Video editing & visual effects software


HitFilm Express

HitFilm Express is a free video editing software with professional-grade VFX tools and everything you need to make awesome content, films or gaming videos. Perfect for beginners, film students, gamers, YouTubers, or any creative without a budget.

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HitFilm Express - Specifications and Features

Revolutionary workflow

HitFilm Express takes your workflow to the next level. Seamlessly combining a huge array of features providing amateurs and professionals everything they need to see a project through to the end.

  • Combined timelines: Switch from one tab to the next as you would on a browser, depending on your needs. Edit in one, composite in the other, and jump back to the editor without any need to load another piece of software.
  • Personalizable workstation: Adjust your interface using the collapsible and expandable panels to ensure you have access to the things you need and aren’t distracted by panels you don’t. Your personal interface can then be saved as your default layout.
  • Color coding: Clip and track labeling gives you the freedom to color-code your shots to more easily differentiate between takes, music & video. Give your creative process a bit of order.
  • Personalized playback: You can customize your playback quality and paused quality. This allows you to experience really fast playback in the editor and trimmer, preventing lagging and making it much easier to time up edits/cuts. Not only can you playback at a different quality, but you can also control that quality from the menu in the viewer, allowing you to make faster and snappier edits.
  • Enhanced performance: Threaded-rendering allows the interface and video to work independently, allowing for a smooth and lightning-fast workflow. Users of Intel and Nvidia hardware will notice the incredible power of our GPU decoding.
  • Mask editing and rendering: Masking is used to create a matte manually. A matte determines which parts of a layer are visible. Practically, this means that masks are used to cut holes in your layers. This can be done using the freehand mask tool or the wide range of customizable shape masks. HitFilm Express’ mask editing is faster than ever before, enhancing and speeding up the rotoscoping process. As video quality increases, the software must be capable of handling everything it’s given, which is why performance has been boosted.
  • Export Queue: HitFilm Express’ export queue allows you to set up a list of edits and shots to export while you’re away from your desk. If you close down the software, the export will automatically resume when you load it back up.
  • Export presets: Export presets let you configure your export settings for high quality or high compression. Just drag and drop your selected presets, make it the default, and move on to the next task. Export is available in multiple formats, including 32-bit color and industry-standard GoPro Cineform (Win) or QuickTime ProRes (Mac).
  • Professional formats: HitFilm Express’ UHD support and RAM preview ensure the best possible quality for your projects. Work with all footage, from your vertical smartphone shots to high-end professional camera documentaries, HitFilm can handle it.
  • Voiceover recorder: At the click of a button, you can easily add commentary to your videos without needing to leave HitFilm. Your recording automatically gets added to an audio track so you can add those finishing touches with HitFilm’s audio effects.
  • Intelligent search: Quickly locate what you need with HitFilm Express’ keyword search and find feature for all your media, effects, and composite timelines. Coming from another software system? No problem, our algorithm recognizes keyword links to help you find what you’re looking for.
  • Layer and track locking: Easily lock layers and tracks to protect their contents and prevent them from being changed after completing your work. When a layer or track is locked, a lock icon will appear on the layer.

Video editing

HitFilm Express provides a range of powerful non-linear editing tools ensuring you have the right tools for the job.

