On Hitfilm, should I edit the entire film in one go, or scene by scene and then recombine?

edited July 2016 in Filmmaking


So if I was to edit a film (and one that was to use VFX and colour correction), is it better to edit the entire film in one project file, or is it better to edit each scene in a different project, and then in a new project import all the exported scenes into one master file and export that for the full film?

I'm assuming that doing the latter would be more friendly on the computer and make things run faster (which would be advantageous to me), but would doing that result in loss of video footage quality from having to export the footage twice over (I've never been clear if exporting footage multiple times reduces quality of footage, even marginally). 

Thanks for your advice :) 


  • I make each scene individually and the combine them into a final movie in the end. The only real issue that I have had is that sometimes I may have music overlap scenes, in which case I will compose each scene with the music then I remove the music from each scene and add it in during the final whole movie comp.

    I am curious to see how others do it!

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    In general film and tv production will edit in scenes, later cutting these scenes into acts which are finally assembled into a show. 

    Yes, there's more back and forth and rendering, but imagine making a series of cuts on a full length project with all media and fouling up the whole thing. @senseihaynes cut your scenes with an extra second or two at the beginning and end in the first place. These "bookends" give you some editing leeway at later assembly, like if you want a dissolve or a trailing music sting. It's easier to chop off a couple extra seconds of a scene prerender than it is to go add more material. 

    Btw, color CORRECTION is done at the scene edit level. Remember, correction is just making your shots match. Grading--creative looks--comes near the end of assembly. After picture lock. 

    First edits should be loose and long. Second pass for inserts/VFX and tightening. Third pass to really tighten... 

  • @Triem23: Do you know if the back and forth rendering results in loss of quality, and if so, how much? 

  • Just googled it and this was the first result: https://forums.creativecow.net/thread/24/968806
    According to this, re-rendering would result in a loss of quality, but one that is so minimal as to not be visually noticeable? 

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    There's a couple of caveats here. 

    Hitfilm seems to globally Anti-Alias output. For prerenders you should turn this down to the lowest levels. 

    Secondly, file degradation depends on output codec and bitrate. Mp4 is a lossy codec--but, a Blu-Ray is 20mbps playback, most cameras record at 28-50 mbps. If you prerender mp4 set level to 5.1, profile to High and render at a bitrate of 60 or 70mbps. Go to 120mbps if you're really concerned. A super high bitrate will minimize compression enough where it won't matter on your final output of 20mbps or lower. 

    edited July 2016

    I don't make long movies, just 2-3 min tops, no trouble with everything in one go.

    My workflow:

    Filming : Canon 600D -> 1920x1080 24 FPS -> H.264 .MOV 

    Editing : HitFilm

    Audio : Audacity (basic mixing)

    Color Correcting :  DaVinci Resolve

    Color Grading : DaVinci Resolve

    Effects (if needed) : HitFilm

    Final Render : H.264 .MP4, either DaVinci or HitFilm, depending on where I stopped

    Note: The only reason I use DaVinci Resolve is because I much prefer the node based color system over HitFilm's system, and due to the fact that I don't even own the Pro version, or any of the add-on packs for HitFilm.

    To ensure highest quality output, I don't go the H.264 route, instead I go uncompressed AVI from DaVinci Resolve to transcoding to DNxHD175 (.MOV), before I import the project in to HitFilm.

    I might give H.264 .MP4 at high bitrate a shot, but my workflow doesn't require it, and I get this weird placebo effect that AVI makes effects looks much better. It's all in my head... :-P 

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @KevintheFilmaker AVI (or PNG) sequences are your best quality, but I am assuming the OP is thinking about something longer. For something 90 min long, that's huge files...  High-bitrate mp4 is my workaround for lack of DNxHD or Prores. 

    In general, Albus, note Kevin is using multiple programs. Nothing wrong with that if you have them. 

  • @Triem23 I REALLY HOPE that FXHome's next HitFilm 5 adds a node based color system. I won't need DaVinci Resolve at all then. 

    And yes, I'm so glad that you're able to share what you use here. There's no "If you don't use HitFilm, we remove your message and ban you" things going on here, very relaxed and fun staff.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @KevintheFilmaker I would be surprised if nodes were added--the workflow is fundamentally different in nodes from layers. But, they could always surprise me. 

  • Yeah, if I was editing a video under 5 mins I'd probably do it in one project regardless, but I'll be soon editing a short film I produced, which'll be about 30 mins long. Before I discovered Hitfilm I edited on VideoPad, which was really good for a low budget but also kinda buggy with HD footage. So in that I just edited all my films in one project. The film I'm making is also the first I'm going to be editing + VFXing on, My laptop is decent for editing and VFX but not amazing, so I'm looking to avoid having to work with slow files, hence why I'm thinking of editing it scene by scene and then compiling it after. I'll try giving the high bitrate method a go when I get around to pre-render exports. 

  • @Triem23 Thanks for the tips.  I will definitely make a few changes in my workflow.

  • @Triem23 ; One question: My process involves taking  .mts files from my camera and converting them to DNXHD .mov files so that I can edit them efficiently in Hitfilm. I edit each video in its own seperate Hitfilm project and then when I am done adding the effects I need I convert it to .mp4 with Profile set at high and a Level set at 5.1. and a Bitrate around 100mbps. I then convert all these .mp4 videos back to DNXHD.mov files so that I can arrange them more efficiently in the timeline without crazy lag and then export the final film as an AVI file. I am relatively new to all of this so I was wondering if I made my process way more complex then it needs to be. You seem to be a very knowledgeable in this field so I direct my question towards you but I would appreciate anyone who has insight on the matter!

Sign in to comment

Leave a Comment