Recently Hitfilm released their Express 3 version for free (available here) and around the same time Resolve 12 (available here) came out with the new emphasis on editing. Both offer multitrack editing something that only a couple of years ago would have been reserved for only top end editing suites costing upwards of $1000. Both suites have a significant edge over the competition but which is the best?
One of the biggest benefits of Hitfilm is that it's based around visual effects. It leverages it's composition tools by allowing you to easily switch between editing and vfx without changing programs or projects.
Hitfilm is also fairly simple and easy to learn. So if your just starting out with editing this might be easier to learn than the slightly more professionally inclined Resolve.
So the first thing that I noticed was that Hitfilm doesn't have videos scopes. This is fairly huge for me given that I shoot on a Blackmagic Camera and always shoot in Log. They do however have a baked in histogram on the "Levels Histogram" however it is not effected by any changes you make to the image, only the values of the source image.
Another thing that Hitfilm Express lacks is a Audio Sync feature. Now this use to be a special feature but now with Resolve featuring it, it would suck to have to line up the audio manually. A big win again for Resolve.
Although both programs offer a premium version. It feels more apparent in Hitfilm. Hitfilm offers packages such as "3D model import" (which is awesome!) which can be bought to add on to Express.
Hitfilm is also lacking several other professional features such as XML support that Resolve has which will make cross-program editing for things such as color correction that Hitfilm is kind of lacking in very difficult/impossible.
Resolve started as the standard for color correction and since Resolve 11, they have been trying to sneak editing features. Luckily as an industry standard already it offers lots of professional features such as XML, Scopes, ect. and Resolve 12 continues to add great features to the list.
One of the best parts of Resolve 12 is the new multicam tools. These tools puts Resolve above the rest and up to the realm of Final Cut and Premiere. Why? Because doing audio syncs using software can save you upwards of 30 minutes on larger projects.
Blackmagic also added a cool feature of Optical Flow. This is essentially Twixtor. I have not done tests but I assume that it's approximately the same but not quite. But still awesome considering not even Premiere offers this feature.
So my suggestion. Download both. They're both free. Resolve offers better color correction but currently Hitfilm is better at visual effects. So which is better at editing? Overall I think Resolve 12 is by far the better option. Not only does it offer audio sync for clips but also offers professional features like XMLs and Optical Flow.
Zachary Will is an Award-Winning Filmmaker creating short films and content for the Internet as the owner of Riverside Studios. He has a Bachelor's in Film from Full Sail University. He has worked on productions for companies like Webmd, Sears, Home Depot, Six Flags and more!
"the trick is to never give up... I think the secret of success is not how little you get knocked down but how often you get back up." - Gareth Edwards