Why is Hitfilm exporting in real time? What changed?

Davlon Posts: 288 Enthusiast

I'm exporting a 50 minute talking head lecture. It's one composite shot with three clips, a title and a fade at the end.  I'm working 1280x720.    The preview window shows it's  exporting in real time.  It's going to take 50 minutes to export a 50 minute video.   Why is it doing this?  What changed?


  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,294 Power User

    Um, first, is this a speed up or a slow down in your render time? There's literally nothing here to speculate on.

    Hitfilm 12 hasn't released yet, so the last version of Hitfilm (not counting the two Mac-Only bug fixes) was released on November 20, 2018. Nothing in Hitfilm would have changed since then. On the other hand I've installed three Window 10 updates, three new Nvidia drivers and three new Intel Graphics drivers since then. Any of those updates could have affected things that impact Hitfilm's speed.

    Do you always work in 1280x720? If you're used to working 1920x1080, well.... You've gone from 2,073,600 pixels/frame to 921,600 pixels/frame. Fewer pixels is a faster render.

    Have you changed anything about your video formats? If you've been working in h.264 and switched to ProRes, Cineform or DNxHD, the more efficient to decode video is faster to work with.

    Have you changed anything on your computer? Anything new or different with your hard drives or SSDs?

  • Davlon
    Davlon Posts: 288 Enthusiast

    Renders usually fly -- I'm i7 with 32GB RAM, a zippy Nvidia card and I'm running SSD for the boot drive and the storage drive.  Bottlenecks?

    The files began as client-supplied MTS files at 60fps -- Hitfilm choked.  I Handbraked down to "Very fast 720p"

    If you can tell me how to install NormanPCN's fast settings I'd be grateful. I downloaded the zipfile, found the .cmd files, but cannot find a way to add them to the preset list                                                                                                     

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,294 Power User

    If you're asking how to install "NormanAVC" into Hitfilm you can't. Hitfilm doesn't have the fine control of all the file parameters of something like Handbrake.

    If you didn't use the "NormanAVC" settings on your Handbrake Transcode, then one of Norman's threads covers the settings you should have used in Handbrake.

    Otherwise I show them in this video somewhere between the 23 and 27 minute mark.

    For NormanAVC this needs to be done when transcoding video for import into Hitfilm. These settings sepped up how Hitfilm handles the transcoded file and has nothing at all to do with speeding up Hitfilm's rendering output.

  • Davlon
    Davlon Posts: 288 Enthusiast
    edited January 2019


    A colleague of mine uses Final Cut on a Mac -- one of those silver tube things.  He's shooting AVCHD on his Sony NXCAM, which saves the files as .mts.  When he imports them, FCP brings them in as a seamless file.  And he's off editing.

    In frustrating contrast,  when I save the shoot to my PC, I get separate .mts files of about 2 GB each, which I must then Handbrake down to a usable size, before attempting to merge into a seamless  whole. 

    1. What is the synergy between the camera/mac/FCP that is missing in the Hitfilm workflow?

    2.  I bought Vegas several weeks ago. Will I have better results if I use it for editing... and why exactly?

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,294 Power User

    As to question 1, @NormanPCN can better explain. Short form is Hitfilm doesn't decode mp4 as fast as some NLEs and Hitfilm's OpenGL engine is amazing for VFX but not as efficient at straight video decode. As of Hitfilm 11 decode is software only on the CPU. 

    Ask this again in, say, two weeks. 

    Question 2. Honestly, Vegas is my primary editor. Hitfilm's editor is functional and improves in every iteration  but, for now, Vegas is the superior editor. Once you do cross dissolves by overlapping media on the timeline you'll wonder why every other software uses clunky methods.

    But, Hitfilm can do VFX things in its sleep Vegas requires third party plug ins for that cost way more than Hitfilm.

    With Hitfilm/Vegas integation you can pretty easily send video from Vegas to Hitfilm and have it seamlessly switch on the timeline. You can load a Hitfilm project to a Vegas timeline and it reads Hitfilm's Editor Timeline as a media clip. 

    Grab Ignite and you get a lot of Hitfilm effects in Vegas. Using Ignite color filters in Vegas makes it easier to match looks between both programs.

    In short  if you have Vegas use it! If you have Hitfilm, use it for what you can't do in Vegas! Learn Blender, do things neither Hitfilm or Vegas can do. If you have a tool  use it. Don't be afraid to jump programs. Try Resolve, why not? 

  • NormanPCN
    NormanPCN Posts: 4,376 Expert

    As to Question 1. Hitfilm is general is slower than pretty much all other editors with respect to basic timeline playback. This includes editors that use the same decoders (Mainconcept) as Hitfilm. Call the time it takes for timeline frame to frame movement C=A+B. Where A is the time to decode a frame and B is the time for basic timeline operations/play. 

    When you transcode to an "edit" format which decodes faster you are reducing the time of (A). (B) remains the same. The net result (C) is that the timeline can play smooth.

    AVC(H.264) media typically has a very high decode overhead. This makes the time of (A) slower than edit codecs. My fast decode AVC settings just tries to get AVC to decode as fast as it can. Optimize (A).

    Then there are things Hitfilm does, IMO stupid, that trash the AVC decoder context. This is all in the context of (B), and these actions also make (A) worse. So AVC is bad enough and then things like this pile on. Transitions and compositing multiple media are the primary items affect here.

    The trend over the last year has been for editors to use the hardware AVC and HEVC decoders available in GPUs. Discrete GPUs like Nvidia and Integrated GPUs like Intel. This minimizes (A). This is awesome since AVC has such high overhead. The hardware decoders are quite fast. You need a lot of CPU to handle AVC (more clock rate than cores). Most on this forum do not have a lot of CPU. So a hardware AVC decoder can/will/may get Hitfilm to perform more like an edit codec on the timeline. Even if (B) is unchanged. AVC being commonly in MP4/MOV and MTS (AVCHD) files.

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