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HitFilm Express review

Create your own filmic masterpiece with this free video creation software

Hitfilm Express
(Image: © FXhome)

Our Verdict

A truly remarkable free video editor that can deliver astonishing results in the right hands. You'll need to invest some time to get the most from it, but it's well worth the effort.


  • Truly professional-grade software
  • Great selection of online tutorials
  • Highly extendable (for a fee)


  • Odd download process
  • High system requirements
  • Steep learning curve

Available for both Mac and Windows, HitFilm Express is free video editing software that provides professional-level tools without the professional-level price tag.

HitFilm Express is about more – much, much more – than just trimming away unwanted footage, tweaking colour levels, and exporting video to a new format. This is a full edit suite that can be used to work with filters and special effects, as well as a selection of 2D and 3D composition tools. While the emphasis of the program web site and tutorials is on creating Hollywood-style movies, it's also a great utility for vloggers – and YouTube uploading is built in. 

Getting hold of HitFilm Express is something of a palaver. You can’t just hit a link and download the software. Instead you have to take part in active promotion for the developer by sharing the fact that you're downloading it to social media.

That said, the convoluted download process proves to be a small price to pay for what turns out to be a fabulous program. HitFilm Express is packed with professional quality tools, including:

  • Advanced cutting tools
  • Keying for green screen effects
  • Audio and video filters
  • Compositing tools
  • Layers and masking
  • 3D video support

User experience

If you've used a video editor before, you'll find that there are few surprises when it comes to getting started with HitFilm Express. The interface is broadly similar to other comparable tools, with a central pool for imported material and a timeline to arrange it, but its unique feature set means it'll still be some time before you're able to get the most from it.

If you feel lost, there are endless video tutorials to help you master HitFilm Express. However, you can also learn by experimenting with effects, dropping clips onto the timeline, and trying out the composition tools. The tools on offer are genuinely impressive, and include high-grade animation options that are simply not available free anywhere else.

You can extend HitFilm Express with premium plugins as you become more familiar with its workflow and feel like branching out into new areas of editing.

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Sofia Wyciślik-Wilson

Sofia is a tech journalist who's been writing about software, hardware and the web for nearly 20 years – but still looks as youthful as ever! After years writing for magazines, life moved online and remains fuelled by technology, music and nature.

Having written for websites and magazine since 2000, producing a wide range of reviews, guides, tutorials, brochures, newsletters and more, Sofia continues to write for diverse audiences, from computing newbies to advanced users and business clients. Always willing to try something new, sharing new discoveries is a major passion.

Sofia lives and breathes Windows, Android, iOS, macOS and just about anything with a power button, but particular areas of interest include security, tweaking and privacy.