I want to upgrade to Pro but I have a technical issue with Hitfilm

JohnAbrahamJohnAbraham Website User Posts: 12

I want to upgrade to Pro while the sale is going on, however I wanted to know if an issue I'm having will be addressed anytime soon.

I'm currently using Express to edit footage from my Panasonic G7. It's 4k30p MP4 files. They import fine and for the most part everything works other than the fact that it's incredibly laggy to move around in my timeline when the preview mode is set to either "full" or "start/end". Only when I turn the preview mode to "none" can I easily go through my footage and play it without hitching in the video and audio, however even then I can't scrub through the footage smoothly.

My PC shouldn't be a problem here either. I have a 6700k stock, 32GB RAM, and a GTX 1080. Is there any way to get better performance? I really want to put down the $300 for this excellent piece of software but it's hard to justify if I'm not getting an ideal use experience. 


  • CedricBonnierCedricBonnier Staff Administrator, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 1,190 Staff

    @JohnAbraham we are aware of the issue regarding the thumbnails and film previews. We have started working on fixing it but until the work is done and tested we cannot say when a fix will be published. The only thing I can say is that we're keeping an eye on the forums and are doing our best to fix what's possible.

  • Aladdin4dAladdin4d Moderator Website User, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,509 Enthusiast

    @JohnAbraham HitFilm's performance with h.264 video is not as good some other packages and working with 4k in general is going to be pretty harsh. There's some good info in this thread about getting better performance.


    Keep in mind that thread is dealing with 1080p HD clips and 4k is four times the data. Being very realistic even using @NormanPCN 's low decode overhead settings for h.264 in Handbrake or transcoding to Cineform to get the full benefit of Pro 2017's excellent native support more than two concurrent streams of 4k footage (@ preview full) is going to max out your CPU just because of the sheer amount of data involved. 

    Luckily there are other things to help in Pro 2017 like better RAM preview and another benefit of native Cineform support - lowering the preview to half or quarter with Cineform gives you more bang for the buck than it does with say h.264 video.

  • JohnAbrahamJohnAbraham Website User Posts: 12

    CedricBonnier That's good to hear. There's nothing I can do about the scrubbing issue though? Like I said, even with the preview mode set to none I can't scrub through my footage smoothly. Does Hitfilm run better with, say, an 8 core processor? 

  • NormanPCNNormanPCN Website User Posts: 3,950 Enthusiast

    @JohnAbraham As Aladdin4d said. 4K has four times the data. Do you think your computer was only working at less than 1/4 when working with 1080 material. Probably not, which would indicate 4k likely not being smooth on the same PC all else being equal.

    I would say that > 4 cores is desired for 4k work. This is a basic opinion on so following some basic tests on my machine. flat 4Ghz 4770k, GTX 980.  4K GH4 MOV files. Renaming MOV to MP4 improved things (avoid quicktime avc) dramatically and then a transcode cleaned up the rest. There is a post somewhere where I listed this.

    It is worth mentioning that Vegas has always recommended 8-core for 4k work. I believe 4-cores can work for basic 4k work but the CPU will be pegged when trying to do simple transitions on the timeline. Slight stutters probable. Or compositing a couple of media streams. Really two streams at least pegs a 4 core to the wall with 4k. Some formats will go over limit.

    One this that is almost mandatory, IMO, is to use low decode overhead media files to work in 4k. AVC files out of cameras do not qualify in this regard. Cineform, DNxHR, Prores are prime edit choices and a lower decode overhead AVC setting is also an option. The AVC option can save some file size versus the others if that is a concern.

    If scrubbing is your thing then the I-frame only options like Cineform, DNxHR and Prores are your best targets. Low decode AVC with a short GOP can scrub quite well. I've not tested 4k scrubbing in low decode AVC on my machine. Only you can decide what is acceptable scrubbing performance. Your camera AVC files are going to scrub slowly. Even high overhead AVC 1080p30 can be slow to scrub.

    I don't know if Hitfilm yet supports Cineforms ability to directly decode to lower res, but when Hitfilm does (and it should!!!) then things can really fly when the viewer is at half which is still 1080 HD. You can have your cake and eat it too with 4k.

    With your GTX 1080 you should have no worries about effects slowing things down in 4k. The CPU is your bottleneck with the basic media file decode. Transcoding can/does help that out significantly/dramatically.

  • JohnAbrahamJohnAbraham Website User Posts: 12

    Thanks for the responses, Aladdin4d and NormanPCN.

