Freeze Frame

I was wondering if there is a way to freeze a frame in Hitfilm


  • make a single image of your video (in the upper left side "Option") use: "Export: saves a high quality PNG of the current frame." then cut the video in two parts and import this png between the video. now your video is freezing.

  • edited February 2017

    Duplicate your video, cut it at the point you want to freeze it and discard the section before. Put that duplicate in its own Composite shot. Add the Speed Effect and set it to 0.0. That now acts as a Frozen 'frame' which you can use back in the original composite, which you can use as required.

    Advantage is: no AntiAliasing is applied , as is the case when you save anything as a PNG, so it won't suddenly jump from sharp (video) to soft (PNG) and back to sharp (video) again.

  • edited February 2017

    Yes, that's the export frame option, which is fine if you don't mind the degradation in quality, or if you think your audience won't spot it, but I prefer the frozen frame to look identical to the rest of the video.

    The frozen embedded composite shot acts just like an exported/reimported frame, so nothing else changes in how you can treat it, it's just a better alternative IMO.

  • Sounds good for me. I have to give it a try. 

  • I performed the method @Palacono suggested, and the frozen part was extremely laggy and made HitFilm to use all available CPU when playing it in the editor. I dunno what does it, but it's irritating when checking the timing of the tracks.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator
    edited April 2017

    @DannyDonkey the "frozen" composite shot is very processor intensive as its telling Hitfilm to decode a frame (and if your footage is mp4/h.264 this means Hitfilm has to decode many frames to do this) hold it and drop it. For every single frame of your timeline. Exporting/re-importing a PNG is a lot faster to work with. 

    Proxy the frozen comp. That will speed things up. 

  • edited April 2017

    @DannyDonkey I haven't found it slowed at all when I did it, so is anything else also happening on the frozen frame? Effects? Layers? Keying? But the proxy suggestion will definitely speed thing up anyway. Away from PC for a few days, but will check this out next time I'm near one.

  • @Palacono No, nothing else but an additional audio track which plays along with the video footage. The frozen frames are the only part of that causes more than 5% CPU usage, and it goes all up to 100%. I thought I had a decent CPU, but apparently I don't.

    @Triem23 Thanks for the explanation and the advice, will try to proxy the part.

  • Sorry for the thread resurrection, but I'd like some input from as many as are willing to revisit this topic.

    I recently scripted a new Quick Tip video concept talking about how it's possible to use Speed/Duration as an alternate way of generating freeze frames instead of the frame-export method.  While searching the forum to see if this has already been discussed, I found this thread.  Testing the suggestion from @Palacono , though, didn't work for me.  Setting the speed to 0.0 has no effect at all.  The clip remains playing at full speed.

    The method I propose is a little simpler. No comp embedding needed.  First I isolate the single frame I want to freeze by cutting the clip on either side of it.  Then after right-clicking on this frame and choosing Speed/Duration, I do one of two things:

    1. If I don't know exactly how long I want to freeze the frame, I set the Speed value to 0.01%.  This makes that one-frame sub-clip last super long (6:56:16 at 24fps).  From there I trim the clip to the length I want.  If I need to tweak its length further, I can grab the ends and manually change its length.  Unless I somehow want to freeze for longer than 6:56:16, I know I'll never encounter other frames from the full-speed clip.
    2. If I know the exact length I want for the freeze, I set this length in the Duration field.  However, if I later want to extend the length, I need to go back into Speed/Duration, or else I might get surrounding frames added to my freeze.

    I thought this was a fairly flawless solution until I read some of the comments above about high CPU usage.  However, I haven't experienced such a CPU drain in my tests.  If I were applying this freeze trick to a comp that contained multiple layers and effects, I could see this becoming a problem, but on a single video layer I don't see this being an issue.  Am I missing something?


  • @jsbarrett I don't know why Speed 0.0 doesn't work for you. Still works for me.  I have the effect saved as the Preset 'Freeze' and that works, as does just applying Speed and setting the speed - in case something had changed recently and the Preset was still using an 'old' method. But that works too.

    So if it doesn't work for you: something's wrong somewhere. The rate stretch method works too. I started using the freeze effect back when there was no rate stretch option.

  • Hmmm...well, in Express 2017 on the Mac, the 0.0 speed doesn't do anything.  Maybe it's one of those minor platform differences.

    Still my ultimate question is this: is there truly a CPU hit by using this technique?  I haven't seen one, but if there's enough evidence, I'll scrap the video plan and move on to something else.  I'd rather not promote a bad idea.

  • Just tried the 0.0 speed in the new Pro.  Still nothing.  More evidence that it's a platform difference (if I'm remembering correctly that you're on Windows?)

  • @jsbarrett I use the Rate Stretch Tool. So I go to the frame that I want to freeze and slice. Move forward one frame and slice again. Then, after deleting the excess (or at least moving it), I use the rate stretch tool to expand the frame keeping it frozen.

  • @HitfilmSensei So that's two plugs for rate stretch (forgot to thank @Palacono for that tip as well).  Still no more info on the alleged CPU drain. Hmmm...

  • I tried freezing it with the speed effect, and it didn't work for me in the editor timeline. I tried it in a composite shot, and it works perfectly! I'm on a PC.

  • edited December 2017

    @jsbarrett ; @HitfilmSensei I'm on a PC, I always used Speed: 0.0 in a Comp, but it also works on the Editor timeline.  Just tried it with both in HFE2017 and HFP2018.

    Noticed you can also set negative speeds, so you can do 'ping pong' loops with Constant Keyframes.  Never tried it before, but might now. :)

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