Post Production

HitFilm 4 Express: a free editing and 3D compositing app

FXHOME released its free all-in-one video editing and visual effects software HitFilm 4 Express, a product based on Hitfilm Pro 4. Aimed mainly at YouTube creators, this free software seems capable and feature rich, and a useful resource for anyone.


Hitfilm advocates include YouTube superstars and indie filmmaking experts like Freddie Wong, Film Riot, and Corridor Digital. There are several tutorial projects built right into the app. Here’s a new example from Film Riot, part of the new Iron Man HUD tutorials:

Being a young app, Hitfilm Pro and Express lacks the many subtleties found in mature apps that now mostly require continual subscriptions fees – but it is fast and responsive. Hitfilm Pro beats After Effects with better native 3D, native particles, and certain other effects not built into After Effects, but it doesn’t have the depth of After Effects’ two decades of development.

Use of 1080p Cineform and ProRes files is smooth. Unfortunately you can’t edit XDCAM-EX footage without the MPEG-2 and extended format pack add-on. However, the editing mode is more akin to traditional NLEs than the quirky Apple iMovie and related software. Hitfilm Express is a boon to new and occasional users, and will see more action from me than useful utilities like Handbrake, especially since I often bump up against activation limits.

The main features of HitFilm 4 Express include:
• Free editing and visual effects software with no time limit and no subscription fee
• Includes both editing and 3D compositing
• Multiple tracking option, proxies, and more
• Motion design & basic titling
• 140+ built-in 2D and 3D effects available, including green screen removal and color grading
• Available effect packs extend features into specific areas (HF Pro features and After Effects filters)
• Available for both Mac and PC
• Free tutorials, community forum, and dedicated customer support
• Developed to run on consumer level laptops as well as more pro hardware
• GPU acceleration and 64-bit architecture

New in HitFilm 4 Express:
• Upgraded editing timeline enhancements for playback controls & workflow
• Audio tools, including audio reverse, echo, doppler shift, and balance
• Major new effects add to the toolkit, including curves, lightning, and end credits crawl
• New speed controls for simple slow motion
• New animation features include tech from HitFilm 4 Pro

Supported formats include (format expansion available):
• Video: Quicktime, AVI, MOV, MP4 (AVC/H264 & AAC), MPEG-1 (TS, PS, MPE, MPG, MPEG, M2V), MXF (DVCPro HD), DV, HDV, WMV
• Audio: AAC, MP3, M4A, MPA, WAV, WMA
• Image & sequences: BMP, GIF, JPG, PNG, TIFF, TGA, OpenEXR
• Project: HFP (HitFilm Project), HFCS (HitFilm Composite Shot)
• Camera data: MA (Maya formatted)
• Export: Quicktime, MP4 (AVC/H264 & AAC), Image sequence (PNG, JPG, BMP), AVI (uncompressed, PAL DV, NTSC DV), YouTube direct upload

Minimum requirements are:
• Mac OSX 10.9 Mavericks, 10.10 Yosemite and 10.11 El Capitan
• 64 bit Windows Vista, 7, 8, 10
• Intel Core i3, and above
• OpenGL 2.0 capable hardware with 512 MB video memory

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Rich Young is a long-time After Effects user from the San Francisco Bay Area. His After Effects and Premiere Pro round-ups provide viewers with an easy-to-digest summary of developments. He also supplies info and links…

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ali hamza

HITFILM 4 Express is a nice software….