HitFilm Pro - Structured training, anything available?

Hey everyone,  I've signed up on Udemy for structured Blender training to figure out my 3D Printer and loving it. We are starting to make some great models now. It has me wondering if there is a good place to learn the new HitFilm Pro (which I just purchased another year) that is structured training?  As in when and why to use a comp or when to used nested comps and all those other smart methods?

I've been playing for some time now but it seems each time I try something the next time I find a better way to do something. Quick Youtube is great too for fast education but not always the most efficient method. Is there a formal online class to learn why to do something a certain way? I did see on Lynda.com they have HitFilm Pro 3 but that's a bit dated.



  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator
    edited January 5

    Other than the Lynda course, the closest thing I can think of is my own Hitfilm University YouTube channel. That started in Hitfilm 2017, but starts from the ground up with the interface through all the different things one can import/export, etc, basic editing, audio, principles of compositing  etc. The first camera tutorial covers two methods of matching Hitfilm's camera to a real world camera, and I don't think anyone else has discussed this other than a long-absent forum member, Mark_E, who figured out a useful equation I shared. 

    The current series is partially obsolete (Export Queue, Text and Masks in particular have all changed since I covered them), but the entire series is about to reboot with the *ahem* next iteration of Hitfilm.

    Essential Hitfilm: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLgfiM46Y0Ue0sk4ACtkEy9TPWO6JbgD79

    Additionally  in the playlist section I have playlists for tutorials from another three dozen channels, or so, so you can find other great channels to subscribe to. 

    That said, I think Hit-U is unique on YouTube in its structure as a ground up tutorial on the software rather than skipping around to the effect or tip of the week. I always say the Hit-U videos will make it easier to follow everyone's else's tutorials.

    EDIT: there are some UDEMY courses on Hitfilm. I've not looked at them myself, but they exist.

    There was a good course done a few years ago on one of the online universities. Mostly aimed at compositing, but well structured. @AxelWilkinson I don't remember the site, but I'm certain you will? 

  •  Aside from the Hit-U series, Tobias over at Surfaced Studio did a one hour long "Complete Beginners Guide" to HitFilm Express. It was done in Version 5 (HitFilm Express 2017), so some of the stuff will be out of date. Most of it, however, still applies, and it is really a great place to start!


  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @FilmSensei agreed. I should have remembered that one. 

    @brode the video FilmSensei linked is the best quick (under an hour) Hitfilm walk though I can think of. Do his first for the quick overview, mine to start delving deep. 

  • Hey everyone,

    Thanks for the responses.  There are a number of really good sites out there and you all provided some nice ones. But I did note they fall short on structure on "why and when" you do something. Like when and why you need to comp a shot so that it processes better into another shot. Seems everyone misses that key piece to understand a better workflow. I struggled for hours to know when to track and then correct a scene or correct then comp and finally track; as in which one to do first since Hitfilm does seem to have a best order you should do them in. Not a complaint, just trying to learn the correct way.

    I've been using Hitfilm for a number of months now but I do run into a number of times when you have to do a certain thing first before this thing in order to get the results I need. Repeating work because you don't know the flow is not good. Which was the reason for the question.

    I'm sure I'm not the first to run into this and started to look for a well structure course like I found on UDemy for Blender. Was hoping there was something already out there and a little more updated.

    I did see just yesterday that Surfaced Studio is doing a Udemy course on Hitfilm, complete workflow. It's coming which is nice so can't wait for it.

    Thanks everyone.

  • @brode From my experience, the kind of order-of-operations instruction you're seeking comes less through specific instruction and more through experience, and understanding how different tools and features affect each other. It's hard to say something like "You should always X before you Y," when there may be some cases where it may be best to do Y before X. It all depends on the situation, and learning to read each situation and evaluate the best approach for that situation is just as important as learning the specific tools and features of the program.

    You only say you've been using HitFilm for "a number of months," so I'm going to assume that's less than a year. When I was roughly at that point, I couldn't tell you much about comps at all. It took a lot of testing and reading forum threads and watching tutorials over a much longer stretch of time before I got to the point where I could look at a given problem and know pretty confidently how to solve it, and even now there are little nuances I pick up by seeing how others do things.

  • @brode I am just curious which UDemy course on Blender have you done? I have done a couple of them myself.

