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Introducing HitFilm (and a few other things)

So, it’s been a while since I posted on here (sorry!) but I have been a little busy. This will be a general me update, but with enough tidbits of things that are actually interesting that you should still be awake by the end.

Big news: HitFilm

I’ve been in my current job just over a year now, working on a secretive web project, which we finally unveiled a week ago. HitFilm is the all-new video editing and effects software from FXhome, with an accompanying website. The software is pretty amazing, both to newbie filmmakers like myself, and people who actually have some idea what they’re talking about. I won’t go on about it too much here for fear of getting it wrong, the HitFilm YouTube channel is much better if you’re interested.

The website is more my area of expertise (well duh). The core site was built from the ground up in-house, using PHP 5.3 and MongoDB as the primary datastore. We also make extensive use of jQuery, and some NodeJS, alongside a custom framework/component library.

It’s the first time I’ve worked with an experienced professional designer, which has been a big change and reflects well in the site. Previously I have been used to designers making a PSD then handing it over to developers to “code up”, which tends to result in overly-ambitious or overly-dull websites, rather than the coherent and well thought-out experience at HitFilm. It’s not that we don’t have areas to improve on, but that the underlying approach is sound.

This is the largest commercial project I’ve worked on to date, where it actually matters that visitors are impressed by the site and this directly impacts sales (some might argue the University of Kent websites are¬†commercial, I consider that tripe: Universities should not be trying to operate like businesses, and any prospective student that bases his/her decision on whether to attend a University on the website is a moron). Understandably then, we were a little apprehensive when it finally came time to launch. However, it has all gone very well so far, and we’re at the point where looking at future features is viable again. We have tons of ideas for where to go next with it, in many respects the best is still to come.

More big news: The Profit

I’ve also been working on a new film project with Lightmill. Our entry to the Virgin Media Shorts 2011 competition, “The Profit”, was finished last week, and is now being judged along with over 1000 other entries. The story of its conception and production is fairly epic, so I’ll dedicate a full-length post to that soon (honest!). In the meantime though, please watch it either on the VM Shorts website or Vimeo, and if you have a moment, leave a comment.

Barcelona and Twickenham

I’ve also squeezed some other stuff into the last few months, including a trip to Barcelona with my family, the photos for which are on Flickr. It’s a lovely city, not just for the stunning works of Gaudi, but also its people and atmosphere. It also has an impressive subway system, like how London’s could have been if we built it in the right century and planned it beforehand. Anyway, if you haven’t been to Barcelona, add it to your list!

Back in May I got to Twickenham for the third time this year, to see the Premiership final. Brilliant atmosphere with fans from many different clubs, and the game was fairly good too. Again, pictures on Flickr.¬†It’s a shame Bath didn’t quite make it, after a dodgy mid-season we were doing quite well, and for a few exciting moments in the last few games we had almost made it. Better luck next year eh.

Other projects

So a few posts back I referred to an unnamed history project I was working on. That’s still on the cards, and indeed not too far away from a first release. I’m also working on a web app to help me organise things, which I think will be pretty unique and possibly useful to others, more on that to come. I also have various smaller projects on the go, some of which I may post up in a “lab” area here fairly soon. The aim with most of these is to get a first version out this year, and get the code up on GitHub so others can help me develop it after.

One last thing

Congratulations to all the University leavers this year on your grades and to those who’ve already found jobs, and to those who are finding new success in existing jobs (particularly you Roz!)

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2 responses to “Introducing HitFilm (and a few other things)”

  1. Very nice site! Congrats.

  2. Roz Sanderson says:

    Just saw this post – thanks for the mention! Nice pictures of Barca as well – I do love a bit of Gaudi.

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