A Newbie Interface

cluelessnube Website User Posts: 476 Just Starting Out

I'm not sure how interested the Hitfilm business model is in video editing newbies.  The following comment will have value only to the degree Hitfilm hopes to attract newbies and move them up the sales chain. 

The awesome power of Hitfilm is a great asset to users, except when they are new to Hitfilm, or especially if they're new to video editing.  As with any powerful software, a lot of prospects will get lost forever if they don't survive the learning curve. 

What if when Hitfilm launched the user was presented with a very simple screen which allowed them to choose the interface  best suited for their level of experience?   A menu at top of screen could allow users to switch interfaces at any time.

The beginner interface would hide many of the more advanced features.  It could present a quite simple video editor, with just a video track and audio track, clip bin, timeline, some basic effects and transitions. 

The beginner interface might have levels, so that when the user was ready to learn more, they could choose Beginner Level 2, which would add more features to the interface.  Once those features were mastered they could continue to Beginner Level  3, 4, 5 etc.

At least in regards to newbies, the program is going to have to teach them the basics of video editing.   The fundamental principle of effective teaching is a divide and conquer strategy.   It's really a psychological management strategy designed to provide the user with a series of small successes which build upon each other over time, keeping the student motivated and engaged.

This "less is more" teaching strategy can often come in to conflict with programmer and sales culture.   Programmers naturally want to provide users with a much power as they can, that's their job.  The sales team understandably wants lots of features they can brag about.

At least in regards to newbies, it seems a mistake to dump all the many features in their lap at once.  Such generosity places a huge obstacle in their path, and many or most won't find their way through the learning curve.

Again, whether any of this is useful depends on how important video editing newbies are to the Hitfilm business plan, a factor I'm not yet in a position to understand.





  • Triem23
    Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 19,251 Ambassador

    Interesting idea. I could poke at it because I see problems with the idea, but, instead I'll just tag, say, @DanielGWood and @Danny77uk to make certain a couple of devs see this. 

    Then I'll blatantly plug the "Essential Hitfilm" playlist. My attempt to aid beginners is a very long, very detailed tutorial series aimed at absolute new users. Besides covering Hitfilm software, I've tried to sneak in a lot of general VFX theory as well. 

    Essential Hitfilm:

  • Yeremyah
    Yeremyah Website User Posts: 1,000 Enthusiast

    @Triem23 You have really put in a lot of work and effort in those tutorials. They truly are helpful. Cheers.

  • THX1139
    THX1139 Website User Posts: 545 Just Starting Out
    edited August 2017

    I think it's a good idea (although I'm not sure there should be so many levels) and a little more hand-holding would be great. I especially super-think that people should be encouraged to transcode into editing formats but maybe that's already done by the fact you have to buy an add-on pack to do common compressed formats. If they don't know this and try to edit, they will blame Hitfilm for the poor performance like I blamed DaVinci Resolve (and my PC) when really I just needed to transcode.

    Hitfilm already has alternative "workspaces" so maybe a basic one could remove certain less-used and potentially-overwhelming ones.

  • DannyDev
    DannyDev Staff Administrator, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 338 Staff


    Can you be more specific? Is there a particular part of the interface that could be made more accessable and if so how would you change it?



  • cluelessnube
    cluelessnube Website User Posts: 476 Just Starting Out

    Thanks for the feedback guys.

    Danny77uk, to be clear, I don't know Hitfilm, or video editing in general, well enough to be the one to divide the learning curve up in  to bite size pieces. 

    What I'm attempting to bring to the table is a teaching degree, and twenty years of working as a web technician (on topics other than video).  All I can really contribute at this point is an  attempt to provide a general vision of how basic teaching principles might be applied to interface design in the context of Hitfilm.

    Specifically, I'm attempting to highlight the "divide and conquer" strategy which is central to effective teaching, and apply that principle to interface design.

    Most powerful apps like Hitfilm create a big pile of features, and a big pile of manuals and tutorials, and then dump the whole thing on the new user all at once, a well intended "more is better" philosophy.  Obviously, many people make their way through the maze and  come out happy at the other end.  But many people do not, and that's the group I'm addressing my comments to.

    Is this a problem for Hitfilm?  I don't really know.  If your target market are those who are already experienced with other complex video editing tools, then probably not.  And newbies may not be a promising niche to serve, given that most may never get around to buying anything.

    If you're not already, it might be worth it to try to track how many people download the program against how many people wind up buying something.  Numbers like that might tell you whether issues like this are worth addressing.

    This is only a guess, but I doubt many people are walking away from Hitfilm because they don't like it.   As a video newbie myself, I can report I've been shopping for video editors for awhile now, and I have no idea where such a combination of features and support could be found elsewhere, for free.   As example, I've been looking at After Effects, which if rented would wind up being the most expensive app I've ever purchased in over 20 years online.  Great app apparently, but not such a great bargain.

    If it's true that Hitfilm itself is not turning people off, then those who are walking away from Hitfilm may be doing so mostly because they didn't make it over the learning curve.  One solution to this could be to divide the one big learning curve in to a bunch of little ones.

    Hope something in there is helpful.


  • Palacono
    Palacono Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 3,448 Enthusiast

    Sony/Magix Vegas has a "Show me how" button which pops up a mini menu of simple basic tutorials and also a "What's this?" icon which you can drag over specific things and it will explain what they are.

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