What would you want in a book about hitfilm?

MichaelJamesMichaelJames Website User Posts: 2,038 Enthusiast

Nothing is official or anything but I am curious, what would you want in a hitfilm book? Just learning what the buttons do? Practical tutorials?  What would you pay for this kind of resource?

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/16094210870" title="HITFILM book by Mchl496, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7555/16094210870_69237f38f6_s.jpg" width="75" height="75" alt="HITFILM book"></a>



  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,319 Ambassador

    The "every **** slider" list. 

  • Stargazer54Stargazer54 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,734 Ambassador

    @MichaelJames Dude, I thought you were kidding around about writing a book.  ;)

    But seriously,  definitely what Triem said.   Beyond that, it would probably be helpful to do a start to finish from video acquisition to finished comp, talking about the intermediate steps of transcoding to be able to edit/composite and rendering to different formats depending on output requirements.  Getting footage in and out of HF seems to be a point of confusion.

    Also, some mention of hardware requirements would be helpful, as well.   After you've laid a sound foundation of the workings of HF, then basic tutorials that build up skills would be a must.

    But really, just organizing the HF tutorials already online in a logical progression would be a huge benefit.

    Just my $0.02.

  • MichaelJamesMichaelJames Website User Posts: 2,038 Enthusiast
    edited January 2015

    I was kidding, but I've talked about this before many times and I finally think I might as well just bash my way through it.  Then I started writing it.

    There is a organization of Hitfilm tutorials in a logical progression somewhere.  Simon did a list some where.  I mean I've been there, waiting for information because I'm not the type to just explore the software.  I want to know what I am doing.  Do I want to play around and figure out camera projection?  Not really.   That may be the classic artist method, but more and more people are coming into this just wanting to be able to do what they want to do.  

    Fire came down from Mt Olympus... I don't want to have to learn how to make fire.  I just want to be able to press a button, have fire come on and heat water for my cup of noodles.  That's what I am hoping a book can do.  Give people a easy way to harness the power they already have.

  • RowbyRowby Website User Posts: 58 Just Starting Out

    Link the book lessons toK

    1  online videos

    2.  A site with robust forum software.  Where registered book users can askeep and answer questions related to the book content. 


  • MichaelJamesMichaelJames Website User Posts: 2,038 Enthusiast

     let's keep this limited to just the book.  While there are some books that include CD's or links to project files to download... A forum where people using the software can ask questions does already exist and so do online videos.  Instead of having to dig through videos to find an answer, a text reference is to compile that knowledge into an easier to access platform that you can take anywhere with you.  I am debating on project files, because depending on how things are explained and presented they might not be necessary.  Then again if people are for them, then I might as well do them.

  • PencilandincPencilandinc Website User Posts: 143

    One suggestion: Organize the book in a chronologically "start-to-end" paradigm while maintaining a "cookbook" format. Inform the reader (in the foreword/introduction) that it is written as such so that more experienced users/editors can browse to whichever chapters/sections interest them most while less experienced users can go from beginning to end and learn the program.

    Give them one caveat (and this will minimize on the amount of assets you have to make available for downloading): Structure your lessons so that--in each lesson--they themselves build the assets to be used in successive chapters. You MAY have to provide the occasional PNG, OBJ,  or audio file, but--other than that--provide the path and let each one follow it in the way they choose.

  • MichaelJamesMichaelJames Website User Posts: 2,038 Enthusiast

    I haven't gotten much of a response.  I am still working on the book but proportionally a much slower rate to meet the interest.

  • aarondcaarondc Website User Posts: 264

    Your market  is people who want to read about a dynamic, visual process. Not for me. Better to do video content for my purposes of learning.

  • MichaelJamesMichaelJames Website User Posts: 2,038 Enthusiast
    edited February 2015

    A million hour video series is very overwhelming and while nice, is not practical.  It's a visual but guess what somethings are nice about being able to open a book to see the function in 2 seconds.  Everyone has different opinions on it.  I have some Curious Turtle tutorials for Mocha Pro... Some ones from Warren Eagle on Davinici Resolve, I subscribed to Color Grading Central for 6 months, I scour the internet and youtube for videoes. 

    The videos are endless.  I will spend an hour watching a video just to get that 5 seconds of answers.  I'd also turn to a book's section on how to get realistic fog and dust for a minute's read to get results. 