    What's the best way to go about converting my footage to a more edit friendly format? 

  • Aladdin4dAladdin4d Moderator Website User, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,509 Enthusiast

    @JohnAbraham I'll let @NormanPCN handle the low decode overhead h.264 because he is the definitive expert on that. 

    If you do purchase the Windows version of Pro 2017 then Cineform should be at or near the top of the list. In this thread I cover how to use VirtualDub (free) to import and transcode to Cineform.


    Since I wrote that I found out about VirtualDub FilterMod which is still VirtualDub but includes native import filters so you don't need to mess around with the import plugins leaving GoPro Quik/Studio the only other thing you need to download and install. You could use GoPro Studio by itself to transcode as well but I personally don't particularly care for its workflow. 


  • NormanPCNNormanPCN Website User Posts: 3,950 Enthusiast
    edited December 2016

    @JohnAbraham My most recent post in the thread linked by Aladdin4d has some info on AVC transcode. The OP there is looking to boost performance of multi-layer compositing. I'll list that thread again here.


    To transcode to Cineform I've used GoPro studio a little. It is free and easy enough to try. It can read any file MP4/MOV that is AVC/H.264 based. This includes basically every DSLR type camera. Aladdin4d has you covered with Virtualdub. 

    To transcode to DNxHD/HR or Prores, I think Convert works pretty well for something with a GUI. It is not free but is very cheap and the author is quite responsive. If you want ffmpeg scripts to do DNxHD/HR or Prores I can give you those if you want. I don't use most of them but I wrote them just for forum people, to provide something easy to use should one so desire. ffmpeg gives anal retentive types control over every picky little option. Yea, I'm one of those.

    In Pro 2017 and Native Cineform support this might be the best choice between (Cineform/DNx/Prores) since you avoid Quicktime. For reference AVC in MP4 is native in Hitfilm as well.

     "What's the best way". We can provide a menu. You can pick an item that is especially tasty to your palette. Ask any question(s) you want.

  • JohnAbrahamJohnAbraham Website User Posts: 12

    NormanPCN Wow. Thanks for all the great information.

    I'm trying GoPro Studio now. Looks like the options are pretty sparse. Do I just import the footage and convert with the result being Cineform? I don't see any options as far as formats go. 

  • NormanPCNNormanPCN Website User Posts: 3,950 Enthusiast

    GoPro studio really only transcodes to GoPro/Cineform.  The advanced settings button will bring up a dialog for settings. You can choose AVI or MOV. You want AVI. It defaults to Medium quality mode. You can check/test out the other settings. High is commonly used. 

    If you use GoPro studio to edit videos then it does have export options to output AVC but that is only when you want to use it as an editor. Note that GoPro installs Quick and Studio. Studio is the app you want to use.

    Step 1 in studio is all you need. You import your media. You can optionally trim if you want. Then you add the clip(s) to the conversion queue. Once you have added everything to the queue, then you click convert. After that you can just skip step 2 and exit the app. Step 2 takes you into the basic video editor.

  • JohnAbrahamJohnAbraham Website User Posts: 12

    So I'm getting better performance with the Cineform footage. I can scrub more smoothly and the preview seems to be working more acceptably. Downside is this will add another step to my workflow and the file sizes for the Cineform footage is over 3 times that of my MP4. It's a tossup whether to just run with the MP4 and bare with the lag or to go through the process of converting all my footage. 

    I wish I could set it up to automatically convert new files in a specified folder like with Adobe Media Encoder. 

  • Aladdin4dAladdin4d Moderator Website User, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,509 Enthusiast

    @JohnAbraham I don't know of a way off the top of head to have VirtualDub work with a watch folder but the job control window has an option to process an entire folder using the current settings.

  • NormanPCNNormanPCN Website User Posts: 3,950 Enthusiast

    "Downside is this will add another step to my workflow and the file sizes for the Cineform footage is over 3 times that of my MP4."

    That is the downside of transcoding to intermediate formats like Cineform, DNx and Prores. 3-5x filesize. 

    The size is in part why is fiddled with x264 to get AVC decode performance up. Mostly I read online comments that AVC is not an edit format and I took that as a challenge to make AVC "editable". Not that I did anything smart. x264 has an in your face option that does most of the setup.

  • JohnAbrahamJohnAbraham Website User Posts: 12

    Cool. Well thanks to you both for the information. Very much appreciated.

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