Introducing the Two Timelines


HitFilm's timelines are where you'll make most of your project decisions. Timelines represent your video sequences, with time running from left to right.

There are two different types of timeline: the editor timeline, where you perform track-based video editing, and composite shots, where you create layered visual effects and motion graphics.

HitFilm has one editor timeline per project. Composite shot timelines can be created at any time, and there is no limit to the number of composite shots that can be contained in a project.

Switching between timelines is as easy as changing tabs in your web browser, making for a fast, efficient workflow.

There are many similarities between the timelines. Many tools are available in both, and the playhead works the same in both cases. It's also important to understand the key differences.

The editor timeline

The editor timeline is track-based. Each track can contain multiple clips in sequence, one after another. This makes it very easy to edit your videos. Here's what it looks like:

Editor timeline

In the above example you can see there are several video and audio tracks. You can have an unlimited number of tracks in the editor. This can be used for simple compositing (picture in picture during a vlog or presentation), adding titles and logos, or for actual editing as you can see in the example above.

See Editing for full information about using the editor timeline.

Composite shot timelines

Composite shot timelines are layer-based. Each layer contains a single asset which can be highly customized, enabling you to carry out sophisticated compositing tasks.

Composite shot timeline

Layers can be expanded to display more information. In the above example the Energy Distortion layer has been expanded to show the controls for the effect applied to the layer. The left side of the timeline shows the names of the layers and properties, while the right half shows the position of layers in time. You can also see two diamond shaped icons which are keyframes. Keyframes are used to change properties over time.

Composite shots can contain large numbers of layers, each of which contains many properties. You can use the Search box at the top of the timeline to find specific layers or properties within complex timelines.

See Compositing for full information about using composite shot timelines.

Switching timelines

Looking at the top of the images above, you can see the each timeline is shown as a tab. Switching between the timelines is as simple as clicking on the relevant tab. You can do this at any time. It's just like switching tabs in your web browser.

As you create more composite shots you will see more tabs along the top of the timeline. Composite shots are also listed in the Media panel, making it easier to manage larger projects when you might not want all your timelines open simultaneously. Clicking the X icon on any tab will close that tab. Any composite shot can be re-opened by double-clicking it in the media panel.