Several technical questions how Hitfilm uses the Hardware

toastitoasti Website User Posts: 3

Hello Hitfilm community,

I am a beginner in film making and was using Premiere Elements 13, but since a colleague suggested to have a look on Hitfilm Express the plan is to switch over.

My plan is to use it on my old Dell T3400 Workstation which has an AMD Radeon 4650 graphics card, 8 GB RAM and an Intel Core 2 Duo Extreme with 3,2GHz.

Hard disks will be 2 x Western Digital Black 1 TB and one 500 GB normal hard disk.

What I want is to edit my film material out of my GoPro 4 Silver, normally Full HD - not more.

So the first question: Do you mean it make sense to start with that config? Will Hitfilm run with an Intel Core 2 Duo?

Which components are the bottleneck?

I have already planned to upgrade the graphics card if needed and the hard disk. But regarding the hard disk I am wondering how to use it to get the maximum performance. How is Hitfilm using the hard disks? Is it "enough" to have all the material which I will import on a slower hard disk (I think of the clips I have converted into a loseless code to have a good speed in editing which are very very big) or should they be on a SSD? Or is it enough to have the system and Hitfilm on a SSD? Is there a project folder where Hitfilm chaches data?

It would be nice if you can help me out with this.

Many thanks!


  • toastitoasti Website User Posts: 3

    Oh, forgot one question:

    How is Hitfilm using the graphics card and its GPU? Is it only important to have minimum OpenGL 2.0 support or is also a minimum of RAM important?

    I just want to use it with minimal investment - if possible, to edit the film without long waiting times for rendering while I am editing etc. I hate that on Premiere Elements 13. But the mistake was probably here that I have imported the H.264 files which needed a lot of performance.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,301 Ambassador

    Unfortunately your system is under minimum specs. 

    Recommended specs can be found here:

    You'll see both your CPU and GPU are under minimums. Sorry about that. 

    Hitfilm uses the CPU mostly for video encoding and decoding along with managing disk I/O. In Hitfilm Pro the CPU also calculates particle physics. The GPU handles all rendering and drawing to screen. 

    The amount of VRAM on the GPU directly effects how complex a shot you can build. This is more important in Pro when using 3D models and particle sims. Also in Pro,  4 GB or more of VRAM is needed to work with higher than 4k media and projects. If you're working in 1080 this isn't as critical, but it's good to know as you consider planning for the future. 

    You're already aware that h.264 is a high-overhead codec. There are several threads on this forum discussing different codecs and conversions to improve performance, although even h.264 can be optimized for speedier performance. A good example is here:

    Those transcode settings will also be useful as long as you're in Premiere Elements. 

    Hitfilm Pro 2017 reads Cineform. I'm not certain if the (eventual) Hitfilm Express 2017 will read Cineform, but, if it does, that's one of the better performing codecs. As a GoPro owner you should already have the software to convert to Cineform. 

    Hitfilm does use cache folders and proxy folders. 

    Your current disc setup? SSDs are a lot faster--but more expensive. You have three drives, so you can improve performance (Hitfilm and Premiere Elements) by having your source video on (say) drive D: but rendering to E:. At least that way you don't have one platter with the read/write head always jumping around. 

    In general, the importance for hardware, from most to least, is GPU, RAM, CPU,  storage. However, since your CPU is under minimum spec, your order is different. 

    I think that covers everything? 

  • toastitoasti Website User Posts: 3

    Many thanks for your detailed answer! :-)

    Sad to hear that my Dell Workstation will no more see Hitfilm on its disk...

    There's another possibility, do you think that works?

    At the moment I am using my HP Elitebook 8540p with a SSD for Premiere Elements. It has a NVIDIA Quadro NVS 5100M graphics card and 8 GB RAM. Problem is that I can only use external drives or I change my internal DVD to another hard disk to extend the space for video converting to a codec which is more editing friendly. At the moment I have all my "raw" data for importing on an external disk and it was ok, except the lags regarding the H.264 files.

    I could also use the 2 Western Digital Black which are very fast by USB in an external case to take advantage from it without much investment. Then I can write from one USB disk to another to prevent that the read/write head jumps around. Thanks for this info - didn't think of it. But, yes, make sense.

    So I think I will stay on Hitfilm 4 Express to just edit my family and GoPro films, then the Quadro from my laptop could maybe ok?

    A colleague from the marketing department suggested to use DnxHD from Avid as intermediate format for editing. What do you think, Cineform or DnxHD? You are right, the GoPro Studio can convert to Cineform ;-)

    How to get more performance out of H.264 files is also very useful, thank you! Will take a try.


  • PalaconoPalacono Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 3,442 Enthusiast

    Hitfilm 4 Express already reads Cineform AVI files, so putting the files through GoPro Studio will improve performance at the expense of much larger files; about 1.5GB per minute for 1080p @59.94fps if the clip I just tried is anything to judge by.

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