HitFilm Express 2017

…for beginners and others’ toolkits

FXHOME released its free all-in-one video editing and visual effects software HitFilm Express 2017, a subset of HitFilm Pro 2017, the inexpensive yet capable and comprehensive video app. Aimed mainly at YouTube creators, this free Mac/Win software seems capable and feature rich, and a useful resource for almost 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, which are perhaps too sensitive, with the slightest click sending you off into a browser. Most notably, there’s a new demo short from Film Riot on what can be done in the app as part of the new Westward-oriented tutorials (scroll down), the 6th in a series of major tutorials clusters.

Film Riot’s Westworld to Yuma showcases visual effects which can be completely replicated inside of  free software HitFilm Express 2017. Users will be able to download project files and follow tutorials to recreate shots at home using the actual footage from the film. There are 4 new tutorials ready for this series, including old-timey muzzle flashes, how to track tricky objects like an iPad, create a realistic sky replacement, and how to create stunt effects with composites (there’s even a light wrap plug-in for blending).

Whether creators are looking for an editor, a visual effects toolkit, or a supportive creative community, HitFilm Express users will find more than just an NLE — there’s pro-level animation tools, 360° video tools, and over 150 advanced effects such as lightning, smoke and explosions. Designed to run on almost any computer, the new 2017 version features new effects, including heat distortion and sci-fi themed lightswords, audio tools, new export queue options, support for 4K projects, and more. And HitFilm Express 2017 offers flexibility through a set of optional expansion packs with additional features and effects, including motion tracking and easy 3D text tools.

Being a younger 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 and uses familiar UI conventions. 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.

The editing mode is more akin to traditional NLEs than the quirky Apple iMovie and FCPx, and has more useful features than last year’s version. Hitfilm Express is a boon to new and occasional users, and should see more action than other useful utilities like Handbrake, especially if you bump up against activation limits on other software. It’s pretty amazing for free software, as is Blackmagic Fusion and Resolve Lite.

The main features of HitFilm Express 2017 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
• 150+ 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 Express 2017:

360° Video Tools: UPDATED Environment Map Transform and Environment Map Viewer.

Audio Tools: NEW Audio mixers, Per track and master track, Levels, Balance (panning), Solo and Mute, Auto-sync audio to video!

Editing Tools: UPDATED Industry-standard quality formats, editing trimmer with Insert and Overlay functionality, keyboard shortcuts to set the in and out points in the trimmer,  J-cuts, L-cuts, new shortcuts to link and un-link media on the timeline

Export: NEW Export Queue, Export Presets, tasks can be queued, duplicated and modified easily.

Professional Pipeline: NEW Support for UHD Projects (3840 * 2160 Maximum with 2GB of GPU RAM), Native import and export GoPro CineForm 10-bit/12-bit – Windows only, UPDATED Import and export Apple Pro Res 10-bit/12-bit – Mac only, updated RAM Preview for faster playback.

User Interface: NEW Dynamic Toolbox property searching, Dynamic Timeline layer & effect property searching, mocha HitFilm plugin (Add on Required); UPDATED Project remembers toolbox tree state, Effect presets added to many effects greatly increasing the ease-of-use of many, new shortcuts, all shortcuts can now be edited.

New effects in 2017: Heat distortion, Lightsword (2 point Auto), Lightsword (4 point Manual), Lightsword (Glow only).

New effects in add-ons: ‘Destruction Pack’ Energy, Smoke, Fluid distortion effects; ‘Sci-Fi Pack’ Lightsword Ultra.

Add-ons available to extend feature set (compare with Pro versions and Ignite plug-ins):
• Boris FX 3D Objects – $50
• mocha HitFilm – $50
• Colorist pack – $25
• Repair pack – $50
• Film looks pack – $25
• Destruction pack – $25
• Audio-visual pack – $50
• Atmospheric lighting pack – $25
• Sci-fi adventure pack – $25
• Premium formats (AVCHD & MPEG-2) – $10

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, or AMD equivalent
• 4GB RAM (8 GB or more recommended)
• OpenGL 2.0 capable hardware with 512 MB video memory, with 2GB or more recommended for 4K UHD.
• Earliest graphics cards HitFilm supports NVIDIA GeForce 9 Series (2008), AMD Radeon HD 5000 Series (2009), Intel HD Graphics 4000 (GT2) (2012)

By the way, there are several YouTubers introducing Hitfilm Express 2017:


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Rich Young

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 for tutorials that allow users to do things in After Effects they thought were possible but weren’t sure.

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2 Comments on "HitFilm Express 2017"

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Craig NA

How do you export a finished video?

Ed Newbold

Go to the Export tab, look at the bottom where it says “Start Export”. More info available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rXWTJzmbZ8 at the 10:40 mark in the video.

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