"Is this something that can be improved?" aka playback performance
I believe it can be improved but it may not likely be thing(s) obvious that the devs just have to be allocated time to work on.
Is is common for people to say Hitfilm does not work well with AVC or "delivery formats". That is all a bunch of BS and sidestepping the matter. Use an editing codec is a euphemism for, our app is slower than others. Hitfilms performance with AVC/H.264, mpeg-2 and DNxHD are all lower than something like Vegas which I have and can directly compare against. Forum reports would seem to indicate that a similar relative comparison statement can be made about Premiere and FCPX to Hitfilm. I can see a similar better performance in Vegas with the same media relative to Hitfilm regardless of codec.
Things like most AVC files just have a higher resource utilization when compared to something like DNxHD. The only time anyone cares is when the scales tip towards bad and stutters and that happens most often with AVC files since it typically, but not absolutely, has the highest overhead relative to other codecs. The total overhead is the sum of decode and Hitfilm internals. We as users can only change the decode portion of the equation.
Vegas is using the same Mainconcept decoders as Hitfilm so you cannot point at that but have to look at Hitfilm internal dataflow after decode.
AVC is probably the most common camera delivery codec these days so it is kind of an important thing to perform well with such. At least close to other apps out there.
There are a number of things that Hitfilm is not so speedy at relatively speaking to other NLEs. Here is one curious one I ran across recently.
Take a simple video file and put it in a comp. For this test, the file should playback smoothly. In realtime. Now build a ram preview. The curious thing is that the ram preview is slower than basic playback. Slower than the realtime it is able to do playback at.
I have not bothered to try and analyze/quantify this as yet but something like 30p is only a little slower and 60p is a lot slower. So what does Vegas do. It builds a ram preview at 2-5 times faster than realtime depending on the source codec and framerate. This behavior makes sense to me since my machine is fast and most files can be decoded at a faster rate than realtime. Allocating memory and copying/saving each frame into that memory should not be taking any appreciable time. Yet in Hitfilm, WTF?
Alas, as much as I like Hitfilm 4 Pro and the Hitfilm crew, I have to agree with the two posters above. I feel that there should be more attention to upgrade the NLE portion of the program. It seems that the main focus is on the comp-site of the product. I bought the software to have both in one go.
Before I bought Hitfilm I used Vegas Pro 12 and it performed normal without any need to convert a file. Even if the footage was much longer than the separate scenes I'm editing now. Also: I did this on a machine with at least half the power of the one I use now. Compared to Hitfilm it went like a train. Therefore I can't imagine that Hitfilm would perform well on whatever laptop. I read that statement all of the time, but just can't see how this should be possible.
Before Sony Vegas Pro 12 I used Premiere Pro CS3 and Vegas was much faster. OK, CS3 is much older of course.
In the meantime I consider switching back to Vegas Pro or Premiere Pro and use Hitfilm only for the comp-work. What I feel is kind of sad when I think about that I bought the total package in order to have a one-stop-shop-solution for my post processing.
I don't know how Davinci Resolve performs. Any ideas if this would be an alternative for the NLE-portion? I'm very reluctant now with diving into a system that I don't know, even if it's free.
Don't get me wrong, I really like Hitfilm and the whole concept. I also like the community here in the forum and the responsiveness of the staff. However, some things are very disappointing.
I mentioned them earlier: I use the volume-wheel on my keyboard and the video editor stops playing. Really? This is such a basic thing and this is just one of them.
I agree with an opinion expressed above. Hitfilm is too much focused to comp-side and editor portion is sluggish and has a poor performance by comparing with other NLEs. Also it seems that Devs currently don't pay enough attention to, it would seem little, but important details in workflow. In my opinion, too much attention is paid for new exciting features, especially on comp-side. As I have mentioned before, currently there are a lot of, what I like to call, unconsidered things in editor workflow.
