Hitfilm 4 express slow export

Da_Gigabyte Posts: 14
edited October 2018 in Post-production techniques

I've been editing a project for about 2 weeks now. I was doing some rendering tests before and it took about half an hour to render the 8 minutes long clip. But now when I am render the final clip(12 minutes long), it tells me that the remaining time is 1.5 hour and it crashes at about 15 minutes before completion. The estimated remaining time increases too and hardly ever lower. So it takes a long long time and can't even complete before it crashes. I have not updated any drivers of the GPU since the start of this project. Is there any ways I can resolve this problem?


Intel I7 4790 @3.6Ghz

Geforce GT 720 @ 200Mhz overclock

4TB external HDD

Windows 10 Home 64bit


  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 1,995 Just Starting Out
    edited October 2018

    Welcome to HitFilm! :D

    I'm sorry I'm the one that has to break this to you, but your PC is severely underspecced and very poorly balanced. A GT 720 is about on par with a modern integrated graphics (not a good thing!). 

    If this is a prebuilt, I would return it if possible. Depending on what power supply you have, and case layout, you may be able to upgrade your graphics card to something that's not glorified integrated graphics.

    HitFilm's H.264 encoder is multi-threaded and will make use of all cores and hyper-threading if available (your processor is among the best available!)

    The exporting works like this:  Render frame on GPU; encode it on CPU; render next frame on GPU; encode it on CPU.  And so on.  At periodic intervals a bunch of encoded frames will also be written into the file container on disk.  The encoding threads have to wait on the next frame to be rendered by the GPU before they can actually encode it.

    The speed of the GPU (not just in terms of processing power, but also how quickly the driver can upload textures to the GPU, and read textures from the GPU) will directly impact the utilization of the encoding threads.

    I advise you to look into a better graphics solution, in order to improve your render times. It's unfortunate, but there's no way around this problem which doesn't involve upgrading your graphics card to something better than what you currently have.

  • Your guess that is a pre-built pc is indeed correct. It is a Lenovo H30. I wasn't good at computer components back when I bought this PC. I have no clue what those specs actually means. But when I learnt about computer components via articles and YouTube videos available on the web and getting more and more familiar with them. I realised it was really unbalanced. Overclocking helps a little but cannot solve the problem entirely. The PC case width is only ~9cm, which I don't think can fit larger and more powerful graphics card in. The PSU is ~200 Watts from my memory. I really don't understand why the manufacturer designed such a computer and sell it to the consumer. Thanks for your help anyways!

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,069 Ambassador

    You should update your GPU drivers. 

    To expand on what @CNK wrote, Hitfilm antialiases output renders. The preview in the viewer, by default, isn't antialiased. This means output renders require more resources than previews. 

    The type of error you describe is typical of overflowing your GPU capabilities. What kinds of effects are in your video? 

    You can try rendering a PNG image sequence. This is less resource intensive than other options. Additionally, if the render crashes you can try to re-render from that frame. 

    To render an image sequence it should be in its own folder (each segment in a different folder if needed). If one particular frame is the problem you can try exporting it from the options menu. 

    Image sequences have no audio, so you'd have to re-import the image sequence and re-render. At least edits and effects would be baked in. 

    There is no way to increase the speed of operation other than to upgrade your machine. 

  • Can I not use antialiase when rendering the project, or is it unchangeable? By the way, I have already tried rendering with image sequences but the estimated remaining time is 3 times longer than rendering a .mp4. Therefore, I stopped the render.

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,069 Ambassador

    Nope. Disabling Anti-Aliasing is already a wishlist item. 

  • Can I make the process of rendering image sequence quickier than .mp4. As it take 3 times longer to render than .mp4 for me.

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,069 Ambassador

    Nope, like CNK said, the basic issue is that your GPU is underpowered. There is absolutely nothing else you can do in Hitfilm other than upgrade your hardware. If there were super-secret tricks in the software to improve performance those would already be the default. 

    Only other thing you can try is seeing what other software is running in the background and disabling it. Problem is there's probably nothing else running that's working the GPU. 

  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 1,995 Just Starting Out
    edited April 2017

    You could lower the resolution of your output.

    "The PSU is ~200 Watts from my memory. I really don't understand why the manufacturer designed such a computer and sell it to the consumer. Thanks for your help anyways!"

    On purpose, to scam consumers. These retailers can easily buy in bulk and lower the cost of more expensive graphics cards. There's also no reason to go with an i7, they do that because they market the cores and the threads, not architecture (year it was released) and not clock speeds. This combination of a poorly balanced PC pretty much force their customers to buy a new PC more often, because the people in the know, are the minority. Sometimes, buying a prebuilt PC and then upgrading it's power supply and graphics card may actually be cheaper than building a custom one from scratch, very rare though.

  • " You can try rendering a PNG image sequence. This is less resource intensive than other options. Additionally, if the render crashes you can try to re-render from that frame. "

    I actually mean that rendering image sequence is slower than .mp4 for me. I wanted to know is it normal that rendering image sequence is slower than rendering .mp4?

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,069 Ambassador
    edited April 2017

    Lotta "it depends"  there. 

    Btw is the external drive USB 2 or 3? 5400 rpm or 7400?

