HitFilm Express is considered to be one of the best free video editors in the industry. It comes with plenty of nice features for its kind. During the recent past, HitFilm Express underwent some vital upgrades, and now, it has a large number of features. However, most of these features are accessible only through the pro version of HitFilm Express. Well, in this HitFilm Express review, we intend to explain all the vital features of this video editor. So, if you were looking for a good review of HitFilm Express, your search may end with this article.
HitFilm Express review
As we have mentioned, HitFilm Express has more features after undergoing recent updates. However, in addition to that, these updates allow you to purchase some starter packs as well. In fact, these updates were previously available for the Pro version only. All these add-ons come with a reasonable price tag. These add-ons include 3D model import and render, 3D particle stimulators, color depths of 16 bits, and various other features. Besides, it is capable of helping filmmaking projects as well. As long as you can tolerate their pretty unusual interface, HitFilm Express is a handy free video editor.
Mentioned below is the list of important updates that are taken place over the recent past. This section emphasizes some of those improvements.
- In September 2018, they underwent some major updates related to animation keyframing in the editor. In addition to that, they also offered vital updates for motion blur, enhanced preview options and layout panel as well. Besides, they have improved masking in composite shots.
- In November 2018, with version 10.1, they introduced an improved rendering of fonts. Also, they have extended the length of the transitions as well.
- In December 2018, they introduced HitFilm Express 11.0 version. With that, they have successfully fixed some of the minor bugs.
- In February 2019, they have introduced HitFilm Express 12.0 version which comes with a newer user-interface. In addition to that, they introduced threated rendering and better controlled for the titles.
Keyframing and Timeline Animation of HitFilm Express
One of the major features included in HitFilm Express is Composite shot. This feature allows you to create a timeline solely to make special effects and motion graphics. These effects can later be added to the main video you are creating.
So, basically, this feature works by stacking the effects one over the other instead of integrating everything. So, the main linear timeline will remain as it is.
Also, the latest updates have made the animation tools easily accessible through the timeline editor. When it comes to the past versions, the animation keyframes were possible only within the composite shot. In that case, you had to go back and forth to access both the modes. As a result of this new update, you don't have to exit the editor to create animations.
Also, they have added motion blur feature for bot the objects as well as for whole clips. This is another enhancement for timeline. With that, you can configure motion paraments without creating composite shots.
HitFilm Express allows you to select different types of previewing options depending on your requirement. For instance, it will enable you the customized playback and pause option. Through this option, you will be able to make the playback shaper. It also allows you to get rid of the laggings in the preview. This is particularly handy when you deal with high-resolution video. In addition to that, their new choices related to previewing can be listed as follows.
- Playback quality
- Playback resolution
- Paused quality
- Paused resolution
Moreover, all those options include low to high-resolution options. So, there is no shortage of options when previewing, we should say.
This is a very user-friendly feature that can be used in a very convenient manner. However, please note that the playback will hide all the special effects if you reduce video quality too much. For instance, you will not see the effects like animated text, picture in the picture, etc. Therefore, if you want to see all the effects with the clip, you should balance quality and speed.
New layout panel
In the latest HitFilm Express version, the workspace of the HitFilm Express is updated and expanded too. It also gives you different options, such as aligning and arranging objects in the scene. The new version also allows you to add workspaces like 360 Degree Video, Colorists, Audio, etc. So, the new layout panel reduces the clutter significantly.
With a new layout, you can also work with the elements to arrange them in the way you need. For instance, you can work with text or inset picture in the clip. With this, you will be able to place the elements where you exactly need. As a result, you will be able to work more productively.
However, some users say that the layout panel is not included in the workspace as a default aspect. When you opt to add that into the editing workspace, it displays a massive window. This window doesn't collaborate properly with the panels of the editing workspace. To get this situation fixed, you may get it into a floating window.
Widgets for graphical effects
When a special effect is applied to a video clip on HitFilm Express, there are ways to control it. You can either use a slider or numerical menus as well. The new version of this software offers a graphical way to control these effects. You can just select an effect, and you will see the controls.
Composite shots come with improved masking
Even if the new versions associated with HitFilm Express offer better functionality, the compositor is a decent option. In fact, the timeline allows you to create simple effects, and the compositor is ideal for complex tasks. New features linked with composite shots can allow you to apply and modify masks into the viewer. This can be done through the Pen tool.
If you intend to incorporate motion graphics into the videos, you will get three new effects. These effects allow you to offer an easier way to move the elements without dealing with multiple keyframes. When it comes to effects like ‘Acceleration,' ‘Gravity,' ‘Throw‘ etc., they generally do what the respective names suggest. So, there is no need to explain them in detail. The important thing is that you can combine the behaviors.
