When I used Hitfilm 4 express for the first time I was very impressed by the software:I was convinced that it 's the best video editing software but when I knew about Davinci resolve (especially Davinci resolve 15) and its features : which one of them is that the software supports many languages , I began to change my opinion about Hitfilm .
I entered the entire FX and video editing world through Hitfilm Pro 3 and have been staying current with it to the present (I'm on pro 2018). The Hitfilm community, training resources, and power of the software have all contributed greatly to my own learning and understanding of the industry and permitted me to create some impressive videos with special effects. I praise the HF team for a truly great product.
In regard to Blackmagic, they clearly won a place in professional video production primarily for their colour grading through Davinci Resolve. Fusion, their FX product, was a third party acquired by them and along with Fairlight, their audio management program, is now fully integrated into Davinci Resolve 15 which prices the same as HF Pro. I believe the free version of Davinci Resolve 15 is void Fusion but I recently downloaded the free stand-alone version of Fusion 9 in any case to evaluate their FX engine and 3D handling. My motivation was because despite its high performance, Hitfilm was not resolving a most annoying artifact that appears in 3D objects as a line that cuts through the 3D object wherever a 2D image or video's plane intersects the object in 3D space. This happens when the 3D object is in "3D unrolled" mode and occurs for example if you place a green screened actor inside say a space ship. The problem becomes more dramatic as you increase anti-aliasing which is desirable to eliminate stair-casing along straight edges. Even if your 2D object is outside the 3D object, the artifact appears on the 3D object's skin wherever an infinite plane incorporating the 2D object plane would cut through the 3D object. Add a simple 3D cube (3D unrolled) to your scene and place a photo in the same Z space along side it and you will see it, especially as you increase anti-aliasing. Move the 2D object in Z space and the artifact line will travel through the 3D object as well. FX Home is aware of this but evidently it's not a priority and therein lies my concern moving forward. How can I produce truly professional results in 3D rendering if known bugs don't get resolved.
My early foray into Blackmagic's Fusion a few weeks ago has yielded me some promising results and while it took me a little time getting used to the nodal approach, within a few days of goofing around, watching Youtube tutorials, and applying what I learned from Hitfilm, I was able to put one of my 3D spaceships into Fusion and drop a green-screened actor into it. Two things impressed me:
1. No artifact lines - my 2D actor was able to interact with the 3D object without modifying the lighting or skin texture of the 3D model. Hitfilm doesn't just cause an artifact to appear, it also affects the lighting inside the spaceship as if the keyed out regions still act like a translucent layer that alters the light.
2. Fusion's rendering times and real-time play back feel faster to me. They handle proxies differently somehow so you don't experience the same hang times when editing and final rendering also seemed to run noticeably faster.
My growing impression is this, Fusion has more advanced features and is better able to render out artifact free video but at a cost - complexity. It is highly customizable, which adds complexity, and I am already seeing the potential of Fusion (and therefore Davinci Resolve 15) as being quite expanded to what Hitfilm can presently do but what HF Pro does is provide numerous pre-canned effects that allow most users to fast track to their final outcome sooner in a more intuitive way. Fusion handles lighting quite differently and getting lens flares and other effects is more cryptic. This is part of the learning curve but pro users of Fusion can undoubtedly pull off some pretty amazing results, as can pro HF users who despite its limitations can work around the problems. For me, the rendering artifacts in Hitfilm required too many convoluted work-arounds that simply aren't needed in Fusion.
Nevertheless, there are tons of projects that can be readily handled in Hitfilm, and as Hitfilm's tech team has advised me, that represents the majority of their users. Users like myself however who want renders that are approaching flawless for 3D work where 3D models must interact with 2D images and videos, may need to look elsewhere, at least for the moment, and knowing more than one package is always advantageous.
Because most of my learning is still in Hitfilm, I will continue to use Hitfilm for videos not requiring more demanding renders and where I can bang out a faster result, and exploit Fusion (Davinci Resolve 15) for its strengths. The two programs handle things quite differently but the concepts remain the same and knowing one should enable a faster transition to the other. Some people swear by the nodal approach as opposed to the layered approach used by Hitfim and Adobe and I am beginning to see why many prefer the nodal approach to FX work that both Fusion and Nuke use; it really does add a new dimension to one's productivity and becomes increasingly more powerful as you begin to familiarize yourself with it. I should also note that Fusion exploits scripting which adds even more custom elements to your special effects like being able to modulate particles using trig functions, pretty cool stuff.
Bottom line is this, use whatever product best gets your story out there to the quality you need. For me, it will increasingly be through two, possibly more products. I think between Davinci Resolve 15 (Fusion) and Hitfilm, I've now found two very impressive programs, both priced the same with free versions and no rental fees or pie in the sky costs. I should note that the free version of Fusion 9 is actually able to handle 3D renders at a level commensurate with Hitfilm Pro and beyond. To my knowledge, HF Express cannot handle 3D the same out of the box.
For modelling 3D, I use Blender. It is truly an amazing piece of software and totally free. It too has endless Youtube videos to watch with a global community of fans but if you want to get into 3D modelling, take a paid Blender course to expedite your learning. The Youtube path is too hit and miss and Blender has a steep learning curve. People who spend money on training will always outpace and get to a more advanced performance level long before those who try to do everything on the cheap. Respect the labour of others and be willing to pay them something back.