  • Animation tools: A large number of advanced animation tools are available within both editor timelines. This huge update allows you to create and edit audio and video transitions without the need to create composite shots.
  • Composite shot enhancements: There are a vast number of animation tools at your disposal in composite shots, more than ever before. For example, you can animate two shots at once by using the control panel graph and the timeline graph. If you’re working on a complicated composite shot, you can work on a scene at the top and bottom of the shot simultaneously.
  • Audio Hard Limiter: Professional audio editing functionality allows you to normalize your audio without any need for external software. Make all the adjustments you need inside HitFilm to create a pitch-perfect performance. Add-on Required
  • Unlimited tracks: HitFilm allows you to add unlimited video and audio tracks to your timeline. You shouldn’t be limited by your software.
  • Multiple streams: Gamers rejoice! HitFilm allows you to import files with multiple streams of audio, giving you full flexibility over your workflow.
  • Picture in Picture: Picture in Picture (or PiP) is a highly common video style in online content. HitFilm provides a quick solution for this with the Picture in Picture effect, allowing you to position one clip inside another with a different scale and position relative to the layer. Add-on Required
  • Adaptive Trimmer: You have the power to re-trim your clips after adding them to the timeline. Double-clicking a clip sends it to the trimmer panel, ready for you to make the adjustments you need. Once the necessary changes have been made, the clip on the timeline will be automatically updated.
  • Behaviors: Behavior Effects provide a huge array of possibilities. Rotate By Layer allows one layer to rotate by a specified multiplier of another layer’s rotation. Creating animated timepieces or orbiting planets has never been so simple. This is just the start of the capabilities of the new Behavior Effects. Add-on Enhanced
  • Vertical video: Uploading vertical video shouldn’t be punishing - HitFilm provides support for vertical videos, creating a blurred version of the original video to use as a background so the video can seamlessly fit alternative aspect ratios. Add-on Required
  • Compositing and layering: Add new dimensions to your filmmaking by bringing together 3D layers, models, and particle simulations in the same space. Create stunning user interfaces by layering 2D graphics directly inside a 3D model. Add-on Required
  • 3D camera projection: Take an ordinary 2D photo and convert it to a projected, photoreal 3D scene complete with camera movement. Add-on Required
  • Attributes: HitFilm offers the ability to copy a group of attributes from one clip and apply them directly to another, or your whole project. Forgot to grade your first 10 clips? You can grade one and easily apply the same grade to the rest.
  • Audio mixer: The audio mixer allows you to fine-tune your sound for professional-quality output. Easily modify, balance, and mix tracks – or get precise control over individual elements with mute and solo features.
  • Transitions: Make a smooth segue or eye-popping transition between shots with one of HitFilm Express’ dissolve, push, slide, split, wide, zoom, fade, or iris transition features. You can even build your own transition type within a composite shot or the editor timeline.
  • Dedicated trimmer: Get your rough cut looking sharp with HitFilm Express’ dedicated editing trimmer – complete with insert and overlay functionality. Cut it even quicker with customizable keyboard shortcuts to set the ‘in’ and ‘out’ points in the trimmer.
  • GoPro footage: Reframe and adjust 360° photos and videos inside HitFilm, tweaking the lens curvature and motion blur to get the perfect shot from your footage.

Particle simulator Add-on Required

HitFilm’s Particle Simulator is a very powerful tool which allows you to play God. Create weather systems, grow your own cities or summon swarms of creatures - it’s all in HitFilm Express, from grid patterns and fractally-warped, audio-influenced 3D forms to chaotic, physics-driven simulation.

  • Emitters: An emitter is where all particle effects begin, specifying where the particles appear and affecting their initial trajectory.
  • Particle systems: An emitter can contain multiple particle systems. A particle system is the visible part of the particle effect. The properties of a particle system will determine the visual appearance and behavior of each particle at its birth. Once a particle is born, its behavior can be affected by multiple external factors such as deflectors and forces.
  • Mobile emitters: Emitters can also contain mobile emitters. These are special types of emitter that are spawned in the same way as particle systems, but which can then go on to spawn their own particle systems.
  • Deflectors & Forces: If you want your particles to interact in more interesting ways, deflectors and forces are what you need. Deflectors are collision areas for particles and can be shapes generated inside the particle simulator or other layers on your timeline. This is a great way to simulate particles colliding with real-world objects in your live-action footage.
  • Particle shapes: Create awe-inspiring particle clouds based on 2D shapes or 3D geometry, then warp them into organic forms with extensive fractal distortion. You can even mix in an audio clip to automate the animation.
  • 3D objects as particles: Want to get more creative with your particle design? Simply import your own 3D models as particles to create everything from a fleet of warships to a swarm of locusts.
  • Post-processing: Take computer-generated particle systems to the next level by adding 2D effects and filters. You can add heat distortions to big explosions or mists over a foggy mountain to give your special effects scenes a more organic look.

A compositor’s toolkit

HitFilm Express houses over 400 unique effects and presets, each of which can be pulled apart, altered and put back together again to create something entirely new.

  • Text and titling: HitFilm Express comes with professional text and titling options. Add 3D geometry effects such as extrude, bevel, and rotate to your text to create the look you want. The geometry supports lights, shadows, and environment maps. Create instanced titles that you can edit from the editor without going into the comp. For animated titles or lower thirds take advantage of over 10 presets, included as default, to get you started. Add-on Enhanced
  • Fire and lightning: Procedurally generated fire and lightning with accurate behavior and appearance can be further enhanced with heat distortion and post-processed lighting effects. Add-on Enhanced
  • Muzzle flashes: HitFilm Express’ gunfire effect generates an endless variety of muzzle flashes, from pistols to miniguns. Unlike pre-rendered stock, these can be rotated in full 3D to work from any angle. Add-on Required
  • Repair your footage: Remove unwanted digital grain from your videos, fix jello-vision caused by rolling shutter cameras, stabilize jittery handheld shots, and remove distortion from fisheye lenses. Add-on Required
  • Lens flares: Mix and adjust flares, anamorphic streaks, light leaks, sparkling highlights, volumetric 3D light rays, and high quality glows to enhance your cinematography. Add-on Enhanced
  • 360° video: Take advantage of the updated 360° video viewer panel allowing you to view 360° video in its original state inside the trimmer alongside the adjusted version so that you can easily add the all-new 360° video effects. Add-on Required
  • Puppet tool: Use the Puppet tool to quickly add natural motion to raster images and vector graphics, including still images, shapes, and text characters. The Puppet effect works by deforming part of an image according to the positions of pins that you place and move. These pins define what parts of the image should move, what parts should remain rigid, and what parts should be in front when parts overlap. Add-on Required