Some examples: Where is ability to create comp shot from multiple selected clips? Why does hotkey for rate stretch tool is not yet available, is it rarely used tool that it doesn't require a hotkey? Why there is no ability in Hitfilm to move envelopes in editor for multiple clips selected at the same time? Why the only way is to move envelope of each clip individually? Especially this is relevant for audio clips. I don't think so that a lot of people often move opacity envelopes from several clips.
So, Dear Devs of Hitfilm please give a lot more attention to editor workflow. Comp side is advanced enough in comparison with other NLEs, but editor is fairly basic and not enough optimized. Please don't forget that Your idea is to develop one solution for editing and compositing. What I've noticed is that only very few improvements visible for standard users were applied on editor-side, but there are a lot of changes visible on comp side. Of course, we standard users can't see the coding changes of Hitfilm. There may be many coding things changed and of course there are, but standard users normally don't notice that much. Programming is extremely difficult task and requires a great deal of time and effort. That's I've wanted to say. Thanks for reading.
Interestingly enough, Resolve doesn't do very well with H.264 footage either. Same with Scratch.
The best solution for working with H.264 footage in an NLE is probably proxying. A lot of NLEs generate media optimized for playback while importing footage anyway... that was the most time consuming part of importing footage into FCPX when I was first getting into the field of filmmaking. Now I work with codecs intended for editing, so I don't have to worry about that part any more. The NLEs just make links and let you get started... though for 4K I'll need faster drives.
Yeah, I have a good and quite a specific idea from practical side, how would it be possible to much easier to deal with adding text on videos. How about automating this process? Please make button for adding text available in viewer while being in editor. Currently it's only available in comp side viewer. Add it below hand tool (translate) icon. How this should work from practical side and not viewing from developer's eyes?
Adding text via editor viewer, should create a new comp shot, with that text that you've entered before and put it above the video and current frame in editor. But I can see a potential problem in that situation. It's composite shot length, by default it's 30 seconds. Normally users don't need that long text duration. Normally one title doesn't take 30 seconds or minute.
What about, if I want that keep the default comp shot 30 sec duration, but I want to use different default duration for automated text comp? Please separate this things. My suggestion is very specific, but I'm not a programmer and I don't know how it's difficult to implement this. I suggest an extremely difficult task. Please add to options dialog box, general tab, one more line somewhere between Composite shot default duration and Timeline default duration. Possible names: Text composite default duration, Editor text default duration. Just pick up which is grammatically correct. You will probably guess what is its purpose: set default text comp shot duration which is created from editor viewer. If you haven't implemented that idea, please don't add that line, because this setting will do nothing. I warned you. Thanks.
One more idea. How about adding two more checkboxes in options general tab, somewhere below "Show help links"? One for disabling home screen material: tutorials, links, actually I don't know how this is called. This could be named "Disable news feed material" or somewhat similar.
Another checkbox could be "Disable auto updates". You may ask why these are required? The answer is the same in both cases: limited internet connection. What about disable auto updates, you will say our software is getting more and more advanced with each update and how this guy wants to disable auto updates blah, blah, blah? The answer is troubleshooting purposes. Newer is not always better and more stable. Programming is a hard and unpredictable task. Take a look to Adobe software: crashy and buggy with newer updates. People would agree that CS6 is much more stable than CC stuff. Please do not make discussion about Adobe software, I don't need that. Thanks.
Reduce conflict/fighting between arrow keys. I really don't like that default previous/next frame hotkeys are comma and period. There is ability to change that and it's OK. I want to change it to left and right arrows. But arrow keys, including left and right by default moves layer position by 1 pixel. There is no ability to make them work at the same time. This is the hard decision. So maybe I suggest just, if clip in timeline is selected or nothing is selected, left and right arrows should move next/previous frame. However there is a difficulty. If layer in viewer is selected, left right arrows should move layer to left and right by 1 pixel. It's an extremely difficult task. Really.
