How I'll Use Hitfilm

So, after thrashing about on the forum for a week, I think I've finally figured out a plan for my own situation.   I'm going to take the longer view with Hitfilm.

I'm just not ready to do real work in Hitfilm yet, so I'm going to stop trying to pound the square peg in to the round hole.  Instead, for current projects I've downloaded Adobe Premiere Elements, which seems to be aimed at users who are about where I currently am.

Hopefully, using Elements for current projects will liberate me to take the long view with Hitfilm, and I can use it to gradually advance my education towards becoming a more experienced editor.   If I'm not trying to use Hitfilm for current projects, I won't get all frustrated trying to turn Hitfilm Express in to something that it is not and never will be. 

Hitfilm does seem to be an excellent bargain for experienced video editors, which I hope to be some day.  And there is a wealth of educational material available, such as Hitfilm University, which is where I'm going to start.  So, it's all good, very good, so long as I don't try to rush it.  I know, I know, this is all obvious, but hey, I'm a nube, so it took me a week to figure it out.  :-)

Ideally, a year from now when I'm ready to do real work with Hitfilm the .mov file situation will be sorted out.  If not, learning Hitfilm will still be a good education for me.






  • All the best in your journey :)

  • I know where you are coming from, I started with PE10 a few years ago, but started noticing that things I wanted to do I couldn't, and Hitfilm got recommended to me, so I checked it, if I'm honest at the beginning I would only use hitfilm to do certain things then took it back to PE10.... at the moment I still only have the basic hitfilm, so I the type of file I use it wont upload the sound unless I pay for it, to be fair its not much.... but I just take back to PE10 and edit the sound accordingly...

    I will be buying pro after xmas... which I assume would cure my sound at the same time...

  • I spent yesterday watching vids about PE + PE.   Just finished installing both in trial mode this morning.

    I've been using iMovie 6 HD, which according to Wikipedia was released in January 2006.    Hey, I'm only 11+ years out of date!  :-)  Wow, what a cutting edge guy I am. 

    So PE will be a big leap forward from my experience of iMovie.   I haven't launched either of the PE's yet, but the videos look promising.  Definitely a hobby level app, but with enough features to keep me engaged for awhile. It seems a sure thing that sooner or latter I too will begin to become frustrated by PE's limitations, but I'm not sure yet how exactly that will happen.

    It might be interesting to compare Hitfilm Express to a consumer level video editor like Premiere Elements.   For instance, what limitations of PE do you think I might begin to rebel against first?  What features of Hitfilm pick up where PE leaves off?

    I realize that most of you are too experienced to have bothered with PE specifically, so a general discussion of a comparison between consumer level editors and pro level editors is welcome. 

  • @PhilTanny

    I have used Premiere Elements 13 for over 4 years now and when working on some serious/beefy stuff, PE has some of it's limitations. Things that are better in Hitfilm are:

    • Working with masks
    • Better keyframing
    • Better color correction/grading options
    • Nicer layout (in my opinion)
    • Working and embedding with composite shots

    I actually think that Hitfilm Express is quite easy to learn as a beginner... If you do decide to use Hitfilm, check out my channel for some handy tutorials:

    Also, @HitfilmSensei does some amazing tutorial work...

    Kind regards, Jamie

  • Thanks for your feedback Jamie.  Thanks also for the tutorial links, which I'll be checking out.

    Although I like PE generally and am glad I purchased it, I am coming up against some limitations already.  So far my main complaint is with the motion tracking feature, which I am finding to be mostly worthless, at least for my purposes.  Disappointed, I must admit.    I'll still be investigating Hitfilm in an attempt to overcome this weakness of PE. 

    That said, once I wrapped my head around the keyframe animation process in PE I'm finding it to be a big improvement over what I was doing previously.   It was far easier to learn keyframe animation in PE than Hitfilm, at least for this brain.

    Thus, I'd have to respectfully disagree that Hitfilm is novice friendly.  I think the Hitfilm team has confused "new to Hitfilm" with "new to video editing".   It seems Hitfilm will best serve that person who has mastered PE and become frustrated by it's limitations.  I'll likely be in that group before too long, as I'm already there in regards to motion tracking.

    I'm off to check out your tutorials, thanks again for that.


