Fusion is amazingly powerful for a free program, rather like Resolve. It can do many of the things that Adobe After Effects can do, and is in some cases better, although After Effects also has quite a few features Fusion does not posses. Like Resolve there is a free version and a paid for, Studio version. The Studio version is about £800. The Studio version has better slow motion, more options for keying, can handle higher than HD projects; it will let you add plug-ins (like Boris Continuum, for example) and can use a network to render scenes. However, you can achieve a lot with the free version.
- Very powerful and packed with features
- Can do proper 3D – you can bring in 3D objects from other programs and texture them and move them around in 3D space. You will need a pretty powerful computer, however.
- A “dynamic link” with Resolve – take a clip in Resolve and send it to Fusion. Do some effects, render it and the new version appears on the timeline in Resolve. This is not quite as good as the Adobe dynamic link where the clip is rendered inside Premiere; with Fusion you have to render it in Fusion before you can use it in Resolve, but is very useful and takes the pain out of getting clips from the editing program to the effects program and vice-versa.
- Fusion is a node-based editor which means it works differently to effects programs to which you may be used. This makes it quite hard to learn. There are tutorials on the Internet but not as many as are available for Adobe After Effects.
- Fusion works on one clip at a time. In After effects I am used to bringing in a scene from Premiere and then applying effects to the clips as needed. With Fusion each shot would be an individual project. You can have as many clips as you like linked to the main clip for complex composites but you do not work the same was as After Effects. You can have two copies of Fusion open if you want to copy effects from one shot to another.
- Fusion does not do sound very well. If you want to export a clip with sound you have to add the sound in on the export tab.
Read more about Fusion here: https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/fusion
HitFilm is a another very comprehensive program with great keying, lots of brilliant particle effects and the ability to handle 3D objects. There is a free version, called HitFilm Express, as well as a paid for version. The paid version has a lot more features than the free version, but you can still do quite a bit in it, and then buy add-ons which eventually turn it into the full version. The paid version is about £300.
- Works like After Effects and “traditional” effects programs
- You can edit clips (as you would in EDIUS or Premiere) as well do effects and it is one of the few programs that copes with variable bit rate MP4 files of the sort filmed by iPhones. The editing is not as good as Premiere or EDIUS but you can add clips, trim, slip,, slide etc..
- Lot’s of lovely particle and SciFi effects for people that are making effects heavy movies. Not everything is in the free version of course.
- Lots of easy to follow tutorials on their YouTube channel to get you going.
- Mocha tacking included for better motion tracking.
- The free version is missing many features.
- Limit output formats – the free version only does MP4 files for YouTube.
- The editing side is limited and missing quite a few basic editing features.
- No decent way to export an edit from another editing program and bring it into HitFilm (i.e. no EDL, AAF or XML options)
Learn more about HitFilm Express here: https://hitfilm.com/express
This is a program which has been around for years. You can do many effects in it and many people have written very good free plug-ins. It does do somethings amazingly well – I use it for resizing clips and de-interlacing, for example.
Learn more about VirtualDub here : http://www.virtualdub.org/