Starting a project

After starting HitFilm 4 Pro you are presented with the Home screen. From here you can quickly access your recent saved projects or create a new project.

Clicking the New button will take you to the Project screen, where you set up your initial project settings:


You can return to the Project screen at any time to update your project settings.

Several templates are provided for common video formats. You can also customize your setup and save your own templates by clicking on the Save icon.

When starting a new project you have two options for getting started:

Start Compositing: Creates a new composite shot using the project settings. This is useful if you want to immediately start work on a visual effects shot.
Start Editing: Sets up your editor timeline so that you can start importing and editing your clips. Use this option if you are using HitFilm as your main editor.

Color Bit Depth

HitFilm can operate in 8-bit integer or 16-bit float modes.

8-bit integer is limited to 8 bits per channel, restricting colors between 0-255 values. 8-bit integer will render more quickly than 16-bit float.

16-bit float allows for increased dynamic range, retaining detail in highlights and shadows. This is particularly useful during grading or when designing visually extreme effects. 16-bit float will take longer to calculate and render, but produces higher quality results.

You can change the color bit depth at any point in a project. One option is to carry out most of your work using the 8-bit integer mode, so you can work more quickly, then switch to 16-bit float for the final render.

Antialiasing Mode

Antialiasing is used to reduce 'aliasing' on diagonal lines during rendering. Antialiasing is always used during the final export and can be turned on and off while working inside HitFilm.

HitFilm 4 Pro supports multiple antialiasing methods. The number and types of available methods will depend on your computer's video card. The further down the list of available options the bigger the performance impact and the finer the rendering quality.

More information on CSAA (external resource).

More information on MSAA (external resource).

Reflection Map size

The quality of 3D model reflections can be controlled using the reflection map. Larger reflection maps will create higher quality reflections at the cost of performance.

Note the difference in the images below. The first image has a reflection map of just 256, which is too low for anything other than long distance shots:

256 reflec

Compare it to this version, which uses a reflection map of 1024:

1024 reflec

The reflection in the second image is much more defined. The default setting of 512 works well for most projects, but you may want to increase the reflection map size for close-ups or projects where visual fidelity is the priority.

Shadow Map size

This performs a similar function to the reflection map size, but for rendered 3D shadows. The default shadow resolution of 2048 is suitable for many projects but can be adjusted to suit your specific needs.

A lower resolution, such as 512, will create lower quality shadows with more visible edges. However, performance will be improved so for long distance shots this may be a good trade-off.

Conversely, increasing the shadow map to 4096 will create a higher quality shadow at the expense of performance.

You can change the shadow map at any point during a project, so one approach is to use a small shadow map while working on your project, then increase it to the required resolution prior to final export.

Maximum 3D Model Map size

3D models usually include texture files. HitFilm supports diffuse, specular, normal and bump textures, each of which exists as a separate image file. Given that models can also include multiple materials, each with four available texture slots, the memory usage can become intensive if a model makes use of multiple textures.

Some GPUs are unable to handle several 4K textures at full resolution, and even if your GPU is powerful enough it will still experience a performance impact.

This setting provides an easy way to manage texture files without needing to manually resize the textures outside of HitFilm. That maximum 3D model map size puts an upper cap on the resolution of all 3D model textures. Any textures larger than the maximum will be automatically downscaled to the maximum value. If your model uses multiple 6K textures, this is a convenient way to easily downscale them to 2K on the fly.

As this can be adjusted at any time, this is a highly efficient way to control quality and performance. While animating your models and setting up your scene you may not need high quality textures, so reducing the maximum to 512 can yield a major performance boost; you can then raise the max to 4096 prior to exporting.

Note that textures smaller than the maximum 3D model map size will not be affected.

Also take a look at the Introducing the Viewer chapter for information on managing performance while working on projects.