In this video, learn how HitFilm Express can be used to create visual effects shots and titles.
- [Instructor] Here I have a brand-new empty project. You know all about the editor timeline of course. But this time, let's do something a little different. In the Media panel, click the New button. Then select Composite Shot. This opens up a window with lots of options, most of which are quite similar to the ones you'd choose when starting a new project. I'm going to change the name to Example, then select the 1080p Full HD @ 25 frames per second template. Feel free to choose the template that best matches the kind of footage and projects that you're going to be working on.
Leave all the other settings as they are and hit the OK button. Take a look. We now have a completely new timeline. You can swap back to the editor timeline whenever you want by clicking the Editor tab. You can create as many of these composite shots as you want. So being able to switch between them using tabs like in a web browser is really useful. So what is a composite shot? They are not the same as the editor timeline. Whereas the editor timeline is designed for relatively long projects, where you create a continuing sequence of lots of different clips to create your overall video, composite shots are designed primarily for creating individual shots.
On the editor timeline, a track can contain multiple clips. In a composite shot, it's slightly different in that each layer can only contain a single item. Let's take a look at how it works. I'm going to import an image to work with. It doesn't matter what it is, so feel free to grab something of your own and add it to the Media panel. I'll now drag this onto the composite shot. This creates a new layer specifically for that image. In the composite shot, you can view a lot more detail about your layers by clicking the small triangle to open it up.
Each layer has multiple property groups which you can use to order what the layer is doing. As a simple first example, let's make this image move from left to right. It's very easy to grab the image in the viewer and slide it over to the left but it will now be on the left for the entire rest of the shot. To make it move or animate, we need to use something called keyframes. Click the little arrow to open up the Transform controls. Settings like these always start off static, which means that whatever you set them to will remain that way for the entire duration of the shot.
If you want to introduce animation, you need to activate keyframing for the relevant settings. In this case, I'll activate keyframing for the Position property by clicking the small gray circle. You'll see it go blue and a diamond shape will appear on the timeline, and that little diamond is your first keyframe and it marks that on that specific frame this is the position of the layer. Now, scoot the playhead forward to say about 10 seconds in, and then drag the layer in the viewer over to the right.
Check out the dotted line which appears showing how the keyframes are connected. We also now have a second keyframe on the timeline, marking the layer's new position on this frame. Keyframes always appear on whichever frame the playhead is currently at. Now if you move the playhead around, you'll see the layer move from left to right over the course of those 10 seconds. So you can really get the hang of how keyframes work, move the playhead to around the five seconds mark, then grab the layer in the viewer and move it up to the top of the screen.
The animation line is adjusted automatically, and a third keyframe is added. Keyframes are a very quick and efficient way of creating animation because you only need to make a small number of adjustments to create the overall animation. In this case, there's no need to go into every frame and adjust the layer's position. I just created three keyframes and then HitFilm handles the rest, and that is why they're called keyframes. They're the important ones. A gentle curve is created by default.
You can click and drag on these handles at the end of the solid lines to adjust the curvature, or if you prefer the movement to be along straight lines, you can adjust the type of animation. To change your keyframes at once, click on the Properties name in the list on the left, in this case, where it says Position. As you can see, all those keyframes have now been selected. Right-clicking on any of them brings up a menu from where you can change the spatial interpolation. This is a fancy phrase for how HitFilm gets from one keyframe to the next.
Switching to Linear changes the animation to straight lines. Auto Bezier will create automatically smooth curves, and if you make manual adjustments to the curve shape, then that turns those keyframes into manual beziers. This is a very obvious example of how keyframing is used to move a layer around, but keyframes can be used for almost anything. For example, if I turn on keyframing for opacity, it puts down a keyframe at 100%. Now if I move forward and change that setting down to 0%, you can see the layer gradually becoming transparent and disappearing as you move the playhead between those keyframes.
Keyframes aren't locked in place. You can move them around in the timeline by clicking and dragging. So if I decide I want the animation to stop before the layer starts disappearing, all I need to do is shift the opacity keyframes over to the right. I can select them both by dragging a box around them, and then simply drag them to their new position. The relative position of keyframes also adjusts the speed of change. If I move the opacity keyframes further apart, the fadeout takes longer. If I move them closer together, it happens more quickly.
You can jump between keyframes for the currently selected property using the Keyframe Navigation buttons at the top of the timeline, or by simply double-clicking on a keyframe. So what can you do with composite shots once you've made one? Well, you might have already noticed that the composite shot was added into the Media panel when I created it. This means it can now be used like any other item in the Media panel. If I switch back to the editor timeline by clicking on the tab here, I can then drag that example composite shot onto a track, just like I would a video or an image.
As I move the playhead, you can see that animation is now part of the shot. At any point, I can simply double-click on the composite shot, either in the Media panel or on timeline itself to jump right back into it to continue making adjustments. In the next chapter, I'll be looking at a more interesting and practical example of using composite shots and keyframes to create effective titles for your video 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