Thoughts on light mode

Hello. Firstly, I'd like to address new users:

I've been a loyal user of HitFilm Express for a while now, and I frankly think it is ridiculous (in a good way) that all these features are free to use with no catch. Currently I am unable to pay for the software but as soon as I am, I will certainly contribute because I owe a lot to them.

Unfortunately, I cannot recommend HitFilm Express for videos longer than 10 minutes in length. I would beg of you to try out the software to see if this applies to you, but with about 80% of people I have spoken to, the Light Theme is extremely irritating if used for long periods of time. What I recommend is increasing the size of the viewer so that the menus are not as bright. Also, use HitFilm for VFX Shots or quick edits, but avoid working on long videos because your eyes will likely get dazzled.

Alternatively, if you're looking for a simple editor without too many features, I recommend WonderShare Filmora (who ironically have the same dev team as HitFilm)

Now, for addressing the HitFilm team:

Like I said, the value for money is fantastic and I will contribute to the software in future regardless of which direction the company goes in. Unfortunately I cannot support continually recommending the current direction. I witnessed this on my server a couple of days ago, and it saddens me 

 

 

 

I have found numerous examples of potential new customers uninstalling their copies of HitFilm Express before having a chance to explore the software.

From my point of view, when you release software for editing, you would want to concentrate on the footage without distraction, Having a light theme as default would therefore only suggest one possible reason: irritating the user. I feel ashamed writing this, but I feel it is necessary. This to me looks like a desperate bid to force users to pay up to keep the software and the company going.
Now, having followed the team, you seem completely incapable of doing such a thing. And I think you haven't; as you have made clear to other forum users you are trying to get people to consider purchasing something, because many are taking the treasure without giving anything back. I completely understand this, but remember, new customers won't. New customers will see this as an aggressive corporate move, and not want to get involved at all. Quite frankly I'm now embarrassed to recommend HitFilm, saying it's "heartless" and is "extremely friendly" with its customers; people either think I'm being sarcastic or work out that this is a recent move and want out regardless. Let me make this clear: I absolutely understand you have every right as a company to do what you want with your product. Take this as a recommendation rather than a complaint. The total revenue is obviously going to drop (since this is aimed at new customers, and new customers are dropping out). Instead, I suggest adding a splash screen to existing customers' copies, saying:

"Thank you for using and supporting HitFilm Express. Hitfilm Express is free software, but to continue providing users this experience we humbly ask you purchasing some of the add-on packs to support development. A percentage of the money you donate will go towards charities....", etc.

A percentage of the existing 5 Million users purchasing add-ons is going to make much more money than a slither of new customers.

And finally, I address existing users:

Please, if possible, help stop this from happening by purchasing some of the add-on packs. Part of the reason this is happening is because we haven't been giving enough in return,

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I know I am just a regular user, 1 in 5 million, but hopefully enough of us can be constructive enough to make a change. If you made it to the end of this post, thank you for reading it.

Comments

  • Hi the editor you mention 'WonderShare Filmora' is not free not a fair apples for eggs example.

    Hope you find what you are seeking.

  • Hi @highspeedkiwis, thanks for taking the time to write out your thoughts. It’s clear you’re very passionate about the company, given how much time and effort you put into your post. 

    There are a few things that I’d like to point out - firstly, that we don’t have the same dev team as ‘Filmora’. ‘Filmora’ is a Wondershare product, built by their in-house development team. It is $69.99 for a lifetime license (their ‘free download’ is just a demo) - HitFilm Express is completely free if you want it to be.

    (You might have gotten confused because we share knowledge with the Wondershare team on ‘Filmora Pro’ - but this is an entirely different product and one they charge much more for at $149) 

    I understand that you dislike the light mode for HitFilm Express, and of course, you’re absolutely entitled to like or dislike any element of our product offering. If you’ve been a loyal user of HitFilm Express (as you said) i.e. before Express 14, you got to keep your dark mode (as older users never lost their ability to use it), you just need to follow a few steps. If you’re unsure of how to do this, please contact support

    The reason we offer options is that HitFilm Express is free to the masses and our add-on sales have never amounted to enough to make the product viable, even with 5 million users. We have to pay fees on every download of HitFilm Express which, while it was only free, meant the company 'lost out' the more popular it was. But we were happy to do this because it’s an important part of what we stand for as a company (making all tools as accessible as we can). 

    Pay what you want is our way to make sure we could keep providing this software to people who couldn’t afford it, by pooling the fantastic generosity of the rest of our users and offering exclusive features for people to enjoy. We slashed the prices of our powerful (and therefore more expensive) add-on packs for Express users coming on board and, to boot, we’ve raised $100,000 for charity through this scheme since mid-January. As you mentioned, the dark mode can be unlocked with a small $9 payment if a user really prefers it, and while our users who dislike light mode are vocal, they are few.

    As for our new users and revenue dropping (as you commented), HitFilm Express now actually has more new installations and is being used more than ever since light mode. We have more new users coming on right now, and we’re really positive about the future of the free software and the difference we can make to the world with our community. 

    Hopefully, you have overlooked that your older version of Express entitles you to dark mode - but if not, I’m aware that this post won’t affect your personal thoughts on the matter. You don’t want to use the light mode and won’t recommend it to others for that reason. I completely understand, though please know that we get very few recommendations or complaints about it when compared to the number of users downloading every day.

