Differences between Hitfilm Express 4 and Hitfilm Pro 2017--the (almost) complete list

Triem23Triem23 Moderator

So, what are the differences between Hitfilm 4 Express and Hitfilm Pro 2017?

A lot.  Let's break it down.

Assuming you have zero add-on packs installed, the following filters are "new" to 2017 Pro. (I.e. everything available in an add-on pack)

  1. Import Mpeg-2 and AVCHD video and Dolby AC3 audio Audio Eq
  2. Audio Noise Reduction
  3. Bilateral Blur
  4. Color Correction Wheels
  5. Exposure
  6. Pro Skin Retouch
  7. Bleach Bypass
  8. CineStyle
  9. Classic CineStyle
  10. Color Vibrance
  11. Duo Tone
  12. Grading Transfer
  13. LUT
  14. Shadows/Highlights
  15. Vibrance
  16. Heat Distortion
  17. 3D Extrusion
  18. Animated Lasers
  19. Audio Spectrum
  20. Audio Waveform
  21. Hyperdrive
  22. Lightsword 2-point Auto
  23. Lightsword 4-point Manula
  24. Lightsword Glow
  25. Pulp SF Title Crawl
  26. Split Screen Masking
  27. Film Damage
  28. Film Grain
  29. Flicker
  30. Half Tone Color
  31. Lens Dirt
  32. Scan Lines
  33. TV Damage
  34. Anamorphic Lens Flares
  35. Auto Volumetrics
  36. Gleam
  37. Light Leak
  38. Light Rays
  39. Light Streaks
  40. Atomic Particles
  41. Blood Spray
  42. Fire
  43. Gunfire
  44. Shatter
  45. Leave Color
  46. Denoise
  47. Grain Removal
  48. Rolling Shutter
  49. Action Cam Lens Distort
  50. BCC 3D Objects--Based on BCC 9. 3D Objects in HFE 2107 is based on BCC 10, and has additional features, listed below
  51. Mocha Hitfilm--Based on Mocha 4. In HFP 2017 Mocha is based off Mocha 5 and runs as a plug-in effect, not an external program.

At time of writing (15% off sale), all Add-ons cost $293.25 normal price is $345. Hitfilm Pro is $349... So, what do you get in HFP 2017 you can't get at all in Express? 

Filters and Features Unique to Hitfilm Pro 2017. 

