Finding your way around


If this is the first editing software you've used, or if you've only used basic editors, it won't take long to get used to the new layout and features.

If you've used editing software before, the Edit & Effects screen should feel familiar, with the standard timeline, viewer and project media list.

Understanding the Edit & Effects screen

The Edit & Effects screen is split into several separate areas. These are called containers. A container can display several different panels. There are three types of container:

Timeline containers - here you'll find your editor sequence and any open composite shots.
Viewer containers - the visual representation of your currently selected timeline.
General containers - all other containers can display any combination of the Media, Controls, Effects, Text and History panels.

example container

Above you can see an example container in which there are three panels: Effects, Text and History. Currently the Effects panel is visible.

Default layout

The standard layout of the Edit & Effects screen is optimized for a fast and efficient workflow. If you are a HitFilm Ultimate user you can customize the layout to suit your own preferences.

On the left are the Media and Controls panels. These give you easy access to all your project elements and properties.
Centre-top are the Effects, Text and History panels.
Top-right is the Viewer panel, which shows you what your project actually looks like. Here you can make changes and playback your work.
Running along the bottom is the Editor sequence. This is where you make all your decisions when editing your movie. Composite shots are also be displayed here when you are working on them.

Understanding timelines

timeline intro

Most video editing software uses timelines to represent your movie visually. The horizontal length of a timeline represents the duration of your project, while individual clips are shown as horizontal rectangles.

Some timelines are layer-based, with each layer containing a single media asset, and some are track-based, with each track containing multiple media assets. HitFilm has both.

Editor sequence and composite shot timelines

The Edit & Effects screen uses separate timelines for editing and for visual effects work:

Editor sequence - functions like a traditional editor, with tracks that can hold multiple video, image and sound clips. This timeline is designed for editing a sequence of clips, one after another. You can only have one editor timeline per project.
Composite shots - stacked individual layers consisting of video, images, audio and effects. Composite shots are designed for visual effects, motion graphics and advanced color grading. You can have multiple composite shots per project.

Using the right timeline for the right job is very important. If you are working on visual effects or motion graphics you should be using a composite shot, otherwise you should use the Editor sequence.

Suggested workflow

If you're new to editing, visual effects, or both, the recommended workflow is as follows:

1.Import your videos and other files to the Media panel.
2.Assemble your videos on the editor sequence, trimming as required until you have at least a rough cut.
3.Convert any clips that require visual effects to composite shots using the Make Composite Shot button.
4.Work on your individual Composite shots.
5.Return to the Editor sequence to tighten the edit and add sound effects and music.

You will no doubt tweak and improve this workflow to suit your own needs as you become more familiar with HitFilm.

Don't feel that there is a 'right' or 'wrong' way to do things in HitFilm - whatever gets you good results in as short a time as possible is the way to go.

Changing between timelines

multiple timelines

Your Editor sequence is created when you start a new project and is always visible on the Edit & Effects screen.

When you create composite shots they will be added to your Project Media listing. Composite shots you're currently working on will be displayed as a timeline panel and you can switch between the Editor sequence and multiple composite shots at any time.

Only open composite shots will appear as a timeline. If you can't find your composite shot as a timeline, you can always find it in the Project Media list. Composite shots can be opened from the Media panel or dropped into another timeline like any other media item.

There are many ways to create a composite shot which are covered in the separate Creating composite shots chapter.

RECAP Your projects consist of an Editor sequence and (optionally) multiple composite shots. The main edit of your movie is done on the Editor sequence, while composite shots are used for creating visual effects, composites and motion graphics.