  • @PhilTanny

    Yeah, I can understand... More basic editing, PE works fine, but when working on compositing things (including tracking), PE has its limitations.
    If you need help with tracking in HF:

    Regards, Jamie

  • Thanks for the tracking vid Jamie, appreciate it.  I haven't attempted to replicate the lesson yet, but I did watch the video and it looks doable.  

    If it interests you, perhaps we could back up a bit and ask a larger question.  Before I invest a lot of time in mastering Hitfilm tracking it would be helpful to know if it can take me where I'm trying to go.

    I seem to be fascinated by face swapping at the moment, which requires a lot more precision than just moving some text across the screen and similar.  I'm curious if you have experience with face swapping, or any other tracking operations which require that level of precision. 

    I can achieve modest results face swapping in PE using regular keyframe  animation, but due to the manual labor involved in tweaking keyframes that process seems limited to short clips.  As example, a minute long clip might take me an  hour.  The results are modest at best because it's rather difficult to achieve the necessary precision required for credible results.  I'm sure my skills will improve over time, but I'm guessing regular keyframe animation will always have limited utility.

    Thus, I'm curious as to the degree I could automate and perfect the process using motion tracking.   I've been researching the subject on YouTube, but so far almost all the videos on face replacements seem to  reference After Effects. 

    Thanks for any comments you or others might have regarding the level of precision available in Hitfilm motion  tracking.  And thanks for your tutorial vids too. 


  • edited September 2017


    I think that should be doable, do you have a link to the after effects video that you want to recreate? I'll take a look if it's able in Hitfilm.

    For advanced tracking (e.g. 3D tracks and camera solves) you'll have to buy the Mocha plugin which costs around $50. It's a good purchase though, as you wouldn't be able to achieve 3D tracks in PE...

  • Hey again Jamie,

    Here's a couple of After Effects face swap vids.   They discuss using both images and videos as the replacement face.

    Here's a similar vid by another fellow.

    Um, sorry, what are 3D tracks and camera solves?  The $50 price tag isn't a problem given the significant sum I'd be saving if I can do this in Hitfilm instead of After Effects.

    Here's a YouTube animation video that can be used to test the tracking accuracy.  The vid shows a bouncing yellow ball.  So for instance, could we put a different colored circle on top of the yellow ball, and get it to precisely track and replace the yellow ball in Hitfilm?    I can't get it to work in PE, but given my inexperience that's probably not a fair test of PE.

    I'll get to work seeing how well I can duplicate what you teach in your tracking tutorial shown above.

    Thanks again!


  • @PhilTanny

    Now the face swap is very simple. They use mocha, but as the heads don't really move in 3d space but more 2d, this can be done for free using my tracking tutorial.
    Just make a 2 point track and when the tracking is done, attach the tracking data to the point. Parent the (cut out) face to the point and voila, the face moves with the body.

    "Um, sorry, what are 3D tracks and camera solves?"

    The normal 1 point and 2 point tracks are only for x and y movement and rotation on those two axis, with a 3d track you can move way more. Now this can be done for free if your camera is locked of, but it's hard (like, CRAZY hard) when the camera is moving.
    A camera solve is when the computer analyzes the video and locates where the camera is inside the shot. It will generate a virtual camera inside Hitfilm, following the exact same movement as the real camear. That way, you can add 3d objects/effects and they will be locked in place just like they would in real life.

    As of tracking accuracy, I took a piece of the video and replaced the yellow ball:

  • Hi again Jamie,

    Ok, I tried to replicate your tracking tutorial in Hitfilm, using the bouncing ball video shown above.   

    - I created the point layer.

    - I put the red tracking box on the yellow ball in video.

    - I kept the defaults of single point and optical flow, as you suggested.

    - Then I clicked the track forward arrow.

    Hitfilm completely loses track of the yellow ball almost immediately. 

    I tried expanding the green tracking box to improve the tracking, as suggested in your vid.  In this case, doesn't seem to help.

    I'm most likely doing something wrong, but so far I  haven't figured out what.   Happy to receive advice from anyone.   Thanks!


  • @PhilTanny

    When Hitfilm loses track, you'll have to reposition the box to where the yellow ball is and press Track Forward again. Remember that tracking doesn't work when the object is half out of frame (which won't work in ANY software), you'll have to keyframe the position.


  • Hi again Jamie,

    Emerging from Irma the hurricane here...

    Thanks for the repositioning tip, I get that now.

