Have you ever wanted to produce a film that looks just like a Hollywood movie? Well, you used to need huge budgets to produce anything close to a blockbuster film. However, these days, technology has advanced to a stage where the average home movie maker can produce films that look really professional.
Don't believe me? Well, then you should check out HitFilm 2. HitFilm is a video editing software that allows you to add solid special effects, just like those used by professional movie studios. Its not unlike Adobe After Effects, which is a competing software dedicated to video special effects.
In this article, I'm going to run through some the features of HitFilm 2 so you can see if it it meets your needs.
HitFilm 2 comes in three versions - Express, Standard and Ultimate.
HitFilm 2 special effects software
All three versions give you editing tools like 3D compositing, manipulation of light, shadows, motion blur, grunge effects, particle and simulation effects, integrated YouTube export, etc. The difference is that in the Ultimate package, you can much more in-built effects and more advanced 3D simulation.
I think HitFilm is priced very competitively and for the amount of stuff you get from the package, I think it's a great deal.
Let's look at some of its more outstanding features below.
3D compositing allows you to layer 3D objects into your video. It's advanced video editing skillset that professionals use - not unlike the concept of layers in Photoshop.
Using compositing effects in HitFilm 2
For example, if you wanted to make import a 3D graphic (say, a UFO) into your video, you can create it in a separate 3D software, then import it into HitFilm. Within the software, there's built-in support for 3D models, so you can work with lights, motion blur and depth of field to create the video effect you want.
What I also like is the ability to apply professional chroma keying to remove green screens. For the uninitiated, the "green screen" is a industry standard effect used widely by professional video editors. What you do is to create a green screen (e.g. a green piece of cardboard), and have your actor do something (e.g. jump, fly, whatever) in front of it.
You capture that footage, then in post-production, import it into a video editor like HitFilm, then "remove" the green screen from the video, leaving only your actor. You can then overlay your actor into a different background so that it seems he or she is jumping or flying in space, for example.
After looking at HitFilm 2, I think the software lets you add 3D objects / titles, apply chroma keys, remove green screens and also track in 2D and 3D very easily. It's great if you're new to these effects and want to get your fingers wet.
Here's my favorite part of HitFilm. There are over 150 professional effects you can apply to your video. Let's talk about a few of them here.
One of the best features is the ability to create organic, fractal animations with thousands of particles. This kind of effect is useful if you want to create, say, an explosion effect in the video. Normally, you may have to really go out and film the explosion, but with HitFilm you can render the effect right into the production. Check out the video below to see what I mean.
Apply fractal effects in HitFilm 2
I also like HitFilm's ability to age a video. You know how some of the films these days have lens dirt, artificial grain and shakes built into the video? Well, those effects may not be manually applied. Someone most probably used something like HitFilm to achieve the effect.
There are all sorts of other effects I saw in HitFilm when I tried the software out. You can "shatter" video frames into thousands of fragments. You can add gunfire to your video, input electrical storms, have lots of blood splashing across your lens, inject lens and flares into the brightest bits of your video. And much more.
Simulating Iron Man thrusters in HitFilm 2
And unlike some other software, where you need to buy plug-ins to get more effects, HitFilm 2 includes everything. So you don't have to pay more - which is great.
The next aspect of HitFilm I should mention concerns its video editing toolset. Besides special effects, HitFilm allows you to add in slides and transitions to your video.
You can add in solid video and audio tracks to augment your production, along with trimming, cropping and so forth. There are also tools for color correction and manipulation of tones, hue and saturation in your video.
And once you're done with your video, you can export the production in HD into DVD or Blu-Ray or upload straight into YouTube.
On the whole, I think HitFilm 2 is a great package for adding special effects to your video. To the average home movie maker, special effects are usually something quite foreign and out of reach.
I think what HitFilm has done is to make those effects and arsenal of compositing tools available to the average user. You can begin working with 3D models, green screens, particle effects, etc. and slowly gain expertise.
You'd be surprised - many aspiring filmmakers these days experiment with tools just like HitFilm as a start, then eventually move on to do more professional work.
The HitFilm website also has a strong community which provides tutorials and advice. If you want to get into the software, it's one of the best places to check out, understand the tool more and see if it meets your needs.
I hope you now understand HitFilm too much better. Until next time, have fun editing your videos!
If you've been looking for a good video editing program, you may want to check out Corel VideoStudio ProThis software allows you to quickly create and share a movie using built-in templates, special effects, titles and transitions. You can apply unique effects such as stop-motion animation, time-lapse and chroma key to create brilliant digital videos.