Explore the different editing tools available in HitFilm Express in this video.
- Okay, I'd really suggest that you fire up HitFilm, and follow along directly with this tutorial, 'cause we're finally going to get our hands dirty down on the editor timeline. If you have your own clips to be working with, that's great. If not, we have a ZIP file you can download, containing a few samples. If you haven't already, start HitFilm and choose New from the Home screen. Choose a preset from the project screen that suits your files. If you're using my sample shots, go for 1080p, full HD, at 25 fps. Then, click Start Editing.
You'll now need to import your video files to the Media panel. Take a look at the earlier video, Importing Your Video Files into HitFilm, for details. I'll drag these clips in, from my folder window. Now that that there are some clips to play with, we need to think about what we want to do with them. If you drag a video from the Media panel directly onto the timeline, it'll use the entire duration of that video. This is rarely what you want to do, because your clips are likely to have unwanted elements at the start, and at the end. For example, when you're still setting up your camera, or perhaps, you're telling your interview subject to start speaking, or when you shout, cut, at the very end.
This is where the trimmer comes in. Selecting a video in the media panel displays it up in the trimmer panel at the top-left here. Here, you can navigate through the entire video using the mini-playhead, down on this timeline bar. You can click anywhere on the panel to jump straight to that frame, or click and drag to move it throughout. This is sometimes called scrubbing. You can also simply click the Play button to start and stop playback. Once you know which section of the video you actually want to use, move your playhead to the start of the section.
You can use the Previous and Next Frame buttons to fine-tune to a specific frame, if you want to. Then, click the Set Inpoint button. And, that's how that timeline bar gains a darker portion. The lighter gray part is what you're going to be keeping. Now, move that playhead to the end of the section you want to keep, and click the Set Outpoint button. You can also use the I and the O shortcut keys on your keyboard. You've now defined a trimmed section of this video.
Click the Insert button, to add the clip to the main editor timeline. The first time we add a video to an empty timeline, HitFilm will automatically check to see if the project settings match those of the video clip that you're adding. This is a good extra way to check that you've got everything set up just right. Note that you can use the trimming process multiple times, even within the same video. This is very useful for picking out several good bits from a much longer source video. You can also switch to different videos in the Media panel, and repeat the process to pick out the good bits.
For this video, I'm just going to quickly find my inpoint, and click the Set Inpoint button. Then, find the outpoint and click the Set Outpoint button. Each time I click the Insert button, the newly trimmed section will be added at the playhead's position down on the Editor timeline. As you continue to add trimmed clips to the Editor timeline, you'll begin to create a roughly edited sequence. You're unlikely to be able to call this finished, though, which is where the Timeline tools come in. Down the left edge of the timeline panel, you'll see a column of editing tools.
These are all very useful, although how much you exactly use each one, will depend on your editing style and the needs of your projects. The Selection tool is what you'll be using the most. This lets you very easily adjust your edit, by clicking and dragging with the mouse. For example, I could grab this clip, and move it over to the right. This means that it won't show up in the edited video sequence until later on. I could continue to use this technique to swap clips around, clicking and dragging the clips, until I get the order I'm after.
You can move multiple clips at once, by dragging the box around them first, and then dragging the whole lot. You can deselect clips by clicking anywhere else, on an empty part of the timeline. The Selection tool can also be used to further adjust your trimmed clips. Let's say I want to see some more of this last clip, and have it last longer. All I have to do, is click and drag on the right edge, to extend its outpoint. This is a good time to note that you can adjust the view scale of the timeline, using the Zoom Slider down here.
This way, you can adjust your view, to either get a broad overview of your entire project, or go all the way in, to fine tune things frame-by-frame. As you drag the outpoint of a clip, you get a preview up in the Viewer, showing the new frame that you're adjusting it to. You can also adjust the inpoint of any clip, by clicking and dragging on its left edge. As you adjust your clips, be aware that any blank areas in the timeline will show up as black frames in the final video. If during editing, you create a gap between clips, you can very easily close it, by right-clicking on the space, and choosing the Ripple Delete Gap option.
This will shift everything that's to the right of that point over to the left, so that the gap is removed. Remarkably, you now know everything you need to do decent video editing. After all, editing is basically putting one clip after another, to create a sequence. Everything that we learn after this is about either making your job easier, or just raising the quality of your projects. So, let's dive into what the rest of those tools do. The Hand tool is very simple, giving you a method of scrolling around the timeline, without accidentally changing the position of any of your clips.
