When I started VFX, I couldn't afford After Effects, which up until now was the standard in Visual Effects/Motion Graphics software. I wanted to find something a bit easier to use, and with more personal support. I ended up choosing Visionlab by FXHome. I'm not sure how I found them, but I loved the company mentality, and I have a soft spot in my heart for start up companies.
After a while, FxHome released a new product called HitFilm. Hitfilm was better suited to compete with industry standards, but it was PC only, and I'm a Mac. Recently, I got a new Mac that has a dedicated graphics card, and I figured out Boot Camp, et voila, I'm both Mac and PC.
So, the first thing I did was message Simon Jones, who works in Communications at FxHome. He was gracious enough to take time out of his day to answer some of my questions, and before I knew it, I had purchased a license.
I'm glad I did.
Hitfilm is an amazing piece of software, and by buying it when I did, I got access to a free upgrade to Hitfilm 2 Ultimate, which was released Nov 1. It does some things that After Effects can't do without third party plugins, and it does them well.
One of the things it does well is the integration of 3D models with 2D footage and Particle Effects. In a previous article, I wrote briefly about 3D integration in VFX Software, and out of all the options, I prefer Hitfilm. I haven't messed with model animation (parts of the model moving independently from each other), but so far, getting things in and getting them looking good is painless.
Hitfilm also comes with a version of Mocha (planer camera tracking) specifically made for the software package. I have yet to try it in detail, but from what I've seen, It's pretty slick.
Another great thing that Hitfilm does is that the software has a direct line to the Hitfilm Community. Before you even start a project, you get the latest news, blog posts, forums and tutorials. This is a brilliant move by FxHome, as it encourages communication in it's user base. Additionally, HitfIlm members don't have to search each other out for the latest news and techniques, something I've seen happen in other software packages.
And that's somewhere that Hitfilm excels. Aside from the impressive feature list, it's users are it's strength. The Hitfilm community believes in the software, and FxHome so much more than I've seen of Adobe users. The Hitfilm team regularly communicates with the user base, and updates/tips are given regularly. It's almost as if the users feel a sense of ownership of the company, much like early Mac users did when Apple Computer was the underdog.
The only issue I have is that I can't import my footage straight from my camera into Hitfilm, as I use a tape based camera, and there's no Capture function. Since I don't have an NLE program like SONY Vegas, I had to find a roundabout way to get footage into hitfilm through a shareware program called HDVSplit. Also, Hitfilm has been acting weird when I try to use .mov files (what I usually edit with), but maybe there's a fix or technique that I'll find soon to address this.
Check out the trailer for Hitfilm 2 below, and if you like it, download the demo and try it for yourself.