Why is export taking so long?

fireballkallyn Posts: 3 Just Starting Out

Basically, I finished editing a video that was 29 minutes long 3 hours ago, the thing is on 30% and the estimated time left is almost 4 hours. Fix this or I will get a refund and find some better editor to use.


  • fireballkallyn
    fireballkallyn Posts: 3 Just Starting Out
    UPDATE: Its now at 54%
  • tddavis
    tddavis Posts: 5,155 Expert

    @fireballkallyn Export time is heavily dependent on so many factors and you have given us no information to even hazard a guess at the issue. Are you using a lot of effects (especially particles effects, etc.), Is your project 4K, source of your footage etc. Then there is what kind of system you are working with. You found this forum but neglected to read this this 'sticky' at the top of it:

    This is a User support forum and we have no input on fixing any issues. Those requests/ultimatums are better directed to Technical Support at:

    We Users are more than happy to help in any way we can, but information is king.

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,244 Ambassador

    Ambassadors and Moderators do not work for FXhome or Artlist. We are user volunteers. Accounts with Staff badges are, of course, FXhome or Artlist employees.

    A Staff member nicely wrote this sticky thread which I will ask you to read. I know you haven't. You haven't provided any of the information asked for.

    Now... There are a LOT of factors that can affect export speed and you haven't addressed any of them.

    Your system specs are very important to know. The minimum specs required to run Hitfilm rose significantly with Hitfilm 2021.3. If you are running something like an i3-4xxx you are two computer generations below minimum specs. If you have something like an i7-6xxx series you're pretty close to bare minimum. If you don't have a dedicated GPU, you definitely have a slow system. Even with a dedicated GPU, some GPUs are rather slow and weak. An Nvidia MX-series GPU is often slower than the integrated GPU built into the CPU. We can't judge based on your specs, because you haven't listed them.

    The number of, type of, and speed of your storage makes a difference. If your system has HDDs, those are always slower than SSDs. If you have SSDs a low end 480MBps drive is a lot slower than a 3500MBps drive. If your system has a single drive holding your OS, programs, Hitfilm caches, source media and export render that will be a lot slower than having multiple drives where your cache might be on drive C:, your source media is on D: and you render to E:. Again, you haven't listed your specs.

    Your source video has a lot to do with render speeds. H.265 performs slower than h.264, while h.264 often performs slower than Cineform or Pro Res. If your source video is from a phone or tablet, then it's encoded in "Variable Frame Rate" (VFR). If your footage is from a screen recorder, it's probably VFR. Hitfilm, and every other NLE doesn't like VFR, but wants "Constant Frame Rate" (CFR). VFR footage literally changes speed, constantly. "30 fps" VFR footage goes more like "30, 24, 30, 20, 33, 18, 30, 20, 15..." while CFR is a nice, constant "30, 30, 30, 30, 30, etc..." VFR footage is much slower to work with as Hitfilm had to remap these changing numbers of frames per second into the constant number of frames per second Hitfilm works at. VFR footage can also have other issues on Export, including audio drift or stuttering frames. VFR is not "a Hitfilm problem," but is a bad call made by the company that chose to implement VFR recording. VFR footage should be converted to CFR with third party software before editing. We don't know. You haven't given any information about your source footage.

    The length of your source footage has an impact. NLEs are designed to generally work with shorter clips. If you have a single 3-hour clip you've cut to 20 minutes your drive is skipping around within the same file. If you had 18 10-minute video files, this would perform faster. We don't know, as you haven't provided any information about your source video.

    What you've done in your edit has a HUGE impact on Export times. A single layer of trimmed video is faster than multi layer composites. If you have a "simple" edit of one layer of trimmed video and a watermark/bug overlay, you've more than doubled your processor load as you're compositing multiple layers with transparency. Every track you add in the Editor Timeline adds data and slows things down. We don't know, you haven't provided any information about your edit.

    If you are using Composite Shots in your edit this can have an impact on Export times. The Composite Shot has to be calculated before it can be added to the Editor, then everything else is calculated. Pre-rendering Comps speeds up Exports. We don't know, you haven't provided any information about your edit.

    Is everything video, or do you have a lot of motion graphics and/or animation? Animation is slower than just decoding video. Again, if you have animation and motion graphics, these are probably in Comps, and Pre-renders would help. We don't know, you haven't provided information about your edit.

    Number and types of effects used will greatly affect Export times. Something like Curves is a lot faster than something like Fractal Noise. Speed changes/ramps, or time reversing is slow. Again we don't know as you haven't provided any useful information at all.

    There are literally thousands of possible variables affecting your Export times. We can try to figure out ways to optimize things for you, but, first, you have to actually provide useful data. Right now you've given a useless complaint and passive aggressive threat. Help us help you, please.

    In the thread linked above, there is a link to Support. Support would handle refunds.

    Finally, here's a list of other editors. If Hitfilm is slow for you, Resolve is more system intensive than Hitfilm and will likely be slower. You can look at the others. This particular blog is from POWER DIRECTOR, and, of course they list themselves as the best choice, but there's some good software on this list.