  • edited January 16

    @FilmSensei ; FWIW, I have started a number of Blender Udemy courses and got through a couple only to find out the instructor updated them and added lessons..  Never a bad thing.

    Here's a list:

    Udemy courses
    In various stages of progress:

     Blender for VFX - Learn to add realistic CGI into footage
    Bhaumik Patel, Experienced 3d artist and instructor   41% Complete

     Creating 3D environments in Blender Rob Tuytel, Founder Blenderpedia 35% Complete

     Learn Blender 3D - The application of materials and textures.  Joe Baily, 3D Artist, qualified teacher and coach
     98% Complete

     Blender 3D - Fire and Smoke Simulation Complete Guide
    Stephen Pearson, Blender Made Easy 11% Complete

     Blender 3D - Fluid Simulation Guide Stephen Pearson, Blender Made Easy 98% Complete

     Blender 3D Rigid Body Simulation Guide Stephen Pearson, Blender Made Easy
    96% Complete

    Bought but not got to yet:

     Blender 3D Soft Body Physics Simulation Guide  Stephen Pearson, Blender Made Easy

     Blender 3D Beginners Guide to the Particle System  Stephen Pearson, Blender Made Easy

     Blender 3D - The Cloth Simulation Guide Stephen Pearson, Blender Made Easy

     Complete Blender Creator: Learn 3D Modelling for Beginners. Ben Tristem, GameDev.tv Founder

     Learn Blender 3D - The asset creation course V2  Joe Baily, 3D Artist, qualified teacher and coach

    I really like the Pearson kid's videos cause they are easy for my old brain to take in.  I've really got to get back to them but currently wrapped up in CG COOKIE training :)

    But I would definitely sign up for Hitfilm Udemy course as the OP  @brode was discussing...especially my weak areas of tracking and particles.  Some understanding there is long overdue for me.


  • @FilmSensei  - I'm currently taking Ben's Complete Blender Creator course on Udemy and loving it. I've also enrolled in Blender CGI and Fire and Water simulations. I really wish there was a structure course like this for HitFilm. I do love it and will continue to use it. Just renewed my first year.

    Just I know from comments above that you need to play to understand it.  That's a sign something has gotten old enough that it's time for formal education on it. Like Adobe has now. I remember in Photoshop 1.0 it was play to find out how to use it and now there are lots of classes on it. When a program gets old enough and strong enough there is a need for training to improve and get a wider user base. Hitfilm is old enough and strong enough for formal classes from what I see. Again not complaining, just seeing the needs. On last live stream Javar (I know I spelled that wrong) said he learned it from just reading each tool in the manual and playing. Learned a lot but not the most efficient. Need is there or it would not of come up.

    You know if someone else has played enough with it, then why not teach it on which methods are the best in a 'build a movie' structure. I'd pay for a class like that as I'm sure others would too. Udemy is looking for instructors on new software. (not a spokesperson, just Lynda.com is so expensive, Udemy is better for me and they sent me email asking if I teach, no I don't.)

    Oh and thanks everyone for the links and tips.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    If Tobias is doing an Udemy course, I'm sure it will be fantastic. I don't know if he'll be focusing on workflow over software operation, but his tutorials are excellent.

    The last Hitfilm livestream teased that Simon Jones is working on a new online course, but it remains to be seen if that's comprehensive or will focus on certain tasks. Simon is a guru, so, whatever he posts will be fantastic.

    Hit-U is gearing up for a relaunch. I do have workflow tutorials in the pipeline.

    One things about workflow - there's a lot of "it depends" involved in any kind of video work/software. OFr one thing there is often (even "usually") multiple ways to accomplish a task. Sometimes one method over another will be personal preference, others there is a specific reason to use one method over another. But, "it depends."

    In @brode's initial question he brought up Composite Shots - when to use them, when to nest them, etc. Even this question has a lot of, wait for it, "it depends." Here's the ONLY hard and fast rule about when to use a Composite Shot: If you need 3D animation or are intend on using an effect labeled "[Layer Only]" you must use a Composite Shot.

    Otherwise, advances in Hitfilm development change workflow. Just over a year ago I would say, "If you want to animate ANYTHING you have to use a Composite Shot." Then Hitfilm v6 was released, and from v6 on Hitfilm allowed keyframed animation in the Editor Timeline. Suddenly the question of when to use a Composite Shot got more complex.