  1. 360 degree text
  2. Doppler Shift
  3. Channel Blur
  4. Channel Mixer
  5. Channel Swapper
  6. Channel Time Shift
  7. Color Space Converter
  8. Custom Grey
  9. YUV Color Correction
  10. YUV Color Transform
  11. Color Cycle
  12. Color Map
  13. Color Phase
  14. Energy Distortion
  15. Fluid Distortion
  16. Smoke Distortion
  17. Fractal Noise--Enhanced from previous versions of Hitfilm with new noise types. A more advanced version than that in HFE4
  18. Lightsword Ultra 2-point Auto
  19. Lightsword Ultra 4-point Manual
  20. Lightsword Ultra Glow
  21. Neon Path
  22. Sphere--enhanced from prior versions of Hitfilm, sphere now reacts to scene lights.
  23. Bulge--enhanced from prior versions of Hitfilm with new bulge shapes.
  24. Wireframe
  25. Chroma Key
  26. Camera Projector
  27. Histogram
  28. Parade Scope
  29. Vectorscope
  30. Waveform
  31. Wire Removal
  32. Action Cam Crop
  33. 3D Particle Sim--more than a "simple effect," this is probably the single most powerful feature in all of Hitfilm. Seriously, you have no idea....
  34. Use third-party OpenCL effects from companies like Red Giant, NewBlue and others.
  35. BCC 3D Objects includes Title Studio--not in the HF4E Add-on
  36. New Effects Preset Browser, including hundreds of new effects presets. hey, I built a bunch of those myself--you're all welcome!
  37. Project Sizes up to 8K (HF4E tops out at 1080p)
  38. Max Media sizes up to 8k (Hf4E tops out at 4k)
  39. 32-bit colorspace (HF4E maxes out at 8-bit)
  40. Increased RAM Preview Size
  41. Scopes Panel--Yes I'm counting scopes twice. The Scopes Panel allows working with Scopes like most other NLE's. The Scopes EFFECTS allow rendering your scopes to your projects. That might be unique to Hitfilm. I can't think of another NLE that can render it's scopes.
  42. Audio Mixing Panel
  43. Automatic Audio Sync
  44. Extended Editing shortcuts, including easy "L" and "J" cuts
  45. New Export Queue--set up renders of multiple composite shots or of a final project to multiple output formats in one stage.
  46. Export to Cineform (Window Only)
  47. External Monitor Support and improved High DPI support--run a full-screen preview of your project on a second scree.
  48. Import and Animate 3D Models
  49. Generate Depth Maps/Mattes for automatic occlusion between 3D models, particle systems and 3D media layers.
  50. Import Alembic or FBX Animation data for 3D Models
  51. Integration with Vegas Pro 14--a feature broken with Vegas 13 fixed! (Remember, FxHome isn't responsible for Vegas... Honestly, this is a fix at the Vegas end)
  52. Enhanced Point Tracking--new options make it easier to track long pans or rapid movement where objects enter and leave screen
  53. Enhanced Control Trees--states of Control Trees are now persistent when moving between composite shots, and new search functions have been added to effects controls, and timeline controls.
  54. And, of course, Hitfilm Ignite--add Hitfilm effects to Vegas, Avid, Premiere, AE, FCPX, Motion, Resolve and more.

And a whole bunch of other tweaks and enhancements I can't be bothered to list off, including faster load times, more control over texture and shadow mapping, new keyboard shortcuts, etc...

And that's about as close as you're ever going to get to the definitive list of what's different between HF4E and HFP 2017


  • #38 Unique to 2017: H4E only does 8-bit AFAIK. I don't see any 16-bit in the project settings of H4E.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Good catch, @NormanPCN .  I'm sure there will be others. Hence the "almost complete."

  • @Triem23, this is a great list. thanks. By the way, I am having my videography class at my college all use HitFilm Express. As with last year, they seem to really like it. I have HitFilm Pro 2017 on my laptop that I use in class, so I will be able to show them some of the differences as we go through the semester.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @CourtneyBrown. Nice! Glad this is useful for you and your students. 

  • There are other slight differences. ;)

    Some Effects - OK, I've found one, but I expect it's not alone, given its of a 'family' of Effects - behave different when applied in HFP2017 compared to how they work in HFP2017 when an HF4 Project is imported into it.

    Video is in the making... :)

  • What kills me is that remaining features in HFP2017 aren't avalible as a $4 addon. I mean if you can't buy HFP2017, you can buy the addons for HPE as you can afford at the time. Once you buy the last addon for HFE, you unlock one more optional addon for $4 that turns your copy of HFE to HFP20XX.

  • Actual, does the price to upgrade from HF4E to HFP2017 drop the more addons you buy? I bought like $30 in addons and I can upgrade to PRO for $331.99.

  • @JoshWood Yes the price to upgrade to Pro from Express is lowered depending on the add ons you have already purchased. I have no idea by how much and I don't think there's an easy way to find out either other than by logging in and checking your Pro price. A staff member once mentioned there were now over 7000 possible upgrade prices based on the different combinations of add on packs. 

  • DanielGWoodDanielGWood Staff
    edited February 2017

    @JoshWood Aladdin is right - upgrading from Express (with one or more packs) to Pro is discounted. The discount amount relates to the value of the Express pack, so given there are 11 packs, there are rather a lot of possible combinations.

    Anyway, a rule of thumb is this: at the moment, we aim to give you approximately half the money you spent on Express packs back when you upgrade to Pro.

