Hitfilm University (Merry VFX-MAS! Dec 24, 2018)



  • @Triem23

    A few questions:

    Is mp4 a decent editing format?

    What programs out of the ones you listed do you recommend? I have some footage from a cell phone that is mp4, but variable frame rate. 

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @ZCC_Productions mp4 is, in general, a terrible editing format, and asking me that question means there's somewhere in this week's video that I failed to strongly make that point. :-) I'm pretty sure I said "h.264 was never designed for editing?" 

    "Norman AVC" (the Handbrake settings I specifically gave) have been hand-rolled and thoroughly tested by @NormanPCN and performs about as well as mp4/h.264 can, but any of the big 3 edit codecs (ProRes, DNxHD, Cineform) will perform faster in Hitfilm, but will have larger file sizes. 

    If you're in Pro 2017 (I think you are) on Windows I would recommend Cineform AVI for best performance, on Mac, ProRes MOV. 

    If disc space is tight (like if you've only got a 256GB SSD) then you might need Norman AVC just to save the drive space. 

    Of the software tools covered, I would say any of them are good. I covered those tools because I think they all work well, they're all cross platform, and all free (with the exception of Vegas, which is paid and Windows-only). 

    If you're going to stick with Norman AVC use Handbrake--it's the best/fastest tool for h.264 transcoding. For Cineform I'd recommend GoPro Studio. For DNxHD or Cineform I'd recommend MPEG Streamclip. The key thing for cell footage is to remember to force a constant frame rate so you don't have synch issues. Oddly enough footage from my old Galaxy S1 and S3 had much worse synch issues than my Galaxy S5.

    I use Vegas Pro for all my transcoding, but, obviously I already own Vegas, and have the required plug-ins to set up full batch processing. 

  • Thanks @Triem23

    I don't think you said that mp4 is bad for editing. I might have missed it. Nevermind, I didn't realize that mp4 is the same as mpeg-4.

    I have a 2 terabyte hardrive, not ssd, so would cineform be a good choice? 

  • Certainly recommend Cineform. 

    DNxHD and Prores are going to be larger files generally, but they scrub on the timeline very well.  Next best thing is Cineform, IMHO.


  • @triem23 took me several attempts to get through this one, but worth the watch. I kind of knew some of the stuff at the begining and have used some of those tools but the Mediainfo tool is a great tool that I did not know, and I will now include that into my project workflow. Nice work.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @Andy001z Thanks! I actually heard of Mediainfo from either @Aladdin4d or @Stargazer54 (I think Aladdin), and it's actually been brought up often when diagnosing footage issues, but I guess it didn't "stick" until you saw it?

    I know, they're long, but I have a dilemma--I don't want to set a precedent of two videos a week (I'll be out of town for a month later in the year, and my wife and I are in beginning preparations to move). Releasing two or more vids on the same day, well... Youtube doesn't like that as far as actually telling subscribers. Splitting them actually is more work as I'd have to re-group to information flow and record more intros/outros... But I don't want to take a year to just get through basics (If I split everything into ten-15 minute segments, then the series wouldn't get to what's already been covered until June).

    So I'm gonna keep up the long-form format, at least for the "Essential" series. Once we get past basics and conceptual stuff and things get in-depth on specific features, I anticipate things getting shorter. :-)

    (Although, with all that said, The current tutorial breakdown for the 3D Models is four or five episodes, and the  Particle Sim is six or seven episodes, but those are probably the most complex and powerful tools in Hitfilm)

  • @Triem23 well I don't mind them long, you have provided the timecodes, and after all you don't go to University for a 5 min lecture you go for the detail to grow and expand your knowledge, and I think so far you have hit those marks.

  • @Triem23 Well done sir!  I think I understand your thought process now.  Hope you get to take a breather.

  • @ZCC_Productions "I don't think you said that mp4 is bad for editing. I might have missed it. Nevermind, I didn't realize that mp4 is the same as mpeg-4."

    Rewatch the Hitfilm University tutorial. MP4 is a container and can contain many types of video codecs. Goto the section talking about containers and codecs. These days, nearly all the times an MP4 file contains AVC/H.264 video which is one if the higher overhead video codecs out there. This is not always the case, Sony XDCAM EX cameras output MP4 which uses MPEg-2 video and MPEG2 is one of the lowest overhead codecs out there.

    mp4 is not strictly the same as MPEG-4. The MP4 file format is one item within the MPEG-4 specification. In addition to the file format, the MPEG-4 spec actually lists multiple video codecs and AVC(H.264) is one of them. The others, like ASP, are not used much anymore and they were normally placed in MP4 files.