Color correction & grading

HitFilm comes packed with powerful color correction and grading tools providing you with everything you need to get the polished look you’re after.

  • Scopes: Use layer-specific Vectorscopes, Waveforms, and Histograms to take your color correction and grading to another level. Add-on Required
  • Vectorscope: Don’t let your characters blend into the background. The vectorscope viewer identifies skin tones so you can adjust color and saturation. See where color has been removed, how to achieve white balance, and how much tint you’re adding. Add-on Required
  • Color Support: Use 16-bit color grading Add-on Required to add vibrant color tones and textures that jump off the screen. No banding, no pixels, just smooth gradients, and future-facing films. You can use work from almost any source and resolution – even 4K UHD.
  • Curves: Allow yourself to bend the truth in each scene. HitFilm Express’ curve effects give you extremely fine control over the final look of your shots.
  • Color wheels: If you’re stuck finding the right color for the job, the color wheels that come with HitFilm Express will give you every option to pick from. Add-on Enhanced
  • Extensive presets: Found your signature look? Save it with HitFilm Express’ color settings presets so you can quickly recreate it in your next project. HitFilm Express includes hundreds of presets as standard, with many plugins for additional power and flexibility.
  • Grading toolkit: HitFilm Express’ extensive collection of color grading tools lets you customize your own look and lighting. Each tool can be applied to the entire shot, or specific areas of the frame, to ensure precise color grading. You can even grade several layers at once.
  • Cinematic looks: Prep your film for the big screen with HitFilm Express’ classic cine-style and cine-style effects. Choose from effects like Bleach Bypass, Day For Night, Grading Transfer, Three-Strip Color, Two-Strip Color, and Film Grain to add a flair of drama and cinematic edge. Add-on Enhanced
  • Hyper-stylized effects: Channel your inner Van Gogh with HitFilm Express’ hyper-stylized color effects. Create dream-like sequences or somber moods with effects like oil painting, solarize, posterize, and cartoon.
  • LUTs: Give your film bold Marvel colors without spending hours in the studio. Using your LUT plugin of choice, you can quickly apply your favorite cinematic color scheme or perfectly match the color grade from another clip or image. Add-on Required
  • Footage repair: Sometimes (many times), post-production has to step in to save the day. Be the hero with HitFilm Express’ professional noise removal tools and digital make-up for your actors. Add-on Required
  • Damage simulator: So your shot looks a little too perfect? HitFilm Express’ damage simulation feature gives your footage a rougher look with film damage, TV damage, Flicker, Jitter, Shake, and Stutter tools. Add-on Enhanced

Keying & extraction

Advanced chroma key, matte cleaning, spill suppression, and auto light wrap combine with sophisticated 2D and 3D layering to create green screen composites so realistic your audience will never even know.

  • Chroma Key: HitFilm Express made extracting actors from green screen effortless with the powerful broadcast quality chroma key. Use the chroma key to get high-quality removal from blue or green screen, control over edge detail, color correction, and advanced spill replacement. Add-on Required
  • Matte cleaning: Key to the highest standard with HitFilm Express’ matte cleaner tool. Get high-quality composites every time through smoothing, feathering, and choking the edge of the key.
  • Spill simulation and light wrapping: HitFilm Express’ unique spill simulation feature replaces unwanted light reflections from your green screen with realistic simulated light from your new background. You can even add the light wrap effect for a more realistic light bloom around your foreground elements.
  • Green screen: Clean up your green screen footage with HitFilm Express’ effortless broadcast-quality chroma key. Use the technology to get high-quality removal from blue or green screen, control over edge detail, color correction, and advanced spill replacement.


Providing powerful and advanced tracking tools HitFilm. Get more from your shots. Allowing you to build your own reality in each scene.