With the hand selected, clicking and dragging anywhere on the timeline, including on clips, will move your timeline view around, so that you can look at different areas. This will become increasingly useful as your projects grow bigger. The Slice tool lets you click anywhere on a clip to create a new cut, slicing that original clip into two separate ones. These two clips can then be edited and treated independently of one another. The Slip tool is an interesting one, in that it provides a very useful shortcut, speeding up your workflow.
With it selected, clicking and dragging on a clip will adjust the contents of that clip backwards or forwards in time, without moving its position on the editor timeline. This can take a moment to get your head around. Imagine with this clip, I've decided that it's at exactly the right place in the edit, but that I want the trimmed contents inside the clip to start and finish a second earlier. Dragging with the Slip tool lets me do just this. Up in the Viewer, you can see previews of the new start and end frames for this clip.
What's interesting is that you could actually do this, just using the Selection tool, but it would require a bit of fiddly work. You'd need to make space on the timeline, by moving the adjacent clips. Then, move the clip in question, adjust its inpoint, to add a second onto the start, adjust the outpoint, to trim off a second from the end, and then, you'd have to move everything back into place. It takes a long time, and it's very fiddly. Instead, the Slip tool does all of that, with a single click. Handy, right? The next tool down is called Slide, and it also provides a single-click method to accomplish something which would be possible, but fiddly to do otherwise.
Clicking and dragging on a clip with the Slide tool will move it left and right on the timeline, adjusting the adjacent clips, so that no gaps are left. The contents of the slid clip will be unchanged, but it will now be in a new position in time. The Ripple Edit tool is one you'll probably find yourself using a lot. This is similar to trimming the in or outpoint of a clip with the Selection tool, except it simultaneously adjusts all of the clips to the left or right, to ensure that no gaps are created.
So, after I adjust this outpoint, when I release the mouse or the clips to the right, who have moved to close the gap, which would have otherwise been created. I find myself constantly switching between the Selection and the Ripple Edit tools. Whereas Slip and Slide are less frequently used, and they're more for special cases. It's worth trying to remember the keyboard shortcuts for Selection and Ripple, Pressing V activates Selection, while pressing R will switch to the Ripple Edit. Once you start settling into a rhythm, with editing your projects, knowing these shortcuts will save you a surprising amount of time.
The Roll Edit tool simultaneously adjusts the inpoint of one clip, and the outpoint of the adjacent one. This way, you can very easily roll the exact point of an edit with a single click, rather then having to adjust each clip separately. And lastly, we have the Rate Stretch tool, which is a fancy name for the Speed tool. With this selected, you can adjust the playback speed of a clip, by dragging on its in or outpoint. So, if I have a clip which is five seconds long, and I then use the Rate Stretch tool, to extend it to last ten seconds, it'll play back in slow motion at half speed.
Either contents of that clip remain the same, they just take longer to play back. If I rate-stretch it in the other direction, and halve its length to 2.5 seconds, it'll then play back at double speed. While slow motion is often used for dramatic purposes in movies, it can also be very useful for presentations, if you want to slow down or speed up particular shots, to better illustrate your point. At the bottom the timeline tall list are three more icons. The first two are related to Export, which is the process by which you get your project out of HitFilm, and into a new video file, so that anybody can watch it.
I'll be covering those in the chapter Exporting Your Video, later on in the course. Right at the bottom, you'll see the snapping button, which can be toggled on or off. This isn't really a tool in the same way as the main editing tools. Instead, this sets where the clips on the timeline stick to each other. With snapping enabled, watch what happens when I move a clip close to another one. They snap together, and I can be absolutely certain, that there's no blank frames in between them. With snapping deactivated, I can move the clips freely.
And, they don't snap together. Most of the time, you're going to want snapping turned on. But, there will be occasions when you need a bit more freedom, and you don't want clips automatically snapping to the wrong thing. If this all feels a little bit overwhelming, really, don't worry. You don't have to remember what every single one of those tools does, right away. In fact, all you need to actually be able to do to actually do video editing, is to be able to move clips around, and trim them a bit. Everything else can come later on. What this course can't really do in the time that we have, is teach you about the art of video editing. There are entire books and courses dedicated to that kind of thing, of course.
But if I was to give you one tip, it would be to be completely ruthless in your editing. Keep everything as short as possible. Cut away from shots, as soon as they've done their job. Don't linger on things, because that's the quickest way to lose your audience's attention. So, next up, we're going to pause for a moment, and take a look at something that's very important. Saving your projects.
- Getting started with HitFilm Express
- Setting up a camera and lighting
- Making a shooting checklist
- Shooting on a green screen
- Transferring from camera to computer
- Converting video formats
- Importing videos into HitFilm
- Using essential editing techniques
- Using multiple tracks
- Making color corrections
- Working with keyframes and composite shots
- Creating titles and lower-third captions
- Exporting and sharing video