HitFilm documentation: seeking feedback

SimonKJonesSimonKJones ModeratorWebsite User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,450 Enthusiast
edited September 2014 in Post-production techniques

Hey guys! I've picked up on various comments here and there regarding the HitFilm documentation and a desire for it to be better than it currently is. That said, I've not pinpointed any specifics of what people would actually like to see, and what the current docs don't do right.

So, this topic is me seeking feedback from everybody and anybody about the HitFilm documentation.

1. Are there aspects you like about the documentation?

2. What do you not like about the documentation?

3. What format would you prefer? (eg, physical book/printout, PDF, ebook, HTML)

4. How would you prefer to access the docs? (eg, on your tablet/phone, on your desktop, on your laptop, as a physical item)

5. Do you have any examples of great documentation from other products you can point me to?

At this stage I can't guarantee that we'll be able to satisfy everybody, and it won't be something we can do immediately, but by gathering some feedback I'll at least have a better idea of what people want

And, to be clear, I'm talking here specifically about the documentation that is currently found here.

So, fire away.

Comments

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,307 Ambassador
    edited September 2014

    Oooh, where to start? Seriously, I'll have more later (it's that "why am I up at 6am time again?") but some quick thoughts.

    What I like about the documentation is it's basic organizaton--the spine of an excellent manual is there in terms of things being easy to navigate and easy to find.

    What I don't like about the documentation is it's general lack of detail--There's a quick summary of what each effect does, but there's no control-by-control listing. Even a single sentence on what each control does would be helpul. Now, that's also tedious to do, mind you, but many things have common controls--for example, "position" for a particle emitter is the same as "position" for everyhing else, but the bias of fractal noise isn't the same as the bias on a color wheel.
    Formatting and access--I like printed, but, as a lot of your business is download and internet i can see moving away from print. I like the tabbing on the website and online docs, and think a PDF would preserve the same bookmarking. Keeping the online/web as-is is great for general use and reference on the forums, where a bookmarked/tabbed PDF would allow the option for the user to view on a phone, tablet, laptop or just print it out.

    I won't give an example here of "great." This is the master BCC list I brought up in that other thread: Note this is the "BCC FOR VEGAS" filter list, yet many of the docs are After Effects specific--basically, unless there's something that's Vegas-specific (i.e., Vegas's "2:1" transform compositing modes) it's the AE docs. Also not that there's no navigation within the list--it's taking you to a PDF and you have to manually skip back to the last page, etc.

    http://www.borisfx.com/sony/bccsvp/Filter-List.php

    Now, BCC is a plug-in collection, so obviously it doesn't cover everything a combined editor/compositor needs to cover, but take a look at the BCC Fire sim page:
    http://cdn.borisfx.com/borisfx/Documentation/BCCOFX/BCC%20Fire.pdf

    Note that there's a quick list of what every fader does and a quick screenshot of how the parameters effect things. I choose Fire as an example because of the fireball tutorial from you, Simon--which is a thorough overview of that tool. Now, some people respond better to video as well, and I know that, but I work well off text, and at least the one sentence overview of what a control does gives me greater understanding of what I'm dong when experimenting.

    Incidentally, here's the manual for Boris FX--Boris's standalone compositing tool. This is an example of a detailed manual with poor organization. The "How does Boris work" section (the discussion of basic workflow) is a subheading of "Creative Effects" (Which comes below Installation, and Tutorials). That's backwards organization--putting tutorials before the basic interface documentation? ACK!. But, again, it's detailed down to every slider.

    Ok, so that wasn't great docs. Those are harder to find. ;-)

  • SimonKJonesSimonKJones Moderator Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,450 Enthusiast
    Thanks, Triem. So to whittle down what you're saying, it's basically: good structure, but needs lots more detail. Which I'd certainly agree with.
  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,307 Ambassador
  • FingerPeopleMoviesFingerPeopleMovies Website User Posts: 41
    Thanks, Triem. So to whittle down what you're saying, it's basically: good structure, but needs lots more detail. Which I'd certainly agree with.

    I second/third that! The lack of detail is the only problem I've had with the manual. It's very easy to navigate. Also, a print version would be amazing, (albeit unnecessary). I would carry it around with me everywhere I went, alongside the B&H catalog.

  • HarHar Website User Posts: 400 Just Starting Out
    edited September 2014
    +1 on the detail. Often explanations of the various controls can be found within the various tutorial videos out there explaining the effects, but only a rather high-level explanation of the effect itself is found within the documentation. I understand that some of these may be considered "well duhh!" level obvious to those with experience, but for those of us who are trying to get up to speed it would really be helpful to be able to find explanations within the documentation.  :) 
    If I were to choose an example of what I'd consider great documentation, I'd likely say the ones for Resolve, which covers not only the controls in detail, but also has very useful info at the conceptual level as well.
  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,307 Ambassador
    And Har segues me to my next point--"conceptual level" as well. An additional chapter on basic animation/workflow/3D concepts would be helpful. For the new and inexperienced user a quick walkthrough of basics like, say, axes, layer ordering, blending modes, etc is vital and for someone more experienced seeing how HITFILM does things vs (here comes the comparison again) AE can be helpful. Because AE puts the 0,0,0 point in the upper left corner of the default workspace and Hitfilm has it in the center. Also noting how Hitfilm's axes are X (horizontal), Y (vertical) and Z (depth) as opposed to, say, Blender which is X (Horizontal) Y (depth) and Z (vertical).
    For blending modes, I know last year in this thread I posted a long explaination on how all the blend modes work and I think I went into a little color theory--y'all are welcome to lift and use that if desired. Page 2: http://community.hitfilm.com/index.php?/topic/4020-what-about-a-new-way-to-learn-hitfilm-involving-less-tutorials/page-2?hl=+blend%20+modes
  • SimonKJonesSimonKJones Moderator Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,450 Enthusiast

    Great, thanks again guys. This gives me an excellent idea of where to target future efforts to improve the manual.

  • SimonKJonesSimonKJones Moderator Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,450 Enthusiast

    Returning to this for a moment, I've substantially reworked the HF3 user guide to have a better structure. Particularly for a new user, I think, it introduces the core of the software in a much more understandable manner.

    That said, there's a lot more I want to do with it, especially in terms of detail for the individual effects. A lot of the info is very light at the moment, which is something I'll be tweaking and changing in frequent updates.

    A lot of you will also be pleased to see that we now have a downloadable PDF as well, for printing or easy offline/tablet viewing.

    But to HF3 users, I put the same questions as at the start of this topic. Feedback, as always, welcome.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,307 Ambassador

    This thread needs a bump

  • RowbyRowby Website User Posts: 58 Just Starting Out
    edited December 2014

    Thanks!  

    Rowby

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,307 Ambassador

    It's on the Support section of this site. Click support in the menu and scroll under the FAQs

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