    I did some color grading and masking stuff, simple point tracking and animation. Once you get a grip on the RAM preview and make use of proxies the performance issue ... well it still hurts but not that bad anymore :)

    Finally, as it was just recently pushed in another thread, I came across the old tutorial from Axel about "Creating laster bolts" that saved my a lot of time today playing around with the lightning effect and let it generate tracers for me.

    That's pretty cool. The tracker in particular made a good job when I threw it at some shaky GoPro clips going out of focus every now and then. But with just a little push here and there the tracker got me quite a nice result.

    When using Adobe tools I always disliked the idea of requiring Premiere and AE. As a NLE Premiere is well more capable than the Edit workspace in Hitfilm is. But as soon as it gets a bit fancy you had to start up AE, do some stuff, and render it out as dynamic linking did not always work as smoothly as Adobe marketing sells it. So sometimes I just skipped the one or other effect for laziness.

    Now with Hitfilm the compositing is just a single mouse click away, the rendered proxy just yet another one. No more excuses to not add the one or other effect now :)

    So I just wanted to report something positive back as to not getting branded a grousing guy :)


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