Can I Recover A Project On A New Computer?

sushiboi004 Posts: 2 Just Starting Out

So, I had started making a video on one computer, and when I was done, I had saved. A few days later, my hard drive entirely crashed. It's now unusable. I now have a new computer where I just reinstalled HitFilm. Is it possible to get that project on this new computer, or is it just completely gone?

Additional information:

1. I don't have the original files anymore.

2. I formerly had a hard drive, I now have a solid state drive.

3. I'm not sure if this would've worked in the first place, but the "Recover Projects" button is grayed out.

Best Answer

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,276 Power User
    Answer ✓

    Project files are stored locally on the computer they are created on, so, unless the project and source files are still on your old computer to be transferred across on an external drive you've lost the project.


  • sushiboi004
    sushiboi004 Posts: 2 Just Starting Out
    Well that sucks. But thanks for answering!
  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,276 Power User

    Yeah, sorry I didn't have better news.

    For your future reference, let's discuss what a Hitfilm project file contains.

    So - video files are big. They can be huge. On my One+ 7t phone, shooting 5 minutes of (mere) 1080p 30fps footage can generate a 500 MB file - or over 6GB/hour. My BMPCC 6K Pro, if shooting 4k BRAW at 24fps can generate files of a bit over a third of a terabyte an hour. Hitfilm itself, depending on your settings, is generating proxies and/or cache files. These can add up fast. Pre-renders are also quite large.

    Hitfilm (and any other NLE/Compositor) project files don't store media data (including proxies/Pre-renders/cache). That would create really huge files and eat up storage space like crazy. Especially if making multiple backups.

    So the project file stores "pointers" to where video/audio/image data is stored on the drive and a checklist of "use these frames here," along with the data for added effects filters. Storing these pointer and effects values is a lot smaller, of course. (Hitfilm projects do store all camera track data from Foundry - which can add up quickly - and 3D model geometry data - but not the actual texture files...textures get pointers.

    From this we can see to transfer a project between machines, you need the project file AND the original media files. We could have a long discussion on file management! This will be very abbreviated.

    Ideally you'd create a backup copy of all your media - for this I use a Samsung t5 or t7 1TB SSD for active projects. You'd also create multiple backups of active projects. This can go to flash drives. Once a project is completed, then you can decide on what to do with your backups. For hobby work, maybe you delete things and do your next project. Pros and studios are more likely to archive files. In my case I have several external 5TB drives and I keep two backups of everything (I've had to go revisit years-old or decades-old work). But my total archives probably run to almost 50TB for the last 20 years. I've still lost a few projects over the years.

    So, yeah, backups are important. Usually you won't need them, but, in the case of a problem, they are indispensable. A studio will typically save iterated project files - every single time a project is saved it's to a new file. Often time code is appended, so, "File 221107-2100" would be the file saved on 7 Nov 2022 at 9pm. "File 221108-1630" would be tomorrow's version (8 Nov) at 430pm. For a studio this type of backup is vital because the director might decide they liked an earlier version - or, if "221108-1630" gets corrupted, at least I have "221107-2100" and I've "only" lost a day of work, not the entire thing. For home/hobbyist you don't have to get this detailed, but having "File" and "File backup for safety" is still the safe option.

    Don't trust Hitfilm's (or any NLE's) Auto-Backup feature. Yeah, 99% of the time Auto-Backup has you covered, but a catastrophic crash or storage issue can corrupt an auto-save. It's still safer to make a manual backup - usually to another drive. Again, flash drives are good for incremental project backups.

  • Manhit
    Manhit Posts: 70 Enthusiast
    edited November 7