Hitfilm Express Video Editor Review 2023: Pros & Cons

By Eva Williams 23 days ago, Software reviews

HitFilm Express

  • Rank
  • Platforms: Mac, Win
  • Pricing: Free/$9.99/$15.99 a month

Verdict: HitFilm Express is a popular video editor used by artists from around the globe. I like that it has a versatile toolkit that includes editing, compositing, and tilting instruments, as well as 3D options. Besides, the program appeals to creators with a rich collection of built-in video effects. With its drag-and-drop transitions, presets, seamless audio sync, and professional text features, even newcomers will cope with video editing tasks with ease.

Additionally, the developers offer many guides on how to mimic effects from various Hollywood TV series and films, like Westworld To Yuma, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Portal Combat. The most important thing for me is that the program allows users to continue working on other tasks while performing export in the background without reducing the speed.

  • More than 420 fantastic effects
  • Straightforward interface
  • Impressive color grading options
  • Cutting-edge motion capture
  • Easy-to-apply masks and layers
  • Some effects can’t be previewed
hitfilm express interface

Using HitFilm Express, you can also merge two scenes to create realistic shotgun effects, use tracking techniques to emphasize blaster effects, and produce iconic titles. Besides, with HitFilm Express, creating an authentic portal and lighting effects is very easy!

HitFilm Express: Main Benefits

hitfilm express logo

Nowadays, the market offers both desktop and web-based products to produce videos of top quality. But most of them are expensive. So, many editors choose HitFilm because it is free video editing software. Besides, using just a single program, you receive editing, compositing, titling, and 3D tools.

Easy Learning with Tutorials for Beginners

People new to photo editing may experience troubles launching this app. Therefore the “Learn” Sidebar will definitely come in handy. With just a single click, you can hide/display the panel at the right of the top menus.

Here you will find three videos with video editing tips on how to manage your media files, download the created content, and find different elements on UI.

The ‘All Categories’ section contains 39 videos that cover all aspects of filmmaking, like green screen work, adjusting audio pitch and color scheme, etc. Such an extensive collection of instructional materials makes HitFilm one of the best programs for novices.

Powerful Tools for Correcting Color and Grading

hitfilm express interface color grading

HitFilm Express also has handy color correction and grading options. This video editing software for Windows and Mac runs on Color Foundry engine used in such well-known films as Avatar, Alice In Wonderland, and The Avengers. A toolkit also includes curves and wheel, color balance, luma mixer, and luma key. Besides, it is possible to animate every color feature to embellish your clip with gradual transitions and original effects. If you want, you can create a cohesive color scheme in a video sequence without going the extra mile.

Using the basic correction panel, it is easy to tweak exposure, contrast, saturation, brightness, and other settings by dragging a slider or entering the required value manually. Usually, only expensive programs offer such advanced functionality, but there is no need to search for Movavi free or Sony Vegas free versions anymore. HitFilm allows using these features without paying a dime.

Advanced Tracking and Animation Features

hitfilm express interface motion tracking

In addition to common features, here you will also find cutting-edge options. For instance, you can track moving objects in a video clip, analyzes the way elements move and use this data to add a new object with the same motion algorithm. This option works best when you need to replace the UI of gadgets and devices that appear in footages. In other words, you can create a new interface that mimics the motions of those gadgets.

Moreover, users can make the scenes in their clips look more realistic by adding 2D characters, 3D models, and 3D animations. It is also a great idea to spice up your videos with animated titles and texts that are easy to customize. The program supports animations of various formats – OBJ, LWJ, 3DS, as well as Alembic and Filmbox.

Simulated 3D cameras, dynamic lighting, custom shadows, and similar effects also increase the realism of the setting. This video editing software for Mac also comes with built-in rigging and parenting animation features. With them, you can produce even complex animated videos.

Huge Visual Effects Library

hitfilm express interface effects library

This library of visual effects is constantly updated with new animations, motion graphics, original presets, and other assets. There are also multiple features for imitating real shootouts and fight scenes like 3D muzzle flashes, Sparks, Blood Mist, and more. Note that HitFilm is also a free 360 video editing software that allows a viewer to be fully immersed in a realistic environment of 360° videos for YouTube, Facebook or other platforms. I also like an easy and direct export process.

An updated version of the software attracts users with excellent stroke and vector stroke effects. They facilitate the drawing process: you can easily paint lines along the path connecting points and transform them into curves to draw organic shapes. These intuitive features will definitely complement your video editing and compositing toolkit.

Easy Sky Replacement and Masking Tools

The backdrop changing feature in HitFilm Express is very helpful. It is called the sky replacement tool and allows turning a boring flatland into impressive mountainous scenery or a dull winter sky into a mesmerizing sunset.

You can create many characters using masking and layering tools. This technique was used to assemble the Stormtrooper army in Star Wars: Rebellion. It is possible to clone an actor in a movie in just several minutes using these options, given that you work on a computer for video editing.

Ability to Extend Functionality with Plugins

The program is compatible with an array of third-party plugins, like:

Mocha HitFilm – Academy top-rated camera tracking

Boris 3D Object – 2D & 3D Title Text Creation

Foundry 3D Camera Tracker – 3D camera tracking

These additions extend the functionality of software allowing you to track in screen replacements, compose 3D objects into live-action, and create a seamless merge of additional elements. You can find all these options right in the timeline so there is no need to download and use other apps or try to get Adobe After Effects for free.

HitFilm is OpenFX compliant, opening the door to a larger world of OpenFX extensions you may find at ToolFarm or FXFactory.

HitFilm Express: Prices

The developers offer four different subscriptions.

Free - $0. It includes 10 songs, 25 sound effects, and 5 templates, and allows exporting as many HD videos as needed.

Creator - $9.99/month, or $6.25/month (billed annually). You get Hitfilm Creator, Imerge Creator, 100 songs, 100 sound effects, and 25 templates from the Artlist collection; export of an unlimited number of videos of up to 4K UHD quality and top-rated support are also included.

Pro - $15.99/month, or $9.99/month (billed annually). It includes a range of additional software like HitFilm Pro, Imerge Pro, Mocha HitFilm, BorisFX 3D Objects, and Foundry 3D Camera Tracker. You can use 200 songs, 200 sound effects, and 50 templates. Exporting up to 8K is also possible.

Enterprise – Custom pricing. Users receive the access to professional software and premium content. Customized terms and licenses, and top-rated customer support make this package a win-win option for companies.

If subscription-based pricing is not for you, get a lifetime license for HotFilm video maker for $349. For this money, you get 1 year of updates, technical support and a 3-seat license. The existing HitFilm users can renew their license on special terms saving up some money.