The changes to the community over the last couple of months were really just laying the groundwork for the launch of the new HitFilm blog and forums – which have now arrived.

Throughout 2014 the FXHOME web team have been working hard behind the scenes to bring you a completely redesigned community experience – whether you’re joining conversations on the forum or reading our latest article.

Not just a news feed

We’ve had enough of company blogs being repositories for dull press releases. The HitFilm blog is about something more – it’s about movies, and filmmaking, and HitFilm, and the creative community that surrounds us. You’ll get insight into how FXHOME works, glimpses behind the scenes of the company, and there’ll be less corporate filtering between you and the voice of the writers whether that’s myself, Simon, Axel or future guests.

It’s about having something to say.

To do this, we needed to rethink a few things.

The header image, the formatting and the white space either side of the blog have all been designed to get you the most important stuff front and center, with no unnecessary distractions. It’s the perfect reading experience; stripping out anything that isn’t part of the story.

Every detail has been considered

Videos and images have been given the same treatment, with bold image splashes and beautifully low profile video embeds making it easy to read without distraction – you’ll see these in action in upcoming articles.

Every detail has been considered. “In the search for a font, we wanted something more modern, unique and easy to read,” says FXHOME lead web dev Rikki Loades. “In the end we settled on Lato, a sans-serif font with thin and very crisp weights and a large X height. With the header images we wanted them to act like book covers. We wanted to excite people with a really nice visual representation of what they are about to read.”

Being able to read on the move is crucial, so we’ve optimized the blog across all devices, making for a great reading experience wherever you are.

“Designing websites for mobile devices forces you to really simplify the construction of the pages and focus on what matters,” says Rikki. “Traditionally you would design for a fixed screen size and resolution but a multi-column layout does not scale down to the physical size and aspect ratio of a mobile device screen. On top of this, interaction methods must be considered. You are forced to find things which work across multiple device input mechanisms.”

The blog isn’t the only part of the community to have been upgraded.

A place to share ideas

The forum is all about discussion and we’ve done everything we can to make that a fast, easy and engaging.

The main change is that we’ve swapped things around. You now get shown the very latest discussions up front when you visit the forum, so you don’t need to worry about choosing a category – the best content is all right there and you won’t miss anything (working much like the old hub widget). If you want to filter down to a specific category you can still do that, of course.

“We wanted to provide a good browsing experience on any device”

Geoffrey Papin, web dev

Posting a new discussion is now simpler and faster, letting you focus in on what you’re actually writing. If you’re showing off your work you’ll find that your content now looks much more striking.

Present your ideas in a simple, striking format

It’s much easier to keep track of discussions when on the move, with the forum now scaling nicely across multiple devices. We’d noticed that mobile users were bouncing right off the forums, no doubt because the previous design was unwieldy on small touchscreens. Writing that epic reply on your phone is now considerably less fiddly.

The new design grew out of observing how people have used the forums over the last three years. There’s been an amazing diversity of topics and a real sophistication to the debates. This new setup will only help that interaction get even better.

Keep an eye out and you’ll see me, Simon, Axel and some other staff popping up here and there. FXHOME has always tried to have as few barriers as possible between the people making the products and those using it.

Go explore

Read. Comment. Discuss. The new forums and blog are waiting for you – browse the discussions and join in, or create your own new topic – it’s your community. We’ve got an exciting line-up of blog posts coming over the next few months, diving into all kinds of topics from creator culture to trailer sound editing and scriptwriting techniques.

There’s more to come before the end of the 2014, so stay tuned.