I'll repeat what I said before. Since I consider myself an OMF, I have absolutely no desire to learn any new platforms unless it's life and death, and it never is. Therefore for me it's Reaper as my DAW, Blender for creating 3D models Hitfilm pro for VFX , titles and 3d integration etc and Resolve Studio for Video editing and Color grading.
I will reiterate.
I find FXhome to be a wonderful community and Hitfilm Pro to be a tremendous compositor coupled with Boris and Mocha. However, I am very comfortable using resolve for editing and color grading. I do not have any inclination to learn Fusion since I have invested significant time and energy using the Hit Film Pro compositor.
However, If I was going to choose a 100% FREE path I would choose Hitfilm express. HitFilm Express is Significantly easier to quickly use and understand than any other Video editor that I have tried.
@BobDiMarzio almost the exact same here. Only difference is I do use Hitfilm Pro for some basic editing. Any complex editing I go to Davinci Resolve.
I know this topic is about Hitfilm and Davinci, but just wanted to call out Reaper as I've been using it for 6 years or so as my DAW and still absolutely love it.
I happily use both "HitFilm Pro" and "Davinci Resolve" depending on what I want to do... sometimes both in the same project... and when I want a very quick and simple video I will happily go to "PowerDirector" for its speed...I use what tools I have available and best to meet the job to be done. All three editors I use have their strong points and all three have their weak points.
Davinci has been updated with Fusion and Fair Light integration. Most of the functions are free, unlike Hitfilm Express. When I used Hitfilm Express first time, I was very impressed. It was easy to use and intuitive, and the VFX function was much easier than Adobe After Effect. The system requirement is amazingly low for the functions. I almost settled in Hitfilm.
However, it didn't take a long time to find that the Express version has fewer options than Davinci. I don't understand why they set many basic functions as add-on such as audio equalizer even though it is the basic requirement for making a video, so I doubt how people could create a movie with these limited functions.
I am gonna try the new version of Davinci sooner or later. The only drawbacks are the minimum requirement is too high and the steep learning curve. If I find it is better, then I will switch to Davinci unless Hitfilm unlocks those basic functions. Hitfilm Express is still great and I am definitely willing to buy when I can afford. However, I am broke now, so need to find a better free solution until I can make a decent income.
HitFilm Express puts too much in Add-On packages. Add-On Packages make perfect sense for the product, but some of the things they put in there really bamboozle you given how basic/fundamental they are. Just unlocking enough functionality to make it comparable to VEGAS Movie Studio Platinum can cost $100+. It is not competitive with Resolve 15's Free SKU, which really only paywalls a few Resolve FX and some of the higher end Pro features - while having the same price as HitFilm Pro for the Resolve Studio SKU. The only thing that works against Resolve, in this comparison, is its System Requirements.
There is simply no comparison between Resolve and HitFilm Express when it comes to: Media Management, Color Correction/Grading, Audio Editing/Mixing (and it can round-trip clips to Sound Forge Pro/Audio Studio), CODEC Support... and Fusion is amazing (and there is still the Standalone version which can round-trip natively with Resolve), and will likely be better in Resolve 16 (probably to be announced at NAB next month).
I think the biggest question mark is the fact that it's a Node-Based Compositing model, while many people in the lower-end of the market are accustomed to layers (due to Exposure to After Effects, HitFilm, Boris FX, NewBlue Titler, etc.). I don't think this is a factor for anyone just starting out, but it is definitely going to bias people who are already used to working in HitFilm or After Effects... likely against Fusion. However, BMD has tons of free educational material, so it's not hard to learn...
I view HitFilm Express in the same way that I view Avid Media Composer | First. It's basically a perpetual trial version. I don't - personally - think the Add-Ons are worth dumping money into. I think it's far more economical to use what is available out of the box while you save up for HitFilm Pro; if you end up liking the tool - or better yet, use it as a Compositing Add-On to VEGAS Pro 15 (if you happened to snag that for "almost free" a few months back), while you save up.
I also don't see a point in using one NLE for this, one NLE for that, etc. It's nice to be/remain flexible, but you have to weigh the options and decide if it is even worth your time to invest in learning or keeping up on a specific product. If you know Premiere Pro, Avid, Resolve or even HitFilm, PowerDirector is practically a waste of time and money (I own a recent version of PDR, so this isn't just blind opinion). It's nothing more than a limited, redundant product and the time you spent using it is time you can spend gaining proficiency in HitFilm, or whatever other higher-end NLE you use.
Using PowerDirector is like doing Rosetta Stone German when you have your French 301 Exam the next day.
Beware the Resolve "Database" approach to file management and make sure you understand it and are comfortable with it before committing. For me it's a deal-breaker as it doesn't fit in with my workflow, which is based on having separate client/project folders for each job that are easy to back-up and move between machines. Resolve's approach is quite different, with a database storing all projects (although you can make separate databases) and is intended to allow for multi-user access and additional team functionality. For those of you who find Fusion within Resolve limited, remember that the standalone Fusion version is still available and the basic version (which does almost everything) is still free.
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