    Rendering image sequences is similar to rendering mp4 in terms of hardware use as CNK described. However mp4 holds several frames at a time (an entire GOP group, I think), which puts more work on the GPU. But the GPU is what renders and the buffing of frames diverts GPU resources. Image sequences write one frame at a time, but the CPU does disc I/O. Now, each frame is a larger single file, if your HDD is slow that becomes the bottleneck. On relatively simple renders if the GPU isn't slammed to the wall, then image sequences can be alower. If doing intensive stuff where the GPU is sweating then image sequences are usually faster. But it depends on a combination of your hardware and how complex the project is. 

    Now the crash you're having is probably GPU memory overflow, and the only way to get around that is reducing GPU load. The only two ways to do that are either rendering image sequences or reducing effects and layers in the edit, or reducing resolution so there is less image data. 

  • Da_Gigabyte
    Da_Gigabyte Posts: 14
    edited April 2017

    Is the IOps or the read write speed more important? The external HDD is connected via USB3.0(Blue connector). It is also a Seagate 7200rpm drive. 

  • Yeremyah
    Yeremyah Posts: 995 Enthusiast

    Buy an upgraded PC put together by someone who works in the industry.  Only solution I see.

  •  Thanks your help! It seems that rendering short portion of the project in mp4 then combining it is the best solution for me in terms of render times. It is quicker than rendering image sequence but less likely to crash than rendering the whole project at once. At least for me

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,069 Ambassador

    That's a valid workflow. Note image sequences will be higher quality than mp4. In the export settings for mp4 turn Profile to High, Level to 5.1 and target bitrate to 35, max to 50. The reason why is mp4 is a "lossy" compression scheme and with the intermediate render you're compressing twice. So cranking up the bitrate of your intermediate will maintain quality. You'll have bigger files, but you can delete the intermediate renders after the final. 

  • Da_Gigabyte
    Da_Gigabyte Posts: 14
    edited April 2017

    Will that take longer to render? And can I export audio only to combine it later?

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,069 Ambassador

    It should take less render time since the data isn't being compressed as much. Hitfilm doesn't have direct audio only export. You'd set up AVI export, then uncheck "Export Video." After that you'd have to use Audacity (or other audio editor) to extract the audio. 

    This video has a ton of information about file formats and export settings. 

    This video (at the end) discusses Audio Only Export. 

    This video discusses extraction of audio in Audacity. 

    Look at the descriptions for each video. There are chapter marks noted, and, on a computer, click on the time codes to skip directly to a chapter. 

  • System:
    Core i7-4770 @ 3.4GHz
    12GB RAM
    64 Bit Windows 10 Pro
    Gigabyte Nvidia 1060 GTX w/6GB RAM
    O/S and Applications on a 3TB 7,200 RPM Drive

    Editing videos on a 500GB USB 3.0 SSD

    Exporting to yet another 2TB 7,200 RPM Drive

    Nothing terribly complex on the timeline.

    A 7 minute video takes 45 minutes to render. The CPU averages about 75% utilization, the GPU only hits about 15% during rendering. The hard drives don't show a whole lot of activity.

    Is this normal render times and GPU utilization? I bought the 1060 card to speed up rendering but it's barely faster than the integrated Intel chip I was using before the GPU upgrade.


  • JoeShima
    JoeShima Posts: 2
    edited April 2018


    My problem is very similar to @Da_Gigabyte 's problem.

    I was working on this small clip, and going through it a few times before exporting it. It seemed fine, and I continued to export it. Ever since then, it has taken me nearly an hour and a half to render a 3 minute video. When I render, I can't open any other windows besides Hitfilm. My laptop has extreme lag, and my CPU averages at about 95% utilization. The disk averages out at about the same. I don't add any effects to my video, and export to .mp4 file. When I render, Hitfilm often crashes or gives me an error "bad allocation" about 75% of the way through. Most of my CPU drivers are up to date, and my laptop is not even a year old. I have rendered longer videos before this and had no problem with how long it took. Is this because my laptop simply does not have the right specs to run Hitfilm? 


    Intel Core i5-7200 @ 2.50 GHz

    12.0 GB RAM

    64 bit Windows 10 Home

    I am currently running the demo version of Hitfilm.

  • JoeShima
    JoeShima Posts: 2
    edited April 2018

    Unsure of what to do.

  • I've got a completly different problem:

    My system is at about 30% usage and does not speed up to the point it could.

    I got a Ryzen x1700 (eight core) and a GTX1080, 32gb RAM.

    My CPU is at 25-30% and my GPU on 20-35%.

    Any advises?

  • CleverTagline
    CleverTagline Posts: 3,316 Ambassador

    @MichaelPaul1oh1 FWIW if it's a completely different problem, the preferred thing is to start a completely new thread, rather than adding onto an unrelated one.

    That aside, CPU and GPU usage has been discussed before, even fairly recently. Check this thread, including the related threads linked in it.


  • Behind_The_Lens
    Behind_The_Lens Posts: 159 Just Starting Out

    My recommendation:


    i guess for pc thats avchd, but I use pro res on my Mac with an i5 integrated graphics, and when I split everything into under 5 minute segments(which makes everything easier anyway), it works like a charm