  •  @JoshWood side note:

    The list above has some 54 features that are new/unique to Hitfilm Pro 2017. of those 54, at least 20 of them are features which were unique to Hitfilm 4 Pro--i.e. NEVER in Express (some of these are new features in Pro that might remain Pro-Only once HFE 2017 is released). These range from simple effects (Channel Mixer) through to major functionality like 3D Model Import/Export, the full 3D Particle Simulator and the ability to use third-party plug-ins. I suspect the code differences between Pro and Express are far more substantial than just activation-locking certain features, and that Express and Pro are truly different products ( @DanielGWood or another dev can confirm, if they so choose).

    But you really want a lot for "$4."

  • edited February 2017

    @Triem23 ; @DanielGWood ; Perhaps more people might upgrade if you got 100% of the cost of the Addons back, on the condition that they were deactivated in Express (if that doesn't already happen).

    So if you spent $100 in Addons, decide you want 3D model ability, then want to upgrade, you're more likely to than if you only get $50 towards the upgrade. Can't see why FXHome wouldn't consider that a much better incentive to upgrade, because who wants to continue to use the addons in Express that they paid for if they have the Pro version right there? It's just dead money, so...they don't upgrade and "make do" with their addons and get Blender and mess about with compositing in 2D movies of the models instead etc. Everyone loses.

    And if the argument is "Well, you had the use of the Addons for 'x' months, so we can't give you all the money back..." that 'physical object' mindset is counterproductive, because it means FXHome loses out on someone who delayed buying the full product, for whatever reason and now...simply won't do it at all. The very people who stagger their spending buying addons, or who have limited budgets are the same people who feel a 50% "loss" on their investment more keenly.

    Just let them trade in addons 100%, turn them off in Express and be glad you got more money for the full version Upgrade you probably wouldn't have got any other way. Customer is happier too. :)

  • @Palacono

    Thanks, I will pass your feedback on. While I don't make the decisions here, here is a little background:

    In general, our policy is not to prevent people using their previous products when they upgrade to a new version. In most cases, that's the fairest thing to do. The way the Express add-on upgrade discounts work reflects that, rather than it being us considering Express a physical product.

    Express itself - the concept of add-ons in a video product - is very different to anything we've done before (and in the industry), so perhaps how we think about upgrades should also be different (other than the percentage saving being considerably more than a typical upgrade). It's very valuable to have customer feedback on this.

  • edited February 2017

    @DanielGWood I agree that the system for upgrading full versions, HF3Pro to 4 or 2017 works fine as is. If you have a big project that relies on the idiosyncrasies of a particular version you always want to be able to go back to that to rerender/take advantage of it.

    It's only the Express > Pro upgrade route I'm referring to.

    You need to get people on the Pro path as easily, painlessly and fairly (in both parties eyes) as possible. There is no advantage for anyone to have maxed out buying all the addons in Express to only get 50% off the route to Pro. They just won't do it, especially if they've spent nearly the equivalent of the full product in getting where they are.

    It actually starts to bite customers in the wallet after only about 3 medium-sized addons and the idea of the money being 50% "dead" and sitting in a product (Express) that you would no longer use is (IMO) a disincentive to buying more than one or two addons at all.

    You have the data to judge this for yourselves. What's the average spend on Addons? What percentage has bought more than 3 addons? What percentage of them have upgraded to Pro Vs the percentage who have upgraded from fewer addons?

    Anyway, food for thought. :)

  • Thanks for the reply but I can wait at the moment. At the moment I'm on temporary layoff so I can't spend the cash to get Pro. I'm using express for editing footage for lets plays. I was trained in college to use Premier and After Effects, but after Adobe went subscription, I had to install my copy of CS6. Not a real problem but left me burned.

    HitFilm has been the best thing so far for my editing needs. Almost everything I did in Premier and AE translated over to HitFilm, heck even tracking data for my 3D modeling work is great. The fact that I no longer need to jump from program to program is great. I just wish that a version neon path was in express.

Sign in to comment