I would like if Hitfilm would borrow step forward/back many frames option from Premiere. Please don't copy this feature, just borrow. How about adding one more line to options dialog box, maybe under general tab or under cache tab, because frame is also caching? This could "Jump forward/back many" and box to specify number. Also shortcuts by 10 frames will be not suitable. They could be renamed, like that "Jump back by many frames", also similar with forward. For copyright avoiding purposes from Premiere change word step to jump, and remove " - Units" part. That's my advice, thanks.
Wow, too many ideas. This is simple enough suggestion in comparison with previous suggestions. Two hotkeys/keyboard shortcuts. First for opening options dialog box. It could be ctrl+comma or ctrl+k or ctrl+p. Why this trifle is required? Macs has a one extra title bar on top, because GUI on Windows and Mac OS is quite different. I saw many Hitfilm tutorials that people were using on Macs, it's not so convenient to pull an extra grey title bar and search for options button. I'm Windows user (currently I'm using 7, sorry Windows 10), but I also want that this small thing would be implemented. Just for convenience.
Second for "Scale to Fit" option in viewer. Someone there already suggested to button for that option instead of drop down menu. But programming GUI is hard task and it's not necessary in the following case. I found somewhere that older versions of After Effects used forward slash key for similar option. Hitfilm could also use that key for that option. I suggest one key instead of combination, such as ctrl+alt+f. It would more convenient way than using drop down menu each time.
Unfortunately, I forgot to mention one more thing. This is also triffle. Why not all keyboard shortcuts are customizable? For example, I wanted to change redo from ctrl+y to ctrl+shift+z and rename from F2 to ctrl+r. The only possible way change locked hotkeys is to use Autohotkey send functionality. But scripting is a difficult task and has a side effects. [Implemented HitFilm 2017]
Another thing, that I've forgot to mention is that PageUp and PageDown keys to move from clip end and start, could be changed to Up and Down arrow keys by default, only if arrow keys conflict/fighting in viewer and timeline, that I've mentioned before, would be solved. Maybe that's all. If I forgot more things I'll edit this comment.
Today I got one more idea. It's about exported files auto naming. Currently, if I export video, there is an empty line, you have to enter file name. Hitfilm should read project name and apply it to exported files automatically. If project never has been saved, then there is should be an empty line. Also, I forgot to mention thing so I edited this comment. After Effects has ability to name exported videos with names of compositions. An example to simple explanation: if editor timeline export option is selected in export screen and project was saved in project.hfp name, render name should be project.mp4. Another situation with comp shot names reading. If timeline - composite shot name option is selected, it should read comp shot name. This is enough for now. Thanks.
+1 to that.
@Palacono I thought that nobody was reading this this thread. So, I really appreciate your feedback. Thanks.
@AlreadyTaken I'm sure everyone reads it, although it does feel a bit like you are yelling into a big empty cave. But when enough people yell the same thing the echoes combine with each other and when they are loud enough some of the sounds escapes through a small crack at the back of the cave where it rises up a tube and out of one of those things that you see on ships on old movies where they yell "Ramming speed!" and into a room where the developers sleep between shifts.The echoes are fairly quiet after their long journey, so they don't wake the developers, but they seep into their dreams and sometimes, sometimes they wake up with a strange desire to add some cool new feature. Of course, they think they thought of the ideas themselves, so let's not tell them the truth, or they might awake and dismiss the ideas as weird nightmares.. Oh No!..I may have said too much...
We do read this thread and come back to it every now and then to read it again, or to find out what was actually wanted when starting working on a new feature.
Keep the suggestions coming
Oh and by the way, we did make quite a few improvements on the editing side for HitFilm 4: http://hitfilm.com/pro/whats-new#workflow-editing
@CedricBonnier And a lot of changes in source code. These things are not noticeable for standard users. But changes in comp portion of software are clearly visible in comparison with previous versions of Hitfilm. My suggestions are quite specific, but I'm not a programmer, so I can't know how is it difficult to implement this. By the way, thanks for feedback.