    Your thoughts have been duly noted of course, and we will bear all of this in mind going forward with any business decisions we make. Thanks again!

  • edited June 29

    Thank you for taking the time to reply to my post and noting my comments. As I mentioned I've been using the software for a long time so I have the dark theme, which I use the most.  And about the Wondershare mix-up, it seems I do get a bit muddled with the facts, I apologise.
    I am also delighted to hear of the $100, 000 raised for charity and congratulate you. However, I do have to disagree on your citing of the amount of users downloading vs the complaints.

    Downloads naturally should be increasing, regardless of the content of the product. But many of the users that I've spoken to have downloaded and activated HitFilm but never actually use it, for this reason. Therefore while you may still have a growing amount of people investigating the product, the source of users that have turned away lies in the period after the download. This might be why this is going under the radar. 

    Also, many users aren't publicly vocal about the light theme because they simply just leave it, moving on to a rival product such as Resolve (referring to the Discord conversation I posted earlier).

    It would be worth looking at statistics when v15 is released how many users update HitFilm and joined post-this decision, and that should give you a rough estimate of how many have stayed on after getting the software.

    It may seem ridiculous creating a heated discussion over the UI of an application, but I totally understand the annoyance people have faced. First, look at these two images:
    fig #1

    fig #2
    Our eyes naturally create a refractive halo around a contrast in light. The brighter colours make a ring around the darker ones. In fig #1, the interface is brighter than the image, and leaks into the picture. This makes the borders of the image quite hard to look at, and your eyes will automatically jump to the inner section of the image. In fig #2, the picture is brighter than the interface and leaks into it, but this doesn't matter because the image is not affected. Basic UI design practice points to using a darker surrounding interface when working on images / videos, or make the image fullscreen if the UI must be light. Unfortunately, HitFilm's newest light theme fails this. I understand that your team worked very hard on this design, and as an ammeter UI designer I can relate to that. But I believe the fault lies in deciding this in the first place. I spend hours video editing, and squinting at the image to correct the colour. Firstly, the surrounding lightness leaves a lasting mark on your eyes, which can distort your perception of the colours in the image. Secondly, over long periods of time it can be irritant. Especially if you are concentrating on the screen when editing.

    Now everyone I've spoken to either dislikes the light theme, or likes it but can easily understand why others don't. But my sample size is maximum 20, and yours in 5 million. Therefore there is a probability I am wrong.
    However, with all due respect the statistics you have cited don't tell you much about the opinions of the users.
    I would therefore highly recommend conducting a small survey to users by email asking them if they have any problem with the light theme or which theme they prefer, as to interface with the user base directly rather than a handful of us in the forums.

  • Thank you for your posts @highspeedkiwis - your comments have absolutely been noted!

  • edited June 30

    A lot of creative software adopt the darktheme interface due to the reason @highspeedkiwis has pointed out. It gives a professional look but is also functional and does not add visual distraction. Making Dark theme a paid option feels like a something driven by money rather than what is necessary. The idea of paid options is to give the user more advanced features, this does not stay true to the concept of that idea 

  • I continue to be dumbfounded by the vocal critics of not having dark mode in this FREE software.

    No doubt dark mode is nicer, but for less than the cost of a pizza you could have dark mode and a few other upgrades thrown in. Don't even have $9? (or more likely, don't want to spend $9) It seems unlikely that such a user would ever buy the full version of Hitfilm, or even any of the Express upgrades, so how is FXhome losing any business?

    Come on people, look at what you get for FREE. For FREE! Software that can create cinematic magic in your own bedroom, that would have cost thousands or maybe tens of thousands of dollars when I was your age.

    FXhome is a business, with staff to pay, offices to rent, servers and web bandwidth they have to pay for. Do your part, show them some love. Ask Mom or Dad for $9. Explain to them that you need it to save your eyes from extreme damage.  They love you and your eyes, maybe they'll help you out.

  • I cannot believe that there is ANY debate over paying $9 to add a feature or two to an otherwise free program that is amazingly powerful.

    Skip a Starbucks latte or two.  Sorted.  If it is not worth that incoinvenience and loss to you... just use the light mode and realize that life is full of decisions you make about priorities.

    best,

    ...............john

  •  Well said @TimLan635 not even pocket money. 

    I get the whole dark mode is better for my eyes, but either I have been living in the dark all these years but I've never had a problem with white.

  • CNKCNK
    edited July 2

    @TimLan635 @Andy001z I consider myself to be a part of the crowd which you are criticising now. And I want to set something straight. Nobody is complaining about $9, definitely not me or OP. The issue is that feature that was free in the past, and it has now become a paid feature. That's all this is about. I still can't support this decision, because worse things will come as a result, because they see that it's working. Like you guys are leaning towards, they're a company to make money, right?

    If you look back to when Express was not free, and compare it to now, you can just look at the poor decision making, it's been a constant down curve in favor of squeezing more money out of the customer, it's shameless. I wish they would go back to the company they were. It's become so corporate and their reputation is so bad, that asking a random person which uses other software, knows about this blunder.

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