  • 2D Feature Tracking: HitFilm's 2D tracker is designed for quickly tracking moving features in your videos. Once you’ve tracked the feature you want, the data can be used for a variety of things. If you’ve ever wanted to composite a realistic flying craft into your shot, for example, tracking is a key step.
  • Mocha HitFilm: HitFilm Express includes a special version of Mocha from Boris FX. Using Academy Award-winning planar tracking technology, Mocha HitFilm 6.0.3 provides advanced tracking solutions for multiple situations. Add-on Required
  • Importing 3D camera tracking data: HitFilm supports the .ma format for importing 3D camera data from other tracking products, such as Boujou and SynthEyes. Use the 3D camera tracking data option from the Import menu in the Media panel to select your .ma file.

3D model import Add-on Required

HitFilm hosts a powerful set of 3D model compatible tools. Import, adjust, texture, animate, composite, and render for outstanding integration into your scenes.

  • Models: A number of 3D model formats are compatible with HitFilm. After they’ve been imported and adjusted to your liking they can then be composited into your scene all within HitFilm.
  • Animations: Animate objects and shoot with virtual cameras and lights, with real-time shadows, reflections, and physically-based lighting producing super-realistic results. Experience lightning-fast load times, film box support, and added FBX import.
  • 3D animation cache: Caching your 3D animation data means that it doesn't need to be retrieved from the file once the frame has been rendered before. Meaning that once the data has been rendered, it’ll no longer need to be read from the file on every frame. Less data means quicker loading!
  • Depth maps: Improve your perspective with HitFilm Express’ depth maps for all 3D layers (3D models, planes, and particle systems). Composite different objects together using depth information for masking and occlusion. Get all the benefits of 3D data while compositing in 2.5D with effects and filters.
  • Texturing: Import and apply any texture to any model and configure specular maps to appropriately color each material. You can even experiment with normal and bump maps to add additional 3D detail to your model without negatively impacting editing, viewing performance, and polycount. Reflections and lighting can be adjusted to get the right look and feel for your scene, including directional, spotlight, point, and ambient light. For added realism, you can add shadow casting into a 3D scene or switch on ambient occlusion to allow layers to cast and display shadows.
  • Mirror reflections: Models can adopt mirror reflections. If you’re using HitFilm for a product or corporate videos, you can take a 3D model and create a complete and accurate mirror reflection for a realistic look.
  • Unified 3D space: You can position a 2D green-screened actor in the cockpit of a 3D model helicopter without any layering tricks! HitFilm Express’ unified 3D space feature allows you to create layers and models that interact in the same space. Add effects like motion blur and depth of field using the software’s built-in cameras for a more realistic look.
  • Doppler shift: Helicopter landings and revving engines sound as real as they look with HitFilm Express’ doppler shift feature. Simply attach audio to your animated 3D layers, and HitFilm will automatically apply doppler shift as the layer moves towards (and away) from the camera.
  • Import animation: HitFilm Express offers support for a number of 3D formats, including OBJ, LWO, glTF, and 3DS using the 3D: Model Render add-on pack. Alembic ABC and Filmbox FBX can also be imported with geometry animation for individual models and groups within HitFilm Express.

Specialized effects

HitFilm Express comes with a huge amount of specialized effects built-in allowing you to easily enhance your film visuals, creating memorable and impactful scenes.