    I'm still going to finish this, because I know it would be useful for me to have every bit of knowledge using hitfilm put into on paper.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,319 Ambassador

    No, I'm with ya, MichaelJames--oftentimes video is nice, but a lot of that is getting to see where individual controls are, but there are a lot of 30 minute tutorials that are 2 minutes of explanation and 28 minutes of watching something get built. Books are still good to prop up on the table next to you.

    I'll use the "Andrew Kramer Star" as an example--ready? Make a few planes of fractal noise, precomp/embed. Apply sphere filter. Make some more fractal noise, or use a fire effect. Apply polar warp. Move polar warp footage into position over sphere layer. use curve/color vibrance, hue/saturation or your favorite grading tools to add color. That's it. Yes, it's helpful to watch Andrew Kramer, Simon Jones and Axel Wilkenson work through it to see exactly what they do, but, honestly, explaining that effect takes one minute.

    Besides, I know too many people who are youtubing tutorials--which is dumb. Because that' flipping out of your editor to watch video, then back into the editor. At least get a youtube downloader and move the tutorial offline to a phone or tablet to not interrupt workflow.

    Michael, did you want me to cave and go on Google Hangouts?

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

    You can only describe the Kramer star like that because you're an expert user, Triem23. :) To a new user, your description doesn't help at all. And that's the other challenge of any kind of training materials - every user will be coming at it with different experience, so judging how much detail to include is really, really tricky. Too much and you bore the advanced users; too little and you lose the newcomers.

    The main thing is that everybody learns in different ways. It's good to have some written tutorials as well as video tutorials.

    Having access to a tablet or second monitor is definitely useful for watching tutorials,

  • aarondcaarondc Website User Posts: 264
    edited February 2015

    My response to be honest is based on not much sleep and a lot of work stress at the moment. I'd like to apologise for the negative aspect. I could have provided the feedback without it.

    I have a book called, "Story". It speaks about the core principles, with examples. And it floats my boat. Whilst the example movies he discusses could be videos, there is definitely something handy in being able to read something a few times and let it sink in. Concepts. Constructing an overarching story from basic building blocks.

    With a book discussing software you are at the mercy of the developers - HF2 changed in terms of UI to HF3. Your diagrams are now out of step with the software.

    But back to my "Story" example: perhaps you could discuss VFX concepts and how they are implemented, rather than how a specific application does them, and only provide examples from the current HF software version.

    Good luck with it - sincerely.


  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,319 Ambassador

    @aarondc there is value in the type of book you describe, but several have been written, and most of those by 20-30 year veterans. There are also a crapton of books on Photoshop, AE, Blender, GIMP, etc. There aren't any for Hitfilm yet, so MichaelJames has a unique niche. 

    Add to that Hitfilm's documentation is pretty inadequate, and it's a niche with a need. 

    A couple of years ago, Michael tried to spearhead a drive to crowdsource the Hitfilm documentation--he and I submitted a couple of things, then it died. Michael is ambitiously pressing on. 

    Personally I think there would be a fair amount of interest in an "every **** slider" book, discussing the underlying principles of the controls. Once you have a basic list of that, and a good discussion of basic VFX principles and Hitfilm workflow, tutorials can go faster. 

    I wouldn't even worry about screenshots changing except for the audio meters and larger timeline previews the changes in the HFP3 UI are basically cosmetic. New colors and font, but the same tab types and division of panels. 

  • aarondcaarondc Website User Posts: 264
  • HybridHaloHybridHalo Website User Posts: 56 Enthusiast

    I'd buy a copy if it contained more than three compromising photographs of Simon Jones. Two just wouldn't cut it and four would be an overload. Three is just right.


  • MichaelJamesMichaelJames Website User Posts: 2,038 Enthusiast
    edited February 2015

    @Triem23 yea if you could that would be helpful

    @Aarondc knowing the basic principles is important and nice, but sometimes you just want to do the thing you are wanting to do.  I am learning VFX because I want to add things to filmmaking.  I am learning color correction and grading because I want to add things to my filmmaking.  Ideally I would love to pass those things off to someone who specializes in it, but im still a little ways from that.  Those are often 2 areas that really hold back indie filmmaking, when they have a halfway decent concept.  Even if you do not have a halfway decent concept and story and actors sometimes movies are more about the visuals (Michael Bay movies) then the story or acting.  If I could just crack open a book and get the information to do exactly what I want I would because that would free up time to just make projects. 

    The current Hollywood Orange Teal look is more than just using curves to push orange into the midtones and teal into the shadows.  You get a punchy/contrasty image more than just dropping contrast onto your video and cranking it up.   I have a thread  on here on color grading that has millions of articles on color grading.  It took randomly posting on BMD's website to catch the colorist from Need for Speed and have him recommend a book and a starting point as to how to accomplish those things.