@AlreadyTaken I +1 pretty much all you have said and I have said a lot of that as well. I have not been shy about posting a laundry list of suggestions on this thread as well as a long list originally sent to support.
I would agree that the NLE seems like the forgotten child and has workflow issues. Hitfilm eats mouse batteries. In some sense it comes down to how one looks at Hitfilm. Is it a compositor, like After Effects or is it a general video content creation tool. Create your video and do some effects...whatever you want, we got you covered. The NLE side may not be as sexy as compositing and effects but in creating a video everyone uses the NLE, and use it a lot.
As for difficult to implement, that can vary by suggestion. Take your last item. Auto filling in of the render filename with the project and/or composite shot name. This is a good idea and this is evidenced in that other software normally does things like this for its users. Something like that should only take 5 minutes to do. Other things not so quick.
Dunno if this has been posted yet, buuut has anyone suggested stabilization capabilities similar to Warp Stabilization for premiere and ae?
@AxelWilkinson looking through the wishlist on page one I see a few desired features are now implemented and can be crossed off. Comments in italics
For other users, look! These are things implemented after Axel's 1/12/16 update of the original list! They're adding our features!
Ok, new suggestion. Modify behavior of J and L keys for acceleration/deceleration? I.e. Press L once for playback at 1/4x speed, again for 1/2x, 1x, 2x, 4x. If playing forward at 1x (for example) then J reduces to 1/2x, 1/4x then to 1/4x reverse. This is both a useful behavior on it's own, and super handy for those with programmable shuttle/jogs. Lets just call this "vari-speed JKL keys."
@Triem - yes, this list does need updated. I haven't done much to update it since I posted it in January, in fact. There are items to scratch off, as you mention, and more items to add. Hopefully I'll get the time one of these days.
I've got one. Could someone fix the forum software to not show people's names twice (or name and a blank) instead of name and avatar? I think it only affects those without a custom avatar, as @Triem23 @AxelWilkinson etc. show up fine.
I was excited when that was added but my fonts still don't work. Something in Hitfilm's code assumes a font must be in the Windows "fonts" folder. It is an invalid assumption and nothing else makes this assumption (e.g. Boris and others).
They work if a font is installed and copied to the fonts folder. I keep my fonts categorized in a separate folder and most are not installed into the operating system at any given time. I use a font manager app to browse and install/uninstall as desired. Apps can get slow when you have a bazillion fonts installed, let alone the font list length becoming crazy.
It would be good to have a slider to adjust the itensity when using LUT's.
At this moment LUT's can be loaded and that's it. A intensity slider would be great.
@MarioKluser here's a workaround. Isolate the LUT on its own grade layer, then adjust the transparency of the grade layer. That'll basically give you the same control. :-)
@Triem23 actually I hoped that you would react and come with a work around :-)
So if I have a scene where I want to use a specific LUT, I have to create a composite of every clip that is used in that scene.
Here's an idea that I don't think has been mentioned: Shortcut for selecting a clip. I saw someone use their video game controller for editing their videos. Looked fun, so I wanted to give it a try. Doesn't work if there's no shortcut for selecting a clip though.
@MarioKluser nah. First, create a random Composite Shot and stick in any media. Add the LUT you want, then right-click the effect and choose "Create Preset." You can delete the Comp.
In the Editor Timeline use the select tool to draw a box around all your video. Copy and paste to a new track. On the top track, again, select all clips then drag and drop the preset LUT effect you just made. It should put the LUT on all clips (I just did this myself to check).
You have to manually adjust opacity for each clip, but we still saved a lot of labor.
Feature Request: Still hoping for track-level effects and transform controls (and bin level, too.).
@Triem23 Thank you so much. I will try this as soon as I get back home. You're a hero!
@MarioKluser I am neither Police, Fire or EMT. No heroics here, but thanks.
Feature Request. Firehose, Handcuff and Defibrillation filters.
@Triem23 I sent you message on your profile. Otherwise I post too much off-topic comments on this threat.