    In last week's Livestream Javert noted that the next major Hitfilm release (due this week according to the FXHOME Twitter account) will allow text layers to be created in the Editor Timeline. So, this week, if you want to use a text layer you MUST use a Composite Shot. Next week that rule will be gone.

    So, one can discuss times and reasons one might want to make a Composite Shot (and the Hit-U series does have these discussions at times, including Essential 05 and 08), but there is NOT a series of hard and fast "For X, make a Comp, for Y, nest a Comp" rules, other than needing to use a Comp for 3D work and any effects labeled "[Layer Only.]" Ok, I kind of lie. There are times when a Composite Shot is requires because one needs to "bake in" effects or settings for using something as a "Source Layer" for an effect like Set Matte. But, again, I certainly discussed that in Hit-U.

    Otherwise, there's so much "it depends," you almost need to approach each shot on a case by case basis.

    So, consider this video.


    This is a test shot for something I really should finish some day. I'm using 3D models in a 3D space and I'm using Camera Projection which is a "Layer Only" effect, so I had to create this in a Composite Shot. OK, fine. However, I initially created this entire thing in a single Composite Shot - all the projector planes making the set, all the 3D models for the Daleks, the additional models on the floor (the light posts) and the shadow catchers for all the models. The "screens" on the walls were blank. I did this because, well, I could, and I had every element together in the same 3D space. I did several iterations of the Dalek animation and the camera moves, I tried a couple different iterations of the lighting, moving all those around.

    BUT - 3D Projection is resource intensive, and I had something like 18 projector planes, three Dalek models, another 12 light posts, and close to 30 3D lights in the scene. Eventually, once I knew I wasn't going to change the camera movement, I went ahead and moved all the projection layers into a nested Composite Shot. Why? SO I could pre-render the background plate and continue to refine the Dalek movement without waiting for the background. Please note that means I worked on this shot for probably 12-20 hours BEFORE I suddenly started nesting Composites. Eventually I nested the Shadow Catcher plane as well. I honestly don't know why I did that, because, looking back three years later, I can't see any valid reason to do so! I suppose the "Nesting Rule" here would be "If it's something you know you're not gonna mess with again, and it's behind everything else in the scene and you can get a performance boost by pre-rendering the elements, go ahead and nest it" but there are three "it depends" in that "rule." And, except for the "video feedback" on the wall screens, nothing REQUIRED a nested comp.

    Later, much later, I decided to put images in the wall screens. That required some nesting, but, only because I wanted two wall screens to be showing what the main camera was showing. Basically I had to render the scene, place it in the wall screens, re-render the scene, re-insert the wall screens, render AGAIN, re-insert the wall screens again.... If anyone has a better way to do "video feedback," I'm listening! THis was still close to 30 hours in the shot where I did something that absolutely required a nested composite, and that was because I wanted the main scene reproduced on the wall screens. If I hadn't tried for that effect i could have left the entire thing as a single unified comp forever!

    This video, on the other hand:


    Is all one single composite shot. There are things I COULD have nested to convert all my background elements into one single enviroment map layer, but the background nebula, planets and stars were so simple for Hitfilm to deal with compared to the massive particle sim, there was no point.

    and THIS video:


    Used one Composite Shot because, in Hitfilm 4 Text required a Composite Shot. If this had been assembled at any time after November 2018 I would have used the Text Effect and not needed any Composites at all.

  •  @tddavis

    Wow! It looks like you have done a lot of Blender courses, mostly soft body stuff. I have used Blender in some capcity for years, but recently in using Blender to make models for HitFilm. I have mostly completed the "Complete Blender Creator" course by Ben Tristem and fully completed the "Game Asset Crash Course" by Tim Trankle. I am now working through the "Advanced Prop Modeling" course by Concept Courses.

    A lot of stuff has changed (mostly for the better!) in Blender due to the 2.8 update. It may be time to roll out a beginners instructional course for HitFilm users who have never used Blender (or who tried it once and quickly abandoned the idea after seeing the complex interface).

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @FilmSensei well, I think that's the purview of @spydurhank!

  • edited January 21

    @FilmSensei @Triem23 ; Keep in mind a number of those I haven't started yet. :)  I would love to see a series of tuts by @spydurhank but I suspect his plate is overflowing with the build he has going on and I am waiting to see if he makes that available for others. I love what I'm seeing in his updates...