    I realized that in the test video I was using the object I was trying to track scaled, which could explain why my single point test failed.  I set up another simpler test, with a solid red ball moving across a solid black background, no scaling.  In this test, Hitfilm tracked perfectly.  So I've got the basics of tracking, and will have to tweak it for each situation.  Thanks for the help.

    The next steps for me seem to be:

    1) How to attach a vid or photo to the object being tracked.

    2) Using double point tracking.

    I checked your channel but didn't see any tutorials on these subjects.  If you would like to share any advice or links, please do, thanks.

    Here's another question if your time permits.

    Say I'm doing a face swap.  Can I connect specific points in both the original face and replacement face?  For example, could I have the left eye on the replacement face track the left eye of the original face?

    If yes, could I set up multiple tracking points connecting the two faces?

    For example...

    Left eye to left eye, right eye to right eye, mouth to mouth, chin to chin etc

    Appreciate it Jamie.  Thanks to you I can now do something useful in Hitfilm!


  • Hey @PhilTanny !

    The next steps for me seem to be:

    1) How to attach a vid or photo to the object being tracked.
    What you want to do is create a new point layer. You can either do that by going to +NEW LAYER or by using Ctrl+Alt+P on windows. In the tracking window at step 2, you want to choose Transform and select your choices (with a 1 point track you can only choose x and y movement). Now, select the point layer you just created and click apply. Now, you have a point that moves with the track you did.
    You can now add the picture or video in the composite shot. Next to the layer name, there should be a dropdown box. Choose the point layer and your footage moves with it.

    2) Using double point tracking.
    Double point tracking works almost the same as 1 point tracking, however, you need 2 points that are visible througout the clip you're working with. Just apply the tracker boxes and click Track Forward. When you're done, you can create a new point layer and apply the tracked motion to it, now you can also choose Scale and Rotation. Basically, you can do more with a 2 point track.

    Say I'm doing a face swap.  Can I connect specific points in both the original face and replacement face?  For example, could I have the left eye on the replacement face track the left eye of the original face?
    Left eye to left eye, right eye to right eye, mouth to mouth, chin to chin etc.
    I'm afraid that the last thing is a bit trickier. What you can do is make a two point track on the eyes and add the motion to a point. When adding the face to the point (this action is called Parenting a layer) it should move with the original face.

    I hope I answered your questions.


  • Hi again Jamie,

    You've been very helpful, thanks again for that.

    I think I've  got the gist of basic tracking now, I just need to do it a bunch so it becomes 2nd nature.  I'm not sure how well this will work for face swapping yet, so I'll try a number of them to find out.

    If you ever get in to face swapping, be sure to let us know.  Google searches for "hitfilm face swap" don't bring up much, so there may still be time for you to become the world's leading Hitfilm face swapper.  :-)  Should you ever go that way, check out CrazyTalk software.  It's great for turning face photos in to face videos.

    How does this summary align with your understanding?

    1) Premiere Elements - single point tracking

    2) Hitfilm - Single and double point tracking

    3) After Effects - Many point tracking

    Is that the ladder I'm climbing?

    Have a great day!



  • @PhilTanny

    I think you got it. Indeed, just do it a bunch to learn it.

    And who knows? Maybe I'll make a tutorial for it in the future... Currently I'm busy working on another series though...

    As of software, I think you got it quite right. However, the tracking of AE can also be done in Hitfilm Pro or in Express with the $50 Mocha add on.

    Regards and best of luck with your editing journey, Jamie

  • >>>However, the tracking of AE can also be done in Hitfilm Pro or in Express with the $50 Mocha add on.<<<

    Thanks for the reminder, I'd forgotten already.  I'm off to learn about Mocha, it sounds like that's where I'm headed.

  • Note Mocha's planar tracking is a completely different beast from point tracking. 

    A free option for full 3D point tracking is Autodesk Matchmover. From Autodesk Matchmover one would export to an ".ma" file then use the Import Camera Data function in Hitfilm to bring in the track points. 

  • Thanks Triem,

    For the benefits of any other nubes who may come along, here's a video which introduces Mocha's planer tracking.

  • Another helpful introduction to Mocha Hitfilm...

  • If linking mocha TUTs. @Triem23 started a thread once listing various locations with such TUTs.

  • Aha, thanks Norman.

  • A set of 'Getting Started' Tutorials can be found here:

  •  The mocha Youtube channel has those as well. In a different playlist. I had a link to the Hitfilm based TUTs playlist.

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