  • fireballkallyn
    fireballkallyn Posts: 3 Just Starting Out
    Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro 64-bit
    Intel Core i5 8400 @ 2.80GHz 39 °C
    Coffee Lake 14nm Technology
    8.00GB Dual-Channel Unknown @ 1330MHz (19-19-19-43)
    LENOVO 313A (U3E1) 22 °C
    DP2VGA V235 ([email protected])
    Intel UHD Graphics 630 (Lenovo)
    931GB Western Digital WDC WD10EZEX-08WN4A0 (SATA ) 39 °C
    Optical Drives
    Realtek High Definition Audio
  • tddavis
    tddavis Posts: 5,155 Expert

    @fireballkallyn Thank you for the info; from it the most likely culprit I see is that Windows 11 is not supported with Hitfilm. Now, this heavily depends on other system resources but some users have gotten it to work with 11. I am not an expert on other technical aspects so others might see something more there. I can say 8 Gb RAM is the bare minimum for smooth operation in my opinion especially with an integrated GPU that uses that RAM also.

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,244 Ambassador

    @tddavis there's more than that going on, but, yeah...

    As tddavis says, Hitfilm doesn't yet support Win11. Not certain how that might affect export times.

    The minimum GPU requirement for Hitfilm is the Intel UHD 620. That's a laptop chip. The desktop version is the UHD 630. You are basically scraping minimum specs for Hitfilm.

    You have one storage drive and it's a hard drive. Hard drive manufacturers shade the truth a LOT. Western Digital will tell you the HDD is on a 6gb/s SATA bus, but the "sequential read" speed of that drive is actually about 125MB/s...

    Ok, digression.

    Computer memory/storage 101. The basic unit is a "bit." 0/1, on/off. 8 bits is a "byte." When you see a data number written in all lowercase, like "6gb/s" it's taking about BITS. When you see capitals, like "125MB/s,"it's talking about BYTES. Additionally, computers work in binary - powers of 2, or doubling values. A kilobyte (KB) is 1024 bytes. A megabyte (MB) is 1024 KB and a terabyte (TB) is 1024 MB. Storage drive manufacturers call a" terabyte" "1 trillion bytes" this is why your "1TB" HDD really shoes "931GB." You have been shortchanged. Also notice here we're already dealing with your hard drive running on a "6gb/s" bus but the hard drive having a peak sequential read speed of 125MB/s. That's two different values. We have to either divide all measurements given in BYTES by 8 or multiply all values given in bits by 8 so we're discussing the same values. A 6gb/s SATA bus is running at 768MB/s. For the rest of this post I will convert where needed and give all measurements in BYTES.

    End of digression.

    Ok, your HDD has a maximum sustained read speed of about 125MB/s (on a max 768MB/s SATA bus). Sustained read means the drive is optimized, so all the files are nice and neat and nothing is fragmented across the drive. At peak efficiency the HDD operates at about 125MB/s, which is about 1/4 of the speed of a "slow" SSD, which has a transfer speed of about 480MB/s.

    However, you have one drive, which means your OS, programs, cache files, source files and render files are all on the same platter. A hard drive is a spinning platter with a needle. Every time the needle has to move - shifting between things the OS needs to read, any Hitfilm cache files it may need to read, any source video files it needs to read, and the Export file it has to write, the needle has to physically move to the new location on the platter. If the drive was not optimized, it's possible the needle has to move to read several parts of the same file from different locations on the drive. That hard drive has a "seek speed" of about 180 milliseconds. Putting it another way, everytime the drive needle has to move somewhere else everything stops for almost 1/5 of a second. Since you have one drive I can absolutely guarantee that needle is moving at least three times for every frame - once for Hitfilm's cache, once for your input video, once for your export frame. This is your best case scenario and any item of media you add makes the problem worse. Let's say you have an additional music track and a single graphic overlay as a watermark. That guaranteea that platter needle is moving at least 5 times for every frame exported. Basically you are wasting at least one second of time for every frame rendered. In hard drive speak you are performing "random" operations - moving needle. That hard drive has a random read/write speed of about 2MB/s. This is your best case scenario. File fragmentation just makes things worse.

    You have a 20 minute video. I'll assume it's 30 fps. 20 minutes of 60 seconds and 30 frames per second is 36000 frames. There are 3600 seconds in a minute.

    Ten HOURS of your render time is sitting around waiting for the HDD to move the needle for one video layer, one still graphic and one source video. Every other item of media you layer up - any sound fx, any voice overs, any additional graphics, any overlaid video just makes it worse.

    We don't have to look at any other of the hundreds of variables at this point. Oh, they still exist, but, right now it's that hard drive that is absolutely killing your render times.

    SSDs are electronic memory. They have "seek times" measured in microseconds, not almost 1/5th a second. Replacing that HDD with a 1TB SSD will greatly speed up your render times.

    And it turns out it's not a Hitfilm problem. It's hardware.