    The bottom line is that the file formats (MP4, MOV, AVI) do not tell you what is going on inside the file. They are all generic containers. This is why a tool like MediaInfo (free) is so useful. It tells us all the gory details about what is going in inside a video file.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @NormanPCN in that same tutorial I mentioned 3gpp4 files in mp4 containers cuz we had one pop up! New one on me... I'd seen 3gp files, not 3gp in MP4. 

  • @Triem23 I remember 3GP files from way back. So old I've never looked at one once I started playing with video. A quick Google shows 3gp is using MPEG2 Part2. Stuff I have seen in MP4 was ASP which is MPEG4 part 2 as well. Only the odd download from somewhere came up like that. Probably more common in AVI via Xvid libraries.

    Very recently I did play with using ffmpeg to generate ASP in MP4 as a test for transcoding for use in Hitfilm. It is low(er) overhead, smaller files, but the Mainconcept decoder really craps out with multiple media streams so SOL.

  • Aladdin4dAladdin4d Moderator

    3GP4 is 3GP release 4. It's an ISO Base Media File Format so it's another container format.

  • ...a container and from looking at a single file, pretty much identical to MP4. I'm sure it has extensions/features unique to it's own specific spec.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Ok, looks like I'm moving to a Saturday release date for now.

    I quit one of my jobs in November, and the person who replaced me also left, so I agreed to come back and train a replacement. Unfortunately, this is Wednesday and Thursday nights--my Hit-U editing days.

    Unfortunately, none of the people I was supposed to train actually bothered to show the hell up, so I've been stuck working the nights.

    Until this situation is resolved, I'm just going to have to do Saturday releases.

  • @Triem23  I cannot imagine anyone will begrudge you an extra day!   Hey, for all the learning I'm getting from your Univeristy, I would overlook a two week post schedule...but I hope you don't take me up on that...  

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator
    edited March 2017

    Essential Hitfilm 08 - Understanding Compositing (Maps, Mattes, Masks and Keys)

    Compositing is Hitfilm’s real strength. Mattes, Masks and Keys are the basic tools of compositing. They’re all Opacity Maps, and understanding maps is the key to so much more…


    Recorded in Hitfilm Pro 2017, this tutorial is accurate for all versions of Hitfilm as well as any any digital arts package.


    00:00 - Intro

    00:22 - What is Compositing?

    01:38 - Raster vs Vector Images

    05:50 - It’s all Dots…

    08:31 - Dots are all Channels…

    09:42 - Channels make Maps…

    14:40 - Maps, Mattes, Masks and Keys

    15:37 - Masking Tools

    36:49 - Set Matte Effect

    48:31 - Keying Overview

  • edited March 2017

     @20:22 Rectangular tool does do something whatever you've got selected: It creates another Mask.  Might not be what you wanted to do to the original Mask though. ;)

    Mask Rounding is interestingly "quirky". Round something and then move the Mask with a couple of Path Keyframes and it wobbles about like a jellyfish. Also Matte Cleaning on Rounded Masks gets a little freaked out.

    @21:00 You didn't mention ALT-Drag on a corner to rotate a mask. Shame they forgot to implement CTRL-Drag for single corner expansion for mask, which was added for planes in HFP2017 (Not documented, but something I requested). Maybe that's coming in Update #4?

    @23:00 I  don't get the (/) symbol. Just having the plane selected immediately starts to create an eliptical mask. You got that because you had nothing selected, so @23:10 is not correct.

    @23:46 Actually holding down ALT when creating a Mask expands it from the centre of the point you started at rather than you just dragging a corner. Release and Hold ALT (and drag a bit to wake it up) to see it flip between the two modes after you start dragging. ALT also rotates afterwards, as mentioned above.
    SHIFT+ALT creates a circle/square mask around the centre point.

    @24:09 That's also useful, but you forgot to mention you can SHIFT, CTRL or ALT-click to select multiple points and drag them around together. Would be nicer/quicker to be able to drag a selection box around several, as in mocha, but maybe in Update #4 too?

    @24:44 I never noticed that Invert checkbox that does exactly the same as (is linked to...) the little 'Invert' button next to the Blend mode (which you don't mention?). It's not even Keyframable, so I wonder why it exists at all?

    @29:05...or just the layer itself.

    @30:15...or just the layer itself.

    @31:30 Yes, and move them too. While you're refining, you could also have added extra points by clicking on a line between two points. You did show the menu with Delete on it earlier.

    @40:00 So How does Set Matte >Matte Source work?

    @40:54 Did you have a tiny stroke? :)

    @41:09 Would we? Why? Was there supposed to be a bit where you added an Opacity Fade to the Fractal Wipe while you were having your stroke?

    @41:30 Oh, OK, it does that. That's new news?

    @41:40 ...or Add a Grade Layer and point to that if you prefer to be able to see what you are doing.

