Hollywood magic at your fingertips
HitFilm Express is a video editing and effect creation software program that's as effective as the end-user. Whether you're a student working on a class project or a breakaway filmmaker trying to put out a fresh idea, HitFilm is easy to learn and powerful. With three-dimensional compositing, seamless video editing, and over 400 effects, this is the tool to take your work to the next level.
The aesthetic you want, the guidance you need
HitFilm is a professional-grade product with a staggering array of effects, albeit not immediately intuitive.For that reason, you'll find a number of helpful tutorials and videos to provide extensive tips and walk-throughs, and a supportive community for when you are stuck. The learning curve is steep, and more complex functions like creating templates or exporting and publishing files can be frustrating.
Installing HitFilm Express is as fast and simple as the name would imply. Once it's done, you'll have access to an arsenal of blurs, audio and lighting tools, stylized filters, distortion and geometry bending, and all manner of color correcting and grading effects. What happens in the editing room is often the difference between blockbuster success films and amateur video projects! Regardless of how you use HitFilm, the general workflow typically goes as follows: First, you'll create or open an existing project. Importing media like video, audio, or images is as simple as pressing the 'import' button in media panel on the bottom left. Then, simply bring up the file you want and it'll show up right in HitFilm. Once you have selected the portion of the media you wish to add to your timeline (displayed at the bottom) and sequenced the files, you're ready to export your timeline and rename the new video file.
With HitFilm Express, you can also customize your software: Set the size and layout of the many containers and panels by dragging on their edges. You can even drag them over other containers to bring up a 4-way drop zone indicator: Each panel has a tab, and you can click on one to switch and rearrange panels. There is also a number of paid add-on packs that are not included in HitForm Express, such as lighting VFX, Pro Keying, extra color corrections, and better 3D Particles. If you're struggling to achieve the perfect visual, it's probably because you don't have the correct plug-in.
Where can you run this program?
HitFilm Express runs on both Mac and PC. If you go back and forth between the two, you'll find some minor interface and functionality differences, like where the File and Workspace menus are located. The Mac version supports numerous import formats, such as Apple ProRes 4444 and 422; H.263 and H.264, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, and MPEG-4; and Photo-JPEG. The Windows .AVI format is not supported in the Mac version. Both Mac and PC versions of the product have full access to the keyboard shortcuts.
Is there a better alternative?
Adobe video editing software such as After Effects or Premiere would be the most similar products to HitFilm that is in a way a combination of both. Compared to After Effects, HitFilm provides more in one package. While the aforementioned plug-ins are helpful for people working on a professional level, you won't be downloading dozens of packs. It's worth bringing up that HitFilm Express is the free version of HitFilm Pro. If you like the aesthetic and functionality of HitFilm Express, it's a good litmus test for what you'll be receiving in the paid product.
HitFilm Express brings together traditional non-linear editing tools with a high-level video effects compositor.
Recent updates have made the software faster and better-looking than ever, but novice users will still need to become familiar with it by watching a tutorial or two. There's something to be said about simple, straightforward software; at the end of the day though, it's undoubtedly better to have a complex, multi-faceted product that just requires a bit more practice and patience.
Should you download it?
Absolutely. HitFilm Express is an impressive suite of features and tools. Once you get the hang of the more complicated aspects of it, you'll quickly be able to edit and create with ease.
- Extensive editing tools
- Supports a wide variety of formats
- Great community for answering questions
- Steep learning curve for beginners