  • Aladdin4dAladdin4d Moderator Website User, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,509 Enthusiast

    Being old, set in my ways and new to Hitfilm I would just about kill for any kind of book on Hitfilm be it Triem23's "every **** slider" reference or something more basic. Video tutorials can be great but many are click here, here and here and then do this and that without ever really explaining the how or why of what's being done or you end up watching something for 20 minutes but you were really only interested in the bit at 16:22 - 17:34. Sure you get the info you wanted but then if you're like me 6 months later you've forgotten how you did that thing and where you found the information the first time!

  • Stargazer54Stargazer54 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,734 Ambassador

    @Aladdin4d Agreed.  A text reference, with an index is preferable when trying look up a tool, slider or function and you need just that specific thing.   


  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,319 Ambassador

    Another thing showing up in study after study is that retention rates of infinformation tend to be higher with paper books than digital screens or video. There's something about the tactile feedback of a nook that gets the brain in gear. 

    Besides,  and maybe it's cuz I'm old, but I can search around a nook quicker than a digital file. Flipping pages beats flicking a screen. 

    I have another point, but I have to come back to it. This smartphone is very low on charge.  

  • SimonKJonesSimonKJones Moderator Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,450 Enthusiast
    edited February 2015

    So low on charge that the letter 'b' turned into an 'n'? ;) I was a little confused, because in the UK there is an ereader called a 'nook'...

  • MichaelJamesMichaelJames Website User Posts: 2,038 Enthusiast
  • MichaelJamesMichaelJames Website User Posts: 2,038 Enthusiast

    I'll be posting some excerpts from my book to hopefully gain some more interest and show off some new stuff.  Working on the What does this button do section.

  • MattAdamsonMattAdamson Website User Posts: 5

    Hi Michael

    did you manage to complete any excerpts? I'd love to see this book


  • GodofThunderGodofThunder Website User Posts: 190 Just Starting Out

    I would be happy to pay £25-£50 for a book.

    For my way of working I like books that are similar in style to 'how to cheat in Motion' or  'The Visual Effects Arsenal: VFX Solutions for the Independent Filmmaker ' where there is an example followed by the how to do it. I also like the style of Simon Ubsdell's motion video's which could be applied to a text format. although he does long videos sometimes, he tries to keep them short as possible and the content is all instruction and step by step.

    In my head I know what effect I want, but I don't have the skill set to play with settings from scratch to get to the finished effect. I need a starting point from which then I can tinker with settings later to get the more personal look, because by then I would have an idea of what the settings do.

  • dagafferdagaffer Website User Posts: 58

    Look I am your target audience . I know just a little and can't use it enough to be a power user as this is avocation not vocation. I would like to see a step by step with reference to simple steps that are found elseware in the book so  it won't bore the more skilled or leave the rest of us behind. pictures that show this is what it shoud look like at 3.22  or what ever on the time line if you did it right. Also a section or sections on effects and why and where to use them for impact. sort of the idea in the video that shows the focus on the girls face. not everyone knows the impact of good and suttle effects and the power of great editing.

  • dagafferdagaffer Website User Posts: 58

    One more thing don't for get sound. voice over cuts with overlap  rising ebbing site recording . not the recording so much it's self but how to use it to involk emotion. don't forget the US,Hitler. and stalen brought their countries to war with good editing.

  • MichaelJamesMichaelJames Website User Posts: 2,038 Enthusiast

    At mark yea I found those books useful

  • GodofThunderGodofThunder Website User Posts: 190 Just Starting Out

    Another great book is '(digital) visual effects & compositing' by Jon Gress. Lots of simple but effective tips which can be applied to any NLE.

  • HellbentFilmsHellbentFilms Website User Posts: 17
    edited September 2015

    I would like a section of the book to talk about why hitfilm never really works. I'm getting tried of seeing "Sorry hitfilm is not responding would you like to send a dump file?" They need to fix all the **** bugs before they come out with Hitfilm 4. I've had hitfilm since July 15th 2011 and have only been able to complete one 2 min short. I even went out and bought a new computer just for hitfilm and it still doesn't work. 

  • CedricBonnierCedricBonnier Staff Administrator, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 1,190 Staff

    HellbentFilms Sorry you are experiencing issues with the software. Could you please contact support explaining what doesn't work or what you think is wrong? We are always happy to fix bugs and quirks but unless we know about it there is little chance of them ever being fixed.

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