Starting A Project


After starting HitFilm Pro you are presented with the Home screen. From here you can quickly access your recent saved projects or create a new project.

Clicking the New button will take you to the Project screen, where you set up your initial project settings:

Pro Project Screen

Templates are provided for most common video formats up to 8k resolution. You can also customize your setup and save your own templates by clicking on the Save icon.

Video

It is advisable to be familiar with the formatting details of the footage you will be editing, before you begin your project. If you know the resolution, frame rate, and aspect ratio of your footage, enter that information here. If you don't know these settings, then don't worry. You can skip them for now, and HitFilm can edit the settings later to match the video files you import.

Resolution

The project resolution which HitFilm will support is dependent on the amount of video RAM on your GPU.

Less than 1GB of video RAM supports resolutions up to 1920x1088
1GB of RAM up to 4GB will support resolutions up to 4096 x 4096
4GB or more of video RAM will support resolutions up to 8192 x 8192

Audio

Select the sample rate that you wish to use for your project. In general, this should be the same sample rate used by your video files.

Rendering

The Rendering settings affect the quality at which your project is rendered. In general, higher settings create higher quality results, at the expense of slower performance. You may want to adjust some of these settings periodically while working on a project, using lower settings while working to increase productivity, then switching to higher settings to evaluate quality, or for your final export. You can also set default values for these settings in the General tab of the HitFilm Options (Preferences on Mac).

Color Bit Depth: HitFilm can operate in 8-bit integer, 16-bit float, or 32-bit float modes.

8-bit integer is limited to 8 bits per channel, restricting colors between 0-255 values. 8-bit integer will render more quickly than 16-bit float.

16-bit float allows for increased dynamic range, retaining detail in highlights and shadows. 16-bit float will take longer to calculate and render, but produces higher quality results.

32-bit float allows for very high dynamic range, retaining maximum detail in highlights and shadows. This is particularly useful during grading or when designing visually extreme effects. 32-bit float will take longer to calculate and render, but produces the highest quality results.

You can change the color bit depth at any point in a project. One option is to carry out most of your work using the 8-bit integer mode, so you can work more quickly, then switch to 16-bit or 32-bit float for the final render.

Antialiasing Mode: Antialiasing is used to reduce 'aliasing' on diagonal lines during rendering. Antialiasing is always used during the final export and can be turned on and off while working inside HitFilm.

HitFilm Pro supports multiple antialiasing methods. The number and types of available methods will depend on your computer's video card. The further down the list of available options the bigger the performance impact and the finer the rendering quality.

More information on CSAA (external resource).

More information on MSAA (external resource).

Reflection Map size: The quality of 3D model reflections can be controlled using the reflection map. Larger reflection maps will create higher quality reflections at the cost of performance.

Note the difference in the images below. The first image has a reflection map resolution of just 256, which is too low for anything other than long distance shots:

256 reflec

Compare it to this version, which uses a reflection map resolution of 1024:

1024 reflec

The reflection in the second image is much more defined. The default setting of 512 works well for most projects, but you may want to increase the reflection map size for close-ups or projects where visual fidelity is the priority. You can set the Reflection Map size to any value up to 4096 pixels.

Shadow Map Size: This performs a similar function to the reflection map size, but for rendered 3D shadows. The default shadow resolution of 2048 pixels is suitable for many projects but can be adjusted to suit your specific needs.

A lower resolution, such as 512, will create lower quality shadows with more visible edges. However, performance will be improved so for long distance shots this may be a good trade-off.

Conversely, increasing the shadow map to 4096 pixels will create a higher quality shadow at the expense of performance.

You can change the shadow map at any point during a project, so one approach is to use a small shadow map while working on your project, then increase it to the required resolution prior to final export.

Maximum 3D Model Map size: 3D models usually include texture files. HitFilm supports diffuse, specular, normal and bump textures, each of which exists as a separate image file. Given that models can also include multiple materials, each with four available texture slots, the memory usage can become intensive if a model makes use of multiple textures.

Some GPUs are unable to handle several 4K textures at full resolution, and even if your GPU is powerful enough it will still experience a performance impact.

This setting provides an easy way to manage texture files without needing to manually resize the textures outside of HitFilm. That maximum 3D model map size puts an upper cap on the resolution of all 3D model textures. Any textures larger than the maximum will be automatically downscaled to the maximum value. If your model uses multiple 6K textures, this is a convenient way to easily downscale them to 2K on the fly.

As this can be adjusted at any time, this is a highly efficient way to control quality and performance. While animating your models and setting up your scene you may not need high quality textures, so reducing the maximum to 512 can yield a major performance boost; you can then raise the max to 4096 prior to exporting.

Note that textures smaller than the maximum 3D model map size will not be affected.

Also take a look at the Introducing the Viewer chapter for information on managing performance while working on projects.

Start Buttons

When starting a new project you have two options for getting started:

Start Compositing: Creates a new composite shot using the project settings. This is useful if you want to immediately start work on a visual effects shot.
Start Editing: Sets up your editor timeline so that you can start importing and editing your clips. Use this option if you are using HitFilm as your main editor.

You can return to the Project screen at any time to update your project settings, by clicking the Project button at the top of the HitFilm interface.