  • 3D muzzle flashes: Perfect for any action scene – HitFilm Express’ dedicated 3D muzzle flash engine incorporates a huge library of customizable effects. Drag and drop realistic, infinitely variable muzzle flashes onto any weapon in your prop collection from any angle and at any size. Add-on Required
  • Procedural fire: Re-make your own Towering Inferno with HitFilm Express’ procedural fire effects. You can augment your stock footage with everything from small bonfires to large-scale building fires. Perfect for turning up the heat and production value. Add-on Required
  • Distortion effects: HitFilm Express’ distortion effects come in four flavors: Heat, Energy, Smoke & Fluid Distortion. Add industrial grit to your props and environments with jet exhausts, burning fires and hot proton beams, or create your own Narcissus reflection scene with fluid caustics - perfect for creating the appearance of looking through a liquid surface within the software. Add-on Enhanced
  • Neon path: Create stunning neon sign graphics straight out of a dystopian metropolis or middle-of-nowhere motel. Just add the neon effect to text and shape layers to create life-like neon sign graphics that interact with surrounding elements. Bonus: Neon Path significantly reduces time spent rotoscoping lightswords and laserbeams. After positioning your lightsword using the 4-Point Auto effect, enhance it with flicker, foreground & background distortion for an irregular edge and path animation. Add-on Enhanced
  • Easy sci-fi effects: High-quality visual effects are the building blocks of modern sci-fi classics. So we’ve created a showstopping repository of classic sci-fi tropes - from starfields and lasers to FTL-jumps, text crawls, earthquakes, and even lightswords. Drag, drop, and dazzle. Add-on Enhanced
  • Lightning & electricity: Take up the mantle of Nikola Tesla with your very own lightning generator. Use it for Harry Potter wand effects, exploding starship systems, or have your actors throw electric bolts with customizable branches, color, and motion.
  • Lens flare toolkit: Get the J.J. Abrams look without having to adjust F-stops or shine a Maglite into your camera. Volumetric, anamorphic, and automatic lens flares are all easy to use with automatic identification and application of flares to bright spots in your layers. HitFilm Express even simulates imperfect lens flaring from specular highlights, camera dirt, and anamorphic streaks. Add-on Enhanced
  • Warping tools: Twist and distort your footage for that added cool factor using HitFilm Express’ vortex displacement, bezier warps, perspective, and polar warps. You can flatten your action footage to match your traditional lenses or use Action Cam Lens Distort, making it easy to layer your composites directly onto footage filmed with action cameras.
  • Temporal tools: Tell more stories in a New York minute with a temporal palette that lets you speed up, slow down, or reverse the action. Bring your scenes to life by having characters dodge bullets with motion blur or bend time with echoes, motion trails, and temporal displacement.
  • Hide objects: Don’t let rogue pedestrians come between you and your perfect shot. Clean up your footage by easily hiding or duplicating objects with HitFilm Express’ clone stamp and replacement tools.

File handling

HitFilm supports a large number of file formats with more compatible formats than ever before.

  • Video formats: Supporting Quicktime, AVI, MOV, MP4 (AVC/H264, H.265 & AAC), MPEG-1 (TS, PS, MPE, MPG, MPEG, M2V), MXF (DVCPro HD), DV, HDV, WMV, HitFilm can use the most commonly used video file types. Providing unlimited creativity.
  • Audio: A range of audio file types can be integrated into your projects in HitFilm, including AAC, MP3, M4A, MPA, WAV, and WMA.
  • Image & sequences: Importing images and image sequences are a vital part of compositing and filmmaking. HitFilm is compatible with BMP, GIF, JPG, PNG, TIFF, TGA, OpenEXR, and HDR images for ease of use.
  • Export: HitFilm allows you to Export to a number of different file formats, including Quicktime, MP4 (AVC/H264 & AAC), Image sequence (PNG, JPG, BMP), AVI (uncompressed, PAL DV, NTSC DV), and WAV.
  • Media panel: The HitFilm audio syncing has leveled up. Import video and audio, select multiple clips in the media panel, and the software automatically syncs the files.
  • Audio-syncing: HitFilm Express introduces the new audio sync tool. By simply selecting multiple clips in the media panel, HitFilm will automatically sync the files.
  • Import performance: HitFilm is doing more in the background so that you can get your media imported at lightning speed.

System Specs

HitFilm Express is multi-core and GPU accelerated. It has seen some vast improvements under the hood providing superior performance and speed like you’ve never seen before.

  • Apple: macOS 10.15 Catalina, macOS 10.14 Mojave, or 10.13 High Sierra
  • Windows: Microsoft Windows 10 (64-bit), Microsoft Windows 8 (64-bit)
  • Internet connection: Required for online activation
  • Processor: 4th Generation Intel® Core™ Processors or AMD equivalent.
  • RAM: 4GB (8 GB Recommended)
  • Graphics card:
    • NVIDIA GeForce 600 (Kepler) series (2012)
    • AMD Radeon R5 240 (2013)
    • Intel HD Graphics 5000 (GT3) (2013)
    • Video memory 1 GB minimum (2GB or more required for 4K UHD)

Free training & support

HitFilm Express comes with a range of free training resources to provide you with the information you need to go from amateur to pro. While you learn, our online support systems are ready to provide you with technical guidance.

  • YouTube episodes: HitFilm has a dedicated YouTube channel supplying you with weekly tutorials that show you how to use each of the powerful tools in HitFilm to create awesome effects.
  • Dedicated support team: The HitFilm support team provides technical, customer, and sales support throughout the work week. If you have any burning questions you can head over to our support ticket submission page to get the help you need -
  • Online community forum: If you’re looking for hands-on tips and tricks and can’t wait for another tutorial to come out, our forum is the place to be. With an extremely active and friendly community of HitFilm users, you’ll have the answers you need in no time.
  • Reference manual: All software comes with a comprehensive guide showing each and every feature and how they can be used -