    I have seen a Youtube series really recently covering Blender 2.8 from one of my subscriptions but I haven't delved too far into it yet. I have been working on a space shuttle launch using Mr. Sorbias' shuttle model that's 2.8 but I down converted it to 2.79 and been modeling a sci fi corridor from a tut that's one of those speed modeling no voice (hard to follow) tuts!  I did go beyond the tut there and made a 4 way hub and used an array with follow path to make a nice curving corridor...still texturing though

  • @Triem23 @tddavis I too am excited for @spydurhank's progress on his Blender / HitFilm project. I will wait to do anything until we see where he goes! In the meantime, I am still out of state working on a business project, but I have been playing around in my free time. How about a fractal decay effect on a Blender model in HitFilm Pro...


    There is a simple cheat in there to make this happen. Unfortunately, I do not have my main HitFilm computer (a desktop). Instead, I have a lousy, low quality laptop to work on, so it can be frustrating.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @FilmSensei did you space out some 3D planes to line up with the model, apply fractal noise to one (with keyframe animation to go from "solid" to "pattern"), nest the embedded comp and use that as a parallax source on the model layer? Just a wild stab here. I do know parallax and caustics can be applied to models. 

  • edited January 21

    @Triem23 Exactly! :) (Only one plane, though)

  • @FilmSensei ; Nice!  Yet again, a use for an effect I would  never think of in a million years.  :)  looks like it has some depth in there too as it shifts a bit at the end.

  • @tddavis It does have depth. The Fractal Plane Comp is 3D and so is the "false" 3D Wood Panel Plane on the back of the Model. The Model, the False Wood Plane and the Fractal Plane Comp are are parented to a single Control Point. As I move the  Point, the Model, Fractal Map, and the Wood Plane all move in the light, creating the 3D effect. I could visualize using this idea to create a dissolving effect on the side of a Space Ship flying around.

  • Wow, thanks for the nice words guys. I've got a bit more progress over on my thread as I had to play catchup because people in Florida like to randomly check to see if their vehicle can stand up to a collision with a pole from a power line.

    Anyway, my code is really pretty good at the moment and I need a few beta testers but all that is really left is to add my HitFilm 3D mesh exporting optimizations, operations and auto grouping helpers to the UI. I think I'd rather add the ops directly to the UI in c/c++ so that they are faster but the only thing about that is, I'd really need and appreciate some input from you guys on where in the UI to place and organize these ops to make it easy for everyoneto find or call up with a click because there is a bunch of stuff that we can automate and the Cycles rendering speed up was just the start. :) 

  • edited January 21

    @spydurhank ; As far as the voice over thing @DafterThings has going on I would be awful at it so I haven't thrown my hat in but for your Blender project, I volunteer as tribute!!! Er, beta tester. :) I would be the semi-noon input. 

    @FilmSensei that was exactly where my mid went your effect as well.  The result of a phaser cannon no doubt...

  • @tddavis I am also a terrible candidate for @DafterThings voice over audition, but that didn't stop me from submitting something anyway! :) The worst thing that can happen is he will say "Who do you think you are? You're terrible!" I'm still waiting for that response. LOL!

    @spydurhank I would also be happy to volunteer as a beta tester, but only if you need someone with a considerably lower knowledge of Blender.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @FilmSensei the basic concept works with 3D Extrusion as well if you set up your point rig correctly. Also Caustics if you're looking for another cool way to create portals. 

    That same rig also lets you set up Atomic Particles as well.

    Nice job. Did you pre-bake your map with grade layer or embedded (pre-rendered) comp shot. 

  • @Triem23 In this project file I pre-comped it, but usually I put it under a grade layer so I can adjust the fractal noise properties to see the changes to the parallaxed asset in real time. I will play with your ideas of using Caustics and Atomic Particles!

    I was thinking about using the built-in Portal Effect as the "impact" asset for a disintegration weapon hitting the side of a space ship before the decay effect begins. So a weapon (Photon Blast Effect or maybe Light Sword?) strikes the ship causing an impact ring (Portal Effect) which evaporates followed by the decay effect all while the ship is moving past the camera. Could look pretty cool!

  • Hey all....looks like things ran past my current abilities but give me some time and I'll try to catch up.  I did want to share something I just found out. Just training related, nothing big like you all are working on.

     Lynda.com is free to library card holders.


    Let me finish this Blender course and I'll get back to best practices on when to nest/comp and apply effects.


  • I wonder how quickly I can move to Ohio...

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