Tag Archives: hitfilm


Kramer-style star

An occasional hobby is taking Andrew Kramer’s fantastic tutorials for After Effects and transposing them into HitFilm, to see how close I can get ‘em. Most of the time it works out pretty damn well.

So, his latest tutorial is a beautiful star close-up, and this is my own version, with texture contributions from the inimitable Axel Wilkinson.

I met Andrew at NAB a couple of years back and he was a thoroughly pleasant chap. I believe his words were “you’re the guys that make HitFilm! That’s pretty epic.”

How to run a successful Kickstarter


Back in May I put together the HitFilm for Mac Kickstarter campaign for FXhome. We were asking for £25,000 and ended up with £58,126. Which was nice.

I thought it might be interesting to take a look at how we approached the campaign. Hopefully this post will be useful to any of you looking to run your own Kickstarter. Continue reading

HitFilm for Mac Kickstarter

This is one of the more interesting projects I’ve worked on at FXhome. Our visual effects and video editing software HitFilm has been out on PC for a couple of years now and we’ve been asked continually about the possibility of a Mac version.

For various reasons that wasn’t a viable thing for a long while. Thankfully, that’s now changed and we’re doing HitFilm for Mac. But that’s easier said than done (there isn’t a “build for Mac” button, alas), so we’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to give the project a literal kickstart.

Do check it out and back it if you can, or spread it amongst your friends and colleagues. Click here to check it out.

Musings from the render farm


When I say ‘render farm’, I do of course mean my one and only computer. So while it valiantly chugs through the rendering of VFX shots for Arms Race I’m left unable to use it for much else.

So, here I am on my S3 finding out just how painful it is to type a blog post on my mobile phone. As it turns out, the combination of the S3’s absurdly massive screen and the stunning SwiftKey keyboard makes it rather pleasant and easy. This is the first time typing on a portable device hasn’t irritated me. It’s almost productive!

It’s been a busy time of late. A month back I embarked on an ambitious promo shoot for FXhome that required filming in centralish London and North Norfolk on the same day, a 2-day shoot that went off remarkably smoothly. Not least thanks to our pro crew, brought in by my colleague Tom ‘I used to work in London’ McLoughlin.

Feels like Tom only just started working at FXhome but it’s been over a year. It’s made a huge difference to the amount and quality of work we can do, having him there.

Talking of which, we both headed to Amsterdam about 5 minutes after the shoot to attend the IBC Show. It was a long, tiring week of standing up all day in an exhibition centre. On the other hand, we had the pleasure of revealing and showing off HitFilm 2 and then venturing into Amsterdam in the evenings.

I really, really love Amsterdam. Must go back at some point.

Meanwhile, the arrival of Jones Jr draws ever nearer. Very exciting times indeed. Can’t wait to meet the little fella.

November, then, is shaping up to be utterly batshit mental:

1st – HitFilm 2 drops.
10th – Arms Race Escalation premieres.
24th – due date.


Demon face VFX breakdown

This morning I threw together a quick mini-tutorial on the demon face shot from Confrontation At Dawn. It’s quick and dirty, but shows just how simple such an effective shot can be:

My VFX breakdown & director’s commentary

I forgot to post this a few weeks back when it first went up. It’s an extended, very detailed director’s commentary and VFX breakdown of the short film Extraction Protocol, which I directed for FXhome.

If VFX and low budget filmmaking are your thing, it’s worth a watch:

There’s also a broader Making Of here:

On directing Extraction Protocol

One of the most exciting projects I’ve worked on at FXhome is the upcoming short film Extraction Protocol. It’s a sci-fi love letter to the cyberpunk genre and the Deus Ex: Human Revolution computer game and it’s going to be released next week.

It’s by far the biggest production I’ve directed and it’s been a thoroughly satisfying challenge from start to finish. It started in the autumn last year, when we brainstormed a few ideas for short films we could put together that would show off the new HitFilm software and appeal to our community. At the time I was hugely excited about the impending release of DE:HR (it turned out to be one of my games of the year, as I wrote about over on Potential Gamer recently) so I couldn’t resist using that as inspiration.

The entire short was shot in one day (except for one shot which I grabbed as a pick-up a couple of weeks ago) back in September. The shoot was just the right scale: professional and well crewed, but keeping the numbers to a minimum so that we could move fast.

Speed was the word, with over 40 shots to contend with, some of which were complex VFX and action shots with multiple elements and setups. The ‘story’ (it’s fairly bare bones!) was designed to only require 5 locations (plus 2 major greenscreen setups) but even that number was pushing it, requiring the cast and crew to move from one to the next quickly and set up in double-quick time.

Thankfully I had a superb team headed up by DP Ross Turner (who masquerades during daylight hours as an FXhome web dev) and FXhome newbie Tom McLoughlin (who certainly isn’t new to the video production business) who was my AD for the day and also produced the project.

Then Christmas happened, which at FXhome means you’re incredibly busy for several months. Post-production happened when there was time, but only began in earnest in mid-December. It’s been a lot of fun pushing the limits of my understanding of HitFilm, a product of which I’m still only scratching the surface despite being involved in its design.

The last element was the music, for which we have an original score composed by Michael Powell (no, not that one). It’s really quite marvellous and successfully evokes spy thrillers, Blade Runner, Batman Begins, Metal Gear Solid and Deus Ex all in the space of 2 minutes. I don’t know if Michael deliberately touched on those reference points or whether it’s just thematic correlation, but I like it. It’s one of the few occasions I’ve had where the original score easily matches up to the temp music I’d been using, so I hope we get a chance to work with Michael again.

Extraction Protocol is a small thing, being only a couple of minutes long, but it’s had a lot of effort poured into it. I’m really pleased with it overall and hopefully The Internets will also take to it when it’s released next week on the HitFilm YouTube channel.