As a result of the recent updates, you can export the movie in the background. This is handy in terms of productivity. Because you can keep working on the editing module while the video is exported. You will see the word ‘Export‘ in the Edit screen itself.
The project panel allows you to view the editor timeline with composite shots as well. When it comes to previewing windows, it shows the file information like size, framerate, duration, etc.
Starter pack (an Add-on)
HitFilm Express is indeed considered to be one of the best free video editors. However, some of the new features of this software are not completely available with its ‘Starter Pack.'
But, on the other hand, it has some good features as well. For instance, it can add text effects in the timeline itself. There is a popup menu to enter the text you want. You can change the properties like opacity, font, color, etc. in this text conveniently. In addition to that, there is a series of transformation as well. It includes position, rotation, and it also lets you move text within the frame (anywhere). Also, it allows you to compose subtitles or even the labels.
Depending on the type of the clip, the difficulty of seeing the anchor point will differ. It also comprises of a picture-in-picture effect. It comes in your starter pack. If you've shot a video in a vertical orientation, converting it to a horizontal version is a really painstaking task. Thankfully HitFilm Express comes with a special feature called vertical-video to address this issue.
Performance of HitFilm Express
HitFilm Express is capable of running in most of the computers that are manufactured after 2012. However, it is needless to say that this app runs smoothly if the specifications of the computer are better. In other words, the better the specifications, the better the performance. For instance, your computer should at least have a separate graphics card to run HitFilm Express without lags.
In general, HitFilm Express was known for its relatively slow performance. This issue is not addressed by their recent update as well. In fact, the app shows some lags when you compare it with both 30 fps and 60 fps framerate. Even with the recent update, HitFilm Express shows the same slow performance.
What if you go for HitFilm Express upgrade?
In this HitFilm Express review, we mentioned that HitFilm Express is a decent option as a free video editor. However, by upgrading to its pro version, there are some features you can exclusively enjoy. If you are using HitFilm Express 8 or a newer version, you can go for an upgrade easily. To do that, you don't need to download a new app. Instead, you can upgrade it to the newest version without trouble. The configurations, in-app purchases, add-ons, presets, workspace arrangements, etc. will remain as they were. Thus, you don't have to worry about reconfiguring or rearranging the interface. Nevertheless, you cannot necessarily run projects created in new projects in old versions of HitFilm Express.
It is absolutely true that HitFilm Express has some great features. Also, it is capable of helping you to create nice videos with good effects. However, as mentioned earlier, HitFilm Express is not the only option for video editors. There are plenty of other video editors to select from. Wondershare FilmoraPro is a superb option for you to consider. If you are looking for an exceptionally user-friendly video editor, this is a good option. Also, Wondershare FilmoraPro comes with a large range of features to perform tasks like rotating, splitting, trimming, cropping, etc. In addition to that, it allows you to merge and perform other video editing tasks with ease.
Wondershare FilmoraPro can also handle advanced features like auto audio synchronization, animation, keyframing, and even color tuning. Besides, there are plenty of effects tools to make wonderful effects using this handy software. Once the editing is done with FilmoraPro, you can simply upload the video footage to online video sharing platforms. Namely, you can upload videos to YouTube, Vimeo, etc. directly.
In a nutshell, Wondershare FilmoraPro is a great alternative to HitFilm Express. That is exactly why we have included this software in our HitFilm Express review.
Conclusion on HitFilm Express Review
In simplest terms, HitFilm Express is a superb upgrade due to various reasons we have mentioned already. It offers loads of improvements and features with new functionalities. With its latest upgrade, the interface of the software has become exceptionally inventive and user-friendly.
Thanks to the iterative update scheme, you will experience excellent convenience. As per this scheme, you don't have to keep an eye on the upgrades that come pretty consistently. One of the most attractive features linked to HitFilm Express update is having more functionality in software's editor timeline. Thanks to this feature, the user doesn't have to go back and forth from compositor. In the previous versions, going back and forth from compositor was a real inconvenience and distracting for the users.
To experience features such as animated text in the timeline, vertical video, and picture-in-picture, you should spend $9.99. To be honest, we don't prefer such cost for those must-have features.
In this HitFilm Express review, we also appreciate the fact that they offer plenty of learning videos. If you are a total novice, these videos might be immensely helpful.
As we mentioned in this HitFilm Express review, Wondershare FilmoraPro is a great alternative. It can help you create all the effects available in HitFilm Express with very less effort and greater convenience. So, you may try Wondershare FilmoraPro as well.