    @44:35 Oh, Surprises! I love surprises. Oh wait. Except in tutorials. :D

    @46:00 Ok, you "answered" my question from @40:00 but...Hmmm.

    @48:24 Ah, yes, that would be a good image to use... ;)

    @54:50 Don't know why you struggled with the difference key after you removed the light. It will 100% remove the image and create a perfect mask if you have an artificially created composite shot type difference layer with all the sliders set to 0, because those are the only different pixels. With real video you need to increase the threshold a bit, as no two frames compress exactly the same and the noise in the pixels around the shape caused by the compression means 0 won't work. It usually does work well for me on even quite flaky shots though.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @Palacono two of your notes I "cheated." I know layer auto selection with the cursor is wonky, so that's why I kept saying "make sure the mask is selected..." to avoid "... Maybe not what you wanted to do."

    I actually didn't know Alt+Drag rotated a mask. I learned something! 

    Alt+Drag to draw from center--mentally I thought that. It refused to work for me. You didn't see the two minutes of screen capture I cut of that failing before I said "Holding down Ctrl/Alt does nothing."

  • edited March 2017

    Alt-Drag rotates Planes too... ;)

    Hold down ALT after you start dragging to see the mask's shape change.


    Go back and reread. I only just stopped adding notes. ;)

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @Palacono good to know! 

  •  No permanent damage from the mini-stroke @40:54 then? ;)

  • Essential Hitfilm 08 is a great tutorial, especially the theory part in the beginning. Very informative! Thanks for all of your hard work on it.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @Palacono hah! It's a bad edit. I cut the end of the sentence I was trimming, which was redundant ("Inverting the layer inverts the selected area." Yeah, yeah, I've said that ten times already). 

    I also didn't catch the "Keying Overview" chapter title somehow shifting 12 seconds early... 

    New edit method this week, too. Changed up the keybinding on my MMO Mouse (so adjusting things, building new workflow/muscle memory). And I need to replace my Contour Shuttle Pro. If I can readjust myself to put the shuttle Pro on my LEFT...

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @HitfilmSensei I suspect a future format shift where I do more on-camera. Didn't wanna, but the bitch of the edit is filling up the lectures with visuals. That didn't gel till Episode 7, but it's long... hours... (wanna have fun? Note the times/dates of first/last cuts between chapter subtitles. Ok, that's not fun....). 

    Anyways, just being on camera, doing typical (hands always moving) talking stuff? No one would miss the infotext much. 

    And its faster. 

    Nothing in my house has a background I would want. *shrug*

    Soon we get out of long background lectures and into focus on a single tool or concept... 

  • @Triem23 I noticed the time changes on the bottom as I was watching. It looks like you spent close to four hours just filming the episode (which is about right for 55 minutes of a final video).  That's a lot of editing! I would guess you spent a total of about ten to fifteen hours of work on this video, assuming that things went well and you didn't have a catastrophe of some sort happen. On top of that, you also did another excellent video on Caustics for the Official Hitfilm Channel! The question is, do you ever sleep? :)

    Again, and I am sure I speak for everyone, thanks for all of your hard work.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @HitfilmSensei not enough, this week. 

    Estimate is off as A) VO recording of the lectures isn't in screen capture time code, but that goes fast. B) putting the images over the lecture... Ow. C) "hurry up and wait" time of waiting for transcodes. :-) 

    Caustics needed the love. 

  • @Triem23 I forgot about transcode times. Those can be a one-to-one time frame. That really adds up. If I have a long set of videos, I will batch it overnight. Its nice that Handbrake can batch out whole folders!

    The caustics video was great! I am planning on rewatching it and actually playing around with it a little today. The problem is that I am also going to film and finish a couple of more tutorials as well, so that will cut into my play time.

  • edited March 2017

    Hey, you actually did a smiley correctly....accidentally. 

    Your B )  (with no gap) was interpreted as B)    :D (that one was on purpose)

    For a good combination of 'on camera' with charts etc. watch some of Tobias' stuff over on his Surfaced Studio channel. Also Green screen background?

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

     Yeah, Murphy's Law likes to give me the ironic finger....

    It should be noted that the only times I have hard drive failure is when trying to be a good little user and actually make certain I have multiple backups. So--while having backup drives A and B attached to the computer and making certain everything was nice and synchronized, backup drives A and B and the PC's Library/Work drive seem to have simultaneously failed.

    It looks like I managed to recover all my data between working with the three drives, but now I have to swap out the PC's drive and put all the data back where it should go.

    Next week is a big one. How to Animate EVERYTHING.

    In the meantime, here's me rendering a temp animation to my Windows drive.


  •  What would you do without the Neon Glow Effect? :)

    Three drives failing simultaneously is very odd. How did they fail? And what software are you using to